Ireland’s .ie Domain Registry (IEDR) will make €150,000 available to 20 SMEs or micro-enterprises via its OPTIMISE fund in 2013 to help qualifying companies develop their online presence.
The registry, which manages the .ie top-level domain, announced today it will provide 20 companies with €150,000 worth of support services to work on website development next year.
The IEDR first set up the fund in 2011 to help companies optimise their online presence via training and e-commerce development support services.
The 2013 fund will be open to SMEs or micro-enterprises that already have an existing .ie website.
The 20 selected companies will get help with enhancing their website’s e-commerce capability to include services such as real-time payments, online catalogues, order processing and booking facilities.
Companies that availed of the 2012 OPTIMISE fund include data management company Waterford Technologies; Gaga Baby, a baby wear and gifts company; and Parade Ring, which has an online catalogue for buying and selling thoroughbred racehorses.
David Curtin, chief executive at the IEDR, spoke today about how Ireland has witnessed significant growth in online activity over the past few years. He pointed to the UPC report on Ireland’s digital future, published in November. The report posited that 2.6m online shoppers in Ireland will spend €3.7bn in 2012, with this figure rising to €5.7bn in 2016.
"With broadband speeds improving and a significant increase in consumers shopping online, Ireland is on the cusp of an e-commerce boom which can truly impact our economy and businesses," said Curtin.
He said that the idea of OPTIMISE is to work with companies that are in the early stages of their online development.
"We offer a bespoke support service to each winner," added Curtin.
The IEDR will be announcing more details about how companies can apply for the OPTIMISE funding early next year.