Government wants 90pc of Irish SMEs to be digital by 2030

7 Dec 2022

Minister of State Damien English, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Minister of State Dara Calleary at the launch of the Government’s white paper on enterprise. Image: Maxwell Photography

As part of plans for a ‘digital and green’ industrial revolution, the Government is looking at emissions reductions, more Irish exporters and greater investment outside of Dublin.

The Government has revealed its goal to transform the Irish economy this decade, with a focus on digital transformation and decarbonisation.

It released a white paper outlining the enterprise objectives it plans to hit by 2030. This includes having 90pc of Irish of SMEs at basic digital intensity by the end of the decade.

That goal was first revealed earlier this year in Ireland’s National Digital Strategy, which also set a target of 75pc of enterprises having a take-up in cloud, AI and big data by 2030.

The white paper was launched today (7 December) by Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar, TD, along with Ministers of State Dara Calleary, TD, and Damien English, TD.

Varadkar said that there will be a huge expansion of the tech sector in the medium term, along with an “industrial revolution” that is going to be both “digital and green”.

“We must make sure that we evolve to benefit from it,” Varadkar said. “We must ensure that our future success is founded on sustainability, innovation and productivity.

“Notwithstanding the recent retrenchment in the tech sector, the future is digital. There is going to be more data, more robotics, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality and autonomous transport.”

The white paper lists seven priority enterprise objectives that Government plans to follow for the rest of the decade. This includes a 35pc emissions reduction in Irish industry and a 45pc reduction from the commercial built environment sector by 2030.

“While weaning ourselves off coal, oil and gas will not be easy, it also presents incredible opportunities for Ireland, specifically in the area of renewable energy production,” Varadkar said.

The Government also plans to have 2.5pc average annual productivity growth in Irish-owned businesses by 2024, and 2,000 more Irish-owned exporters by 2030.

There is a target to have at least half of all foreign direct investment to be located outside of Dublin between 2021 and 2024, while increasing IDA Ireland client expenditure by 20pc over the next two years.

Another objective is to have five national cluster organisations funded under a new National Clustering Programme by 2025. There is also a goal to have unemployment not exceed one percentage point of the national unemployment rate in any region.

The white paper was developed following a review of the Government’s enterprise policy earlier this year, which involved public consultation and engagement from an international advisory panel of experts.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic