IE Domain Registry, the company that manages and maintains Ireland’s country domain, .ie, has launched its ‘Digital Town’ initiative as part of Internet Day 2018 on 25 October. Gorey, Co Wexford has been selected as this year’s Digital Town.

The Digital Town initiative seeks to highlight the economic, social and cultural benefits of the internet to towns across the country, and to ensure SMEs and local economies are realising the full potential of the digital age, particularly e-commerce.

Gorey has been chosen for its achievements in cultivating a truly digital environment in the town, and for its ongoing successes in fully embracing digital for its residents and for local business. IE Domain Registry believes that through showcasing its efforts, Gorey can inspire Irish towns to begin their journey to becoming fully digital.

New findings from IE Domain Registry’s SME Digital Health Index 2018 — research conducted among 1,000 SMEs — show that Irish SMEs are not maximising their full e-commerce potential. Ireland’s e-commerce economy is worth €12.3 billion, but just 30% of SMEs can take sales orders, and even fewer (26%) can actually process payments for transactions through their website. Almost two-thirds (61%) of SMEs do not promote their services online and just 10% of SMEs have taken part in a digital skills training or business funding programme.

IE Domain Registry research suggests that each of Ireland’s businesses approximately 250,143 SMEs and micro-businesses could lose up to €25,761 a year on average if they do not have a website.

Over the next four weeks, IE Domain Registry—working with Wexford County Council, tech co-working space The Hatch Lab, and Gorey Chamber of Commerce—will plan and oversee a number of initiatives aimed at showcasing Gorey and developing additional digital skills and know-how for the people and organisations of the town.

This work will culminate in the official launch and celebration of Internet Day 2018 in Gorey town centre on 25 October. Now in its fourth year, Ireland’s Internet Day aims to promote awareness, knowledge, use and understanding of the internet among citizens, businesses and communities.

Domain registrations are seen as a forward indicator of economic activity. IE Domain Registry data shows a 29% growth in new .ie domain registrations in Gorey in 2017 and this growth has continued through the first half of 2018.

David Curtin, chief executive of IE Domain Registry, said: “We are delighted to celebrate Ireland’s fourth Internet Day in Gorey, Co. Wexford, a town that is actively embracing digital and the possibilities of the internet.

Gorey has made significant advances in cultivating a digital environment. The arrival of high-speed broadband in the town has stimulated a significant increase in digital activity. This includes the launch of the tech co-working space, The Hatch Lab, earlier this year. Gorey Chamber of Commerce is taking a leadership role and has been pro-active in driving many projects to develop the digital economy, including actively promoting the ‘de-commute programme’ and encouraging enterprise investment in the area.

With more and more consumers shopping online, in an e-commerce market worth €12.3 billion in Ireland, it is important that Irish businesses throughout the country have the capacity and necessary digital skills to sell their products and services online.

IE Domain Registry, through the OPTIMISE programme, is helping Irish SMEs grow their online presence and improve their e-commerce capabilities. Through the Digital Town initiative, we plan to apply this know-how and tangibly demonstrate the benefits of the internet to businesses, communities and citizens in towns across Ireland.

We expect to build on this work and highlight the benefits of the internet to the whole town of Gorey in the lead up to Internet Day 2018, improving citizens’ ability to engage with local businesses, community groups and local government services, enhancing the strong community spirit and creating a truly digital town.”

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