Cork's Largest Digital Event Encourages Businesses to Get Online
Cork's largest Digital Seminar was held today in Rochestown Park Hotel. Hosted by Cork's Local Enterprise Offices, in partnership with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, the Regional Trading Online Event gave more than 200 business people from Cork and the surrounding region the opportunity to discover not only how they can start trading online, but how they can identify emerging trends to help grow their share of online business.
Since 2014, Local Enterprise Offices in Cork have helped more than 380 Cork businesses to grow their online revenues and presence with support to the tune of almost €750,000, from the Government’s Trading Online Voucher Scheme. In the months to come, these figures are set to increase significantly as more small business owners realise that getting online can be more than just a lifeline – it can be a fast track to growth and prosperity.
Speaking at the event, Claire Graham of The Old Mill Stores which is situated in Connonagh in Leap has built one of Ireland's top lifestyle and interiors shops with her husband Tom. Far from letting their rural location be a hindrance, the pair turned to online trading to boost their business. Since utilising the Trading Online Voucher Scheme, Claire says their online business improved by 38%. "Your website is your shop-front to the world, keep it simple and learn from others. Regardless of where in the world your business is, whether you are in Connonagh or Cannes, it is now possible to own and run a successful online business."
As pointed out by the European Commission, Ireland ranks very high when it comes to the integration of digital technologies by businesses, mostly because many SMEs have embraced e-commerce. The European Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) recently placed Ireland in 8th place across 28 member European states.
As well as a panel discussion with top industry experts, the day-long event focused on topics ranging from developing a powerful marketing strategy, to engaging audiences through social channels and emerging trends, to telling your own unique business story.
Speaking of the event, Denis Naughten, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment said, “Ireland needs more businesses selling their goods and services on the internet. Companies that remain offline are missing out on a huge opportunity to capture some of the €14,000 worth of business transacted online every minute, up to 70% of which goes overseas. Events such as this create momentum and activate businesses to trade online, as well as highlighting the opportunity of the Department’s Trading Online Voucher Scheme.
I want to significantly increase uptake of the Scheme across every city, provincial town and rural area so that thousands more businesses reap the benefits in terms of increased growth, sales and exports. According to our surveys, businesses grow on average by 21% and 60% export for the first time. Importantly, urban and rural based businesses benefit equally from this online opportunity”.
Also speaking at the event, “Head of Enterprise Local Enterprise Office South Cork, Sean O’Sullivan, emphasised the importance of online trade to local businesses: "We are proud to support this event which is all about helping small businesses to compete on a more level playing field against larger internationally trading companies. Irish people realise the importance of keeping business local, yet small local businesses are not making this easy without an online presence. With more than 380 Cork companies taking advantage of the Trading Online Voucher Scheme, we are confident that many more will follow suit after this event."