Digital students offer to build free apps, websites for SMEs

8 Nov 2011

Enterprising digital media students are willing to play their part in helping Irish businesses enter the digital age and are offering to develop free web and mobile apps, online videos and e-commerce sites.

Only 66pc of Irish firms are online and only 21pc of these have the ability to handle e-commerce transactions. This has grown a marginal 3pc since 2000.

The students at the Digital Skills Academy’s WebElevate Programme, which operates out of the Digital Hub in Dublin, are seeking applications from Irish businesses who want help in developing digital products and services for free.

Up to 20 businesses will be served through the programme. The WebElevate Programme is an honours-degree level programme delivered by Digital Skills Academy in partnership with Dublin Institute of Technology, focused on reskilling experienced participants in areas such as mobile application development, web commerce, global digital marketing and web video production.

Digital innovation

Applications are being sought from both digital media and non-digital media businesses who would like to access the resources of the WebElevate Programme to develop their companies’ innovation, specifically a digital product or service.

Digital Skills Academy CEO Paul Dunne said all intellectual property rights of the product or service and profits from the digital products created by the students will remain with the companies.

“Whether Irish companies need support on the R&D of a new digital product, the development of a prototype,or a fully delivered mobile application or e-commerce platform, the WebElevate Programme provides them with a great opportunity to tap into our resources and talent pool,” Dunne explained.

“Digital Skills Academy can provide Irish businesses with the resources of multi-disciplinary teams of emerging digital business professionals, providing up to 2,000 man hours to work on projects under the guidance of industry experts.”

“A recent Irish study by Return2Sender found that 750,000 Irish adults own smartphones, up 20pc since the beginning of the year, and mobile app downloads have increased by 13pc. Globally, research firm Gartner is predicting that next year smartphone sales will grow by 40pc to 645m units.

“Irish businesses need to be where their customers are, and to seize this international opportunity. With so many consumers using smartphones, this presents major opportunities for Irish companies to innovate and develop new digital products to engage customers and grow sales. The companies that will thrive in this new digital age are those who adapt and experiment now. The Return2Sender study also found that almost a fifth of Irish adults would download an app from one of their favourite brands,” added Dunne.

Companies interested in taking part are invited to attend an information session at 8am on Friday, 18 November 2011 at the Grand Canal Hotel, Grand Canal Street Upper, Dublin 4. For further information, visit the website

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years