National Digital Strategy to get business online
THE Government is to provide grants to businesses to encourage them to build their presence online and aims to cut the number of people who don't use the internet by half within three years.
The first phase of the state's National Digital Strategy will provide vouchers worth €2,500 to small firms who want to build their presence on the web. The funds will go to 2,000 businesses around the country to help them "prioritise digital, get the resources, training and expertise needed to develop an online trading presence".
There will be no geographic restrictions on the vouchers, so businesses from across the land will be able to apply. Quotas for different areas will not apply.
The plan also aims to reduce the number of people who don't use the internet – so called non-liners – by 50pc to 288,000 by the end of 2016.
Launching the plan, communications minister Pat Rabbitte said the State needed to focus more on the practical aspects of doing business online. "Governments tend to focus on the engineering side of the internet – building out the hardware.
"We need to focus more on demand – why are 20pc of the population not online? Why are so many small businesses not set up for ecommerce?," he said.