Digital economy is the winner at Your Country, Your Call

18 Sep 2010

The creation of an International Digital Services Centre and the construction of a mega green data centre were the winning ideas selected as part of President Mary McAleese’s Your Country, Your Call campaign. Each idea was awarded €100,000 last night.

Neil Leyden’s vision to establish an International Digital Services Centre was the first winner to be announced and he was awarded €100,000 to develop his concept.

Leyden said last night that the project has the potential to create as many as 45,000 digital media jobs over the next 10 years.

The proposal deals with positioning Ireland centrally in the evolution of the knowledge economy by setting up an Intellectual Property Services Centre (IPSC) anchored around an IP-based exchange with significant potential to create long-term employment opportunities and revenue streams.

Cianan Clancy and Colm MacFlhlannachadha’s Data Island Strategy to develop a green mega data centre also picked up a €100,000 prize. Through the development of a Green Mega Data Centre Freezone and an International Innovation Area – The Data Island Strategy sets out to build a world-beating entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem around Digital Services and to position Ireland at the forefront of its associated spin-off industries.

MacFlhlannachadha said last night that the strategy could generate at least 4,000 new jobs but that the presence of such a facility could generate many more jobs in software and services.

The other finalists in the HP and Cisco-sponsored competition included: developing the opportunity for Ireland to become a Global Media Hub; the creation of a ‘Superbrand’ to market Irish tourism and food and the installation of solar PV electrical generators on existing wind farms.

The second phase of the campaign will be to implement the ideas with a fund of €500,000.

Background on Your Country, Your Call

The project was set up to find innovative ideas to foster economic recovery and has had 117,000 visitors from 176 countries over 10 weeks. According to Cisco, which provided collaboration technology to manage the online initiative, 9,000 entries were submitted and finalists engaged interactively in the competition.

Twenty semi-finalists were selected, which included ideas such as making Ireland a global media hub, establishing an intellectual property-based financial securities market and installing solar photovoltaic electricity-generating units on existing wind farms.

The semi-finalists also had concepts such as establishing Ireland as an online gaming jurisdiction, building an entrepreneurial ecosystem around digital services and setting up an international healthcare services centre in Ireland.

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