Digital Transformation in Ireland

05 Aug | By Smart MBS
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Digital Transformation in Ireland-1While the first half of 2020 has brought some uncertainty for businesses, it has also brought opportunity. Now firms are forced to find innovative solutions and transform their business models, namely digitally, to keep up with an ever-evolving marketplace.While Ireland has traditionally excelled in the technology sector — playing host to international tech giants like Apple, Google, Facebook, and many others — recent developments have supported the growth of other industry players, as businesses seek out solutions to make their processes digital or contact-free.

Recent developments have been a boon for many Irish providers of payment solutions, management platforms, AI and modelling technologies, healthcare solutions, process automation services, remote working supports, security, and retail services. And Fintech companies deserve a special mention here, too, due to the increasing role these firms are playing in the "new normal".

Ireland offers a number of programmes to assist firms providing these innovative digital solutions and developing new ones. For firms looking to get their services out to market quickly, initiatives such as the National Digital Research Centre's (NDRC) Accelerator Programme may well be of interest.

The NDRC, which is based in Dublin and also has operations in Galway and Waterford, works with tech start-ups and provides support and often investment, to support these companies all the way from the initial ideas stage through to implementation and expansion.

Applications to participate in the NDRC process (the latest tranche of which closed at the end of June) are made via the completion of a form on the NDRC website, which are followed by a pitch meeting for successful applicants.

Full details of the criteria expected to be fulfilled by NDRC package recipients are available on the Centre's website, but a successful pitch should detail why the proposed solution is compelling or innovative; how it measures up to currently available products or services; and whether it is easily scalable with NDRC support. It is also essential to demonstrate an awareness of the market for the product or service being developed.

The NDRC offers a short but intense support package for successful applicants (which is where the 'accelerator' aspect of the programme comes in), including: investment of up to €130,000 - with €100,000 of this available as capital investment - support from expert mentors, workshops, and networking events, with access to relevant NDRC contacts and pitching opportunities.

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The Centre describes its accelerator programme as "industry agnostic" although it stresses that "every venture must have digital at its core".

So far, more than 280 companies have been helped to obtain €250m in follow-up investment, including providers of innovative manufacturing technologies, smart-home tools, data management solutions for sales teams, and compliance and risk management platforms, to name but a few.

As discussed in our previous blogs, in addition to the NDRC accelerator programme, there are various other programmes in place that can help start-ups based in Ireland to launch their businesses successfully. These include funding and supports for High Potential Start-ups (HSPUs), as well as various loan facilities, opportunities to secure capital injections and seed capital, and mentoring schemes for domestic businesses.

Ireland has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to digital innovation. Policymakers are going further to ensure the success of businesses in this area with the opportunities brought about by COVID-19. The Republic is continuing to demonstrate that its ability to adapt and thrive is more than equal to the current challenges.

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Topics: Why Ireland, COVID19

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