Ireland’s second ever National Digital Week will take place from November 10th – 12th in Skibbereen in the heart of West Cork, with 1,600 entrepreneurs, digital marketers, technology enthusiasts and those embarking on a digital journey, expected to attend.

National Digital Week aims to develop entrepreneurship by making digital accessible for all, and is the only event of its kind in a non-urban area in Ireland. It caters for everyone and anyone with an interest in the future of digital technology. The event has been organised by the Ludgate Digital Hub, Ireland’s first rural digital hub and is supported by event partners AIB, Vodafone and Google.

Speaking at the launch, Co-Organiser Callum Donnelly said “Following last year’s successful inaugural event which saw in excess of €2 million generated for the local West Cork economy, we are delighted to be rolling this exciting event out for a second year. It is great that Skibbereen is taking such a leadership position in the transformation of rural Ireland into a 1 gigabit society. In rural Ireland we have so many talented people of all ages. However, talent often leaves our communities. National Digital Week is about rebranding rural Ireland as a location in which people can stay by choice to establish businesses, that can scale, employ skilled employees, and compete at a global level, that is the beauty of digital. Geography is no longer a restricting factor as long as Ireland continues investing in future proofing broadband connectivity. National Digital Week combines tech with the beauty of West Cork, and we are confident that the three days we have mapped out will provide an inspirational platform for attendees to learn and share the latest thinking for thriving in our ever evolving digital economy.”

Tomás O’Midheach, AIB Chief Operating Officer and core sponsor for National Digital Week said, “At AIB we are delighted to have the opportunity to back our customers and the partnership with National Digital Week and Ludgate Hub is an opportunity for us to continue to demonstrate our commitment to backing our tech customers and the wider tech community in Ireland.”

National Digital Week 2016 is attracting over 80 speakers including Ben Verwaayen, Former CEO of Alcatel-Lucent & Founding Partner of Keen Venture; Mark MacGann, Senior Board Advisor, Uber; David Puttnam, Ireland’s Digital Champion & Oscar Winning Film Producer; Gráinne McCarthy, London Bureau Chief, Wall Street Journal; and Ronan Harris, VP of Sales Google EMEA & Head of Google Ireland.

National Digital Week 2016 will be held across two stages, the AIB arena and the Google stage. Over the course of three days, there will be discussion and debate of some of the most topical issues facing entrepreneurship and digital accessibility in Ireland. Some of the key themes for this year’s National Digital Week, will focus on technology in agriculture, Female Founders and Leadership; the Sharing Economy and opportunities in the global economy. On Day 1 of the event local students will also get the opportunity to speak and showcase their coding skills which includes a virtual reality tour of Skibbereen created in Minecraft.

Officially opened in July this year, the Ludgate Digital Hub is the first rural hub to receive a massive 1GB (1000Mb) connectivity provided by Vodafone as the town is connected to SIRO’s 100% fibre-optic broadband network. This has turned Skibbereen into a ‘1 Gigabit town’.

Anne O’Leary, CEO at Vodafone Ireland and Ludgate Hub Board Member who will speak on the final day of National Digital Week at the Vodafone ‘Creating Ireland’s Gigabit Society’ Panel Discussion said: “We are very excited to once again be part of National Digital Week. Vodafone is focused on and committed to delivering a ‘gigabit society’ in Ireland; where access to 1 gigabit broadband speed is accessible regardless of where in the country a person lives. The benefits of connectivity through high speed broadband to homes and businesses countrywide is huge in terms of bridging the urban / rural digital divide and facilitating economic recovery.”

Speaking at the launch, Ronan Harris, VP of Sales Google EMEA & Head of Google Ireland said: “At Google we believe that there is a huge economic opportunity for rural Ireland as more and more people build successful businesses online. Skibbereen is leading the way and we’re delighted to bring the Google Stage to National Digital Week. We’ve gathered together some of Ireland’s leading online entrepreneurs to share their insights and the Google Stage will be a hive of Innovation and Inspiration for entrepreneurs looking to expand their businesses on mobile and using YouTube.”

National Digital Week 2016 is a fantastic opportunity for start-ups to meet the Ludgate Hub team and learn about Call II of the Ludgate Seed Capital fund which opens up this month to the value of over €450,000.

For further event details or to register for tickets, please visit: http://www.digitalweek.ie/

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