We are delighted to launch our ‘Digital Town’ initiative as part of Internet Day 2018, taking place on 25 October. The Digital Town initiative seeks to highlight the economic, social and cultural benefits of the internet to towns across the country, and to ensure SMEs and local economies are realising the full potential of the digital age, particularly e-commerce.
Gorey, Co Wexford has been selected as this year’s Digital Town. Gorey has been chosen for its achievements in cultivating a truly digital environment in the town, and for its ongoing successes in fully embracing digital for its residents and for local business. We believe that through showcasing its efforts, Gorey can inspire Irish towns to begin their journey to becoming fully digital.
Bringing local towns online
New findings from our SME Digital Health Index 2018—research conducted among 1,000 SMEs—show that Irish SMEs are not maximising their full e-commerce potential. Ireland’s e-commerce economy is worth €12.3 billion, but just 3 in 10 SMEs (30%) can take sales orders, and even fewer can actually process payments for transactions through their website (26%). Almost two-thirds (61%) of SMEs do not promote their services online and just 1 in 10 SMEs have taken part in a digital skills training or business funding programme.
In 2017, there were approximately 250,143 SMEs and micro-businesses in Ireland, accounting for 99.8% of total enterprises. Our research shows that each of these businesses stand to lose up to €25,761 a year on average if they do not have a website.
The benefits of being online apply to the whole of society; businesses, community groups and citizens. Adding digital capabilities can bring great benefits to all aspects of an Irish town. They can transform the delivery of public services, making it possible to do more with the same available resources. They can enhance a workplace experience, to one that moves beyond slow paper-based processes and office systems and allow workers to be more productive and work remotely from anywhere.
From a social perspective, connecting people through digital fosters a sense of community and positivity, with research showing that 78% feel more connected and 80% feel happier when using digital technology.
Gorey, Digital Town 2018
Gorey has already made significant strides in cultivating and encouraging digital transformation.
Over the month of October, working with Wexford County Council, tech co-working space The Hatch Lab, and Gorey Chamber of Commerce— we will plan and oversee a number of initiatives aimed at showcasing Gorey and developing additional digital skills and know-how for the people and organisations of the town.
This work will culminate in the official launch and celebration of Internet Day 2018 in Gorey town centre on 25 October. Now in its fourth year, Ireland’s Internet Day aims to promote awareness, knowledge, use and understanding of the internet among citizens, businesses and communities.
Domain registrations are seen as a forward indicator of economic activity. Our data shows a 29% growth in new .ie domain registrations in Gorey town in 2017 and this growth has continued through the first half of 2018.
Our Chief Executive David Curtin said:
“Gorey has made significant advances in cultivating a digital environment. The arrival of high-speed broadband in the town has stimulated a significant increase in digital activity. This includes the launch of the tech co-working space, The Hatch Lab, earlier this year. Gorey Chamber of Commerce is taking a leadership role and has been pro-active in driving many projects to develop the digital economy, including actively promoting the ‘de-commute programme’ and encouraging enterprise investment in the area.
“Our OPTIMISE Programme, is already helping Irish SMEs grow their online presence and improve their e-commerce capabilities. Through the Digital Town initiative, we plan to apply this know-how and tangibly demonstrate the benefits of the internet to businesses, communities and citizens in towns across Ireland.
“We expect to build on this work and highlight the benefits of the internet to the whole town of Gorey in the lead up to Internet Day 2018, improving citizens’ ability to engage with local businesses, community groups and local government services, enhancing the strong community spirit and creating a truly digital town.”
Further information: Visit our Internet Day page for more detail on the day and how to get involved.