Thursday, 12 July 2012

Questions (43)

Gerry Adams


42 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation when the support will be available for small and medium-sized enterprises to develop a presence on the internet. [33852/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation)

As recognised in the Action Plan for Jobs 2012, internet communications is set to be one of the fastest growing sub-markets within ICT, with potential growth rate as high as 20 percent per annum over the next decade. Therefore, small and medium enterprises need to concentrate on developing this resource as a major tool for their day to day business. Already Enterprise Ireland provides a number of supports to help SMEs in this area. Enterprise Ireland formulated and developed a funding support programme called the eBusiness Management Initiative (eBMI) to assist SMEs in developing their online marketing potential. To date 356 client companies have received support under this Initiative and the approved value of this support is €5.4m.

Additionally, Enterprise Ireland has a dedicated resource called the Internet Marketing Unit. The Internet Marketing Unit is focused on helping client companies to exploit the Internet as a route-to-market, and to assist companies develop a strategy that will shape how they do business online. The Unit provides a range of services, including strategic guidance, workshops and seminars and funding support. This Unit also runs a number of eMarketing and Social Media events for clients each year. These events have become extremely popular and are always full to capacity. The Unit regularly publishes case-studies and other online marketing collateral through Enterprise Ireland's website.

Another initiative, the Internet Growth Acceleration Programme (iGap), has been launched by Enterprise Ireland in conjunction with the Irish Internet Association (IIA), which is an intensive management development programme aimed exclusively at high potential internet/games companies. This programme has been very successful and is now in its third year. To date, 62 companies (122 promoters) have completed the iGAP programme. The fourth iGAP will be launched in October 2012. iGAP has, over the last 36 months, equipped promoters within the Irish internet/Games industry with the practical tools needed to formulate aggressive international growth plans and scale their businesses. iGAP incorporates practical learning from world-class serial entrepreneurs, it is delivered over six monthly modules and covers fundamental topics integral to building a global internet business. The modules are combined with more intensive support from an implementation coach who supports the participating companies as they complete their programme milestones.

The County and City Enterprise Boards (CEBs) provide a range of grants to eligible micro-enterprises, which can cover all business costs directly attributable to growing and developing a business, as well as training and one-to-one mentoring initiatives to assist individual businesses develop as appropriate to their remit and the needs of the business. In addition, where appropriate opportunities present to offer additional services, the CEBs act in conjunction with other organisations, such as Google in their recent "Getting Business Online" to make additional services and supports available. In 2011 CEBs provided over 100 training seminars in the "Getting Business Online" initiative, resulting in the creation of almost 900 new business websites.

To date in 2012, CEB locally-arranged training includes topics such as: ‘ICT Essentials for SMEs', ‘Social Media for Your Business', ‘Blogging Effectively for Your Business', ‘E-Marketing', ‘Digital Marketing Strategy and Website Analytics', and ‘Getting Irish Business Online' training.