An Post, Blacknight and the County & City Enterprise Boards have teamed up with Google to target the 40% of Irish SMEs and sole traders that do not have a website or an online presence.
According to Google research, 40% of Irish commercial SMEs do not have a website and almost 60% do not have an entry in an online directory. This is despite the millions of euros being spent by Irish consumers shopping online every year. Over 75% of Irish customers use the Internet as their primary tool for researching new companies and products, and 68% believe that search engines help to find relevant sellers of products. But, with only 21% of Irish businesses e-commerce enabled, Ireland is effectively losing revenues to UK and US online businesses.
Google's research also found that common barriers to setting up online are a lack of skills, perceived high costs and time restrictions. The Getting Irish Business Online campaign will support businesses and sole traders to build a free website in under 30 minutes which is the first step to building an online business. Blacknight Solutions will provide participants with a free website, and hosting with a .ie, .eu or .com domain name which is free for one year from the set-up of their website. Google will also provide a trial of online advertising with a coupon worth €100, whilst the County & City Enterprise Boards will run nationwide seminars giving registered businesses additional support in setting up a website and learning how to attract new custom online. It is expected that these will be run in June - August and notification will go out to people.
An Post is supporting integration of a postage calculator into a full e-commerce solution, launching this Autumn and it will provide promotional offers, support and advice to businesses who sell online and have developed their website through Getting Irish Business Online.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Examples of some local web sites that have been developed using the Google Initiative;