The IE Domain Registry (IEDR) announced their shortlist of SME’s for a share of the 2016 OPTIMISE Fund. IEDR selected thirty SMEs for the shortlist, of which 10 will be selected.
Valued at €125,000, the IEDR’s OPTIMISE Fund provides 10 days’ worth of digital consultancy, training and development to 10 SMEs to build their e-commerce offering and online presence.
The public will be given the chance to choose the 10 winners from the 30-strong shortlist.
Among this year’s shortlisted companies are a women’s sport website sportswomen.ie, a wedding website winourwedding.ie, a specialist insurance website for tradesmen cover365.ie and a parcel shipping service worldbox.ie.
Launched in 2011, the OPTIMISE Fund aims to provide support to domestic SMEs and start-ups to enter their respective sectors e-commerce ready.
A large proportion of Irish Small and Medium Enterprises don’t have a website. According to IEDR; there are more than 200,000 small and medium-sized businesses in Ireland, but a massive 92% of these can’t process sales online. Furthermore, 37% don’t have a website.
Chief Executive of IEDR David Curtin said: “Online spending by Irish consumers rose by 17% to €6.5bn in 2015 and is forecast to hit €21bn by 2020. But as our research consistently shows, Irish SMEs are slow to embrace the digital opportunity with as many as one in four SMEs not having a website or any online presence.”
“We need to show SMEs the value of embracing e-commerce and work side-by-side with them to improve their online offerings. If we don’t, there is a risk that a two-tier economy could emerge between innovative, customer responsive and probably more profitable SMEs with an online presence and those SMES without one.”
This year’s judging panel is chaired by Conall O’Móráin (Today FM’s Sunday Business Show) and consists of Keith Bohanna (Near Future), Alan Sherlock (IBEC) and Ronan Smith.