Why do some SMEs remain completely offline? All over the world, governments and industries are pushing SMEs to make the jump to the digital world. But in Ireland, the leap these businesses need to take is made more difficult by ongoing infrastructural problems.
A modern economy needs more than roads and airports to function: it needs a high-speed, dependable internet infrastructure. Ireland, in this regard, remains critically under-developed. Our own research found that of the 1 in 6 Irish SMEs without an online presence, 1 in 4 said that a lack of reliable high-speed broadband was the primary reason for this.
The internet is an immediate link to consumers and other businesses not just in Ireland, but around the world. It allows companies to work more efficiently and productively whether they’re located in the centre of Dublin or on the Aran Islands. Geography and logistics should no longer be an issue.
Where Ireland’s Internet infrastructure can enable online business, local supports, through Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) or directly through councils, are essential and available. More needs to be done around creating uptake for these supports and highlighting the missed opportunity that exists when SMEs do not avail of them.
What has become increasingly clear is the need for deeper cooperation between government bodies, local business bodies and the internet industry to create a standardised programme for SMEs across Ireland that teaches the essentials of web design, e-commerce integration, social media and digital marketing.
Want to learn more about Ireland’s internet economy? Book your ticket for Internet Day and check out our exciting line-up of keynote speakers.