Leitrim companies invited to apply for website development fund

Leitrim companies are being invited to apply for a website development fund offering €10,000 worth of support to ten companies nationwide.

Leitrim companies are being invited to apply for a website development fund offering €10,000 worth of support to ten companies nationwide.

The IE Domain Registry (IEDR), the managed registry for Ireland’s official Internet address .ie, has announced it will extend its €100,000 e-commerce website development fund, called OPTIMISE, for the second year running. Launched by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton, T.D., the OPTIMISE Fund was established in 2011 to mark the tenth anniversary of IEDR and raise awareness of the extent to which small businesses in Ireland remain slow to harness the revenue potential of the Internet.

Open to owners of Irish SMEs and micro-businesses with a .ie website, the OPTIMISE Fund will provide ten recipients with €10,000 worth of consultation, training and e-commerce development support services to begin the process of “optimising” their existing online presence.

Central to this will be an upgrade in terms of e-commerce capability and functionality, for example through the incorporation of real-time payments, an online catalogue, order processing or booking facilities, etc.

IEDR’s OPTIMISE Fund is open to applications from any organisation classified as an SME or micro-enterprise, which has an existing website hosted online that is accessible to the public and registered with a .ie domain name. Further details and online application forms are available at www.why.ie/optimise.

The closing date for applications is 25th May 2012. The ten recipients will be selected by a judging panel independent of IEDR comprising industry and business leaders, with the final recipients announced later this year.

Launching IEDR’s OPTIMISE Fund, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton, T.D., said: “A key part of the Government’s strategy for jobs and growth is to encourage businesses to adopt innovative business practices to help them survive and grow in these difficult times.

“Developing an online presence and getting involved in e-commerce are crucial ways in which small businesses can adapt and find new markets, but to date in Ireland we have not made the progress on this that we might have.”

Announcing IEDR’s OPTIMISE fund for a second year, Mr. David Curtin, Chief Executive of the IE Domain Registry, said: “With OPTIMISE, the IEDR is delighted to be able to support ten small business owners in Ireland by helping them transform their online presence using real e-commerce technologies.

“Ireland already has a reputation for excellence online with one of the world’s safest, most trusted domain names in .ie. With customers increasingly looking to transact online, the Internet presents a hugely untapped market for Irish businesses.

“IEDR is committed to helping the small business community realise the long term value of having a website which is fully ecommerce enabled in order to take full advantage of the web’s 24 hour sales and marketing channel. It’s why IEDR established OPTIMISE and we hope that it will encourage many more businesses online and inspire other initiatives of this kind in the future.”