The IE Domain Registry (IEDR) has today launched a new e-commerce website development fund aimed at Irish small and medium enterprises (SMEs) called OPTIMISE. The fund is worth €100,000 in total and hopes to encourage Irish businesses to realise the potential of selling online.
Last November’s findings from the IEDR’s Domain Name Industry Report eluded to the fact that as of 2009 only 66% of Irish businesses had some form of website in place, increasing from 40% in 2000. Of the 66%, only 21% of those had the functionality in place to sell goods and services, a disappointing increase of just 3% since 2000. It is hoped that the OPTIMISE fund can improve on these results.
The fund, now inviting applicants, will allow ten Irish SMEs “to begin the process of transforming their existing online presence into a fully featured, transactional website custom-designed for their business’ needs”. The ten successful applicants will each receive €10,000 worth of technical and marketing expertise needed to plan and implement a major online store-front upgrade.
Commenting on the launch of OPTIMISE David Curtin, chief executive of the IE Domain Registry, stated,
“The .ie domain is highly respected both nationally and internationally and we want to see Irish businesses using it to make the most of the 24 hour sales channel that is the Internet. Our research shows that the next growth phase of the Internet in Ireland depends on the SME community here and their willingness to embrace new technologies to build better, fully featured e-commerce websites.
“Too many Irish SMEs are still reluctant to make that transition. We know that great websites attract people online and encourage them to spend more time consuming advertising, products and services. Until such times as SMEs in Ireland grasp this, they continue to lose competitive advantage by missing out on lucrative sales opportunities online.”
Applications are being requested from micro-enterprises or SMEs that have an existing and openly accessible website registered with a .IE domain. The closing date for applicantion is Friday June 03, 2011.