Online trading could offer a welcome boost to small businesses in rural Ireland as the Government continues to prioritise high-speed broadband, Deputy Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran has said.
The Trading Online Enterprise Impacts Report, which is based on survey responses from 60 small businesses that have availed of the Government’s Trading Online Voucher Scheme, found those businesses that used the scheme have seen sales increase by 21 per cent.
Eighty-four per cent of businesses also experienced an increase in customer enquiries, while 73 per cent said the new online business was additional and did not displace existing sales. The scheme offers financial assistance of up to €2,500 along with training and advice to help businesses trade online.
“It is vital that rural businesses can compete in the digital age and the delivery of high-speed broadband to achieve this remains a top priority of this Government,” said Deputy Moran.
“A major procurement process is well underway by this Government which will deliver at least 30mbps to every small business, home, and school that cannot get access to such services.
“These latest figures highlight once more the importance of ensuring that every part of Ireland can benefit from the digital economy.”
The figures from the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources also revealed Irish people spend around €850,000 online every hour of every day - a 20 per cent increase on 2012. This figure is set to grow by another 25 per cent in the next three to five years.