Business Online Voucher
The announcement of the Business Online Voucher was part of the Action Plan for Jobs announced in 2013. The plan outlines how companies can receive up to €2,500 by means of an innovation voucher designed to get small business trading online. Around half of Irish SMEs don’t sell online, and the plan focussed on industries or sectors where there was a particularly low adoption of online selling. So with the Online Voucher we might see what we’d call traditional businesses getting online. The first pilot program of pilot companies is now about to get started – and the Dublin City Enterprise Board are close to announcing the first 25 companies who’ll get the voucher. My understanding is In the first quarter of 2014 the program will be rolled out nationally, and is likely to be administered by the local enterprise boards.
It’s a great initiative and one that could help transform some traditional businesses and keep more of the online spend that goes overseas, in Ireland but it has to be managed and audited carefully – I don’t want to see €2,500 going the same way as the first time home buyers grant and getting swallowed up as a starting point by tech companies who get these companies online – but I think the pilot by the DCEB pilot will highlight this and hopefully mitigate any chance of the cash getting eaten up. Visit Dublin City Enterprise Board for more information
Úll 2014 (it ryhmes with cool)
Tech conferences in Ireland have had a good year. But in 2014 year, the App Developers conference Úll may be the most interesting developer conference held in Europe.
Conceived by two of Ireland’s most interesting technology entrepreneurs, Dermot Daly, CEO of app developer Tapadoo and Paul Campbell of Tito, they’ve been getting the most influential app people in the world into Ireland for the last couple of years, for instance last year Dr Wave, the legendary Michael B Johnson, from Pixar was a keynote. This year the event widens its appeal as it becomes a conference about making beautiful products – and in only it’s third year they’ve booked up the Lyrath Estate.Speakers will be announced in the New Year, but if App development is important to you – or if making beautiful products is important – Úll in Lyrath is worth the trip.
iConnect Stores open in Ireland
iConnect is a subsidiary of Qatari based retailer, Al Mana, who’ve got a winning history of retail in the Gulf region. Now, led by Strabane man John McEvoy, they are establishing an Irish headquarters for their Apple Premium Reseller and IT business for Europe. They’re opening two stores before Christmas 2013 and will open at least three more before the summer of 2014.
As well as Irish stores, we’re likely to see iConnect stores opening across Europe over the next two years, on green-field sites and via acquisition. It’s good news for retail, and good news for jobs, as iConnect will employ around 150 to 200 hundred people over the next 18 months or so.