Tánaiste urges small firms to embrace e-business


15 Dec 2003

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The Tánaiste Mary Harney TD has launched a campaign to sell the benefits of e-business and ICT in general to the small business sector.

Supported by the Information Society Fund through the Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment, the ‘Openup’ campaign is being run by Enterprise Ireland and delivered through the agency’s revamped website, www.openup.ie.

Speaking at the launch, the Tánaiste said: “E-business is about more than having a website or being able to take orders online. It is also about using IT to cut your costs and make your internal business processes more efficient so that you can offer a better and a faster service to your customers.”

Referring to the eBusiness Monitor Report published by Forfás in conjunction with her department last week, the Tánaiste noted that Ireland compares very favorably to other leading economies in terms of attracting e-business-related investments such as Google and eBay and creating of e-business-related enterprises. “The one area where our performance lags that of other countries is when it comes to the adoption of e-business by existing enterprises,” she pointed out.

The Tánaiste continued: “In the current business environment, IT and e-business are becoming more and more central to the success of Irish companies. As electronic procurement becomes more widespread in both the public and private sectors there will be increased opportunities for Irish companies to expand their customer base. Those who do not adapt to these new ways of doing business will lose out.

“Faced with an increasingly competitive environment, it is essential for all Irish companies to explore the e-business option. The concept is as relevant to a company employing 10 people making furniture as it is to one with a staff of 200 in the computer industry.”

In addition to the new-look Openup website the campaign will involve the distribution of booklets and CDs. The other development agencies (IDA, County Enterprise Boards, Shannon Development and Udaras na Gaeltachta) and the business organisations (Chambers of Commerce, IEA, ISME, Small Firms Association and the Irish Internet Association) will help disseminate this information to their clients and members.

The campaign is one of three e-business and IT advice modules, collectively costing over €1m currently being managed by Enterprise Ireland with support from the Information Society Fund.

Businesses who visit the Openup website and who undergo the onsite e-test, will also be given the opportunity to win €10,000 worth of IT packages for their company from Microsoft. The competition closing date is 28 February 2004.

By Brian Skelly