Digital Hub CEO: digital competency needs to be pervasive across EU

18 Jun 2013

Every country in Europe needs to ensure that digital competency is all-pervasive, the chief executive of the Digital Hub in Dublin told a gathering of the heads of eight European digital clusters on the eve of the EU Digital Agenda Assembly at Dublin Castle tomorrow.

The eight clusters – which included The Digital Hub – comprised those from Scotland, Spain, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Portugal, England and Malta.

This marks the first occasion for these clusters to come together in a formal way, and their meeting precedes the Digital Agenda Assembly which will run in Dublin – as part of Ireland’s EU Presidency programme – on 19 and 20 June.

“The EU needs to prioritise and support digital growth and innovation so that digital competency is pervasive in all member states and across all aspects of people’s everyday lives,” Digital Hub CEO Edel Flynn told the leaders.

“Digital has become a utility that’s crucial in supporting economies and populations. The EU needs to champion smart cities; promote new ways of learning among our children, support research and innovation, and help scale digital enterprises.

“Leadership, strong policy and support to pilot new services to implement actions at an EU level will resonate with national governments.”

The Digital Hub cluster, which today comprises 80 companies employing 700 people, is due to come under the auspices of Dublin City Council this year. The city council has plans to develop Dublin as a hub for digital and green enterprises.

Since its founding in 2003, it has supported more than 2,000 jobs and 170 enterprises.

Opportunities in digital healthcare

Flynn went on to highlight the ever-changing nature of the digital space, saying: “One of the big areas of growth and development is now in the realm of health, including data mapping and app development for community, primary and tertiary care use.

“Digital start-ups which seek to address these emerging opportunities – and challenges – need a supportive environment. Apart from flexible space, they benefit from co-operation with like-minded enterprises, gaining seamless access to research and development and having support and advice services on hand. Without this infrastructure, too many start-ups fail and too many good ideas are never brought to the fore.

“By talking to each other, and working together, the coming together of Europe’s eight digital clusters should act as a game-changer. The issues of the digital deficit and the importance of clustering in supporting one of our biggest future sectors deserve a collective and strong advocate.

“It is no surprise that so many countries look to create a ‘Silicon Valley’ which attracts entrepreneurs to innovate; deliver ideas into commercial products and public services, and create substantial high-quality employment opportunities,” Flynn told the leaders of Europe’s digital clusters.

Digital Europe image via Shutterstock

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