New €1 million fund to enable a nation of ‘digital towns’.

Fantastic news as .IE announces €1 million fund to enable a nation of ‘digital towns’. The fund is to be delivered over the next four years and will serve to encourage and enhance the digital word in Ireland’s towns as part of their  .IE Digital Town programme.

The .IE Digital Town programme comprises three  elements – the .IE Digital Town Awards; a new digital town ‘blueprint’ and a big  data project. 

.IE Digital Town Awards to recognise local community projects and everyday  champions that demonstrate digital thinking and innovation for the  betterment of local people, services and society 

.IE CEO: “We seek to empower local communities, help them make better  use of digital and celebrate the towns and people that integrate digital into  social and commercial life.” 

.IE, the company that manages and maintains Ireland’s country domain name, has  today announced a new €1 million fund, to be delivered over the next four years, that  fosters digital enhancement and adoption in Ireland’s towns as part of its .IE Digital  Town programme. 

The first phase of the programme is the .IE Digital Town Awards, which recognises local  community initiatives that demonstrate an awareness, knowledge, use, and understanding of  digital in local and urban towns in Ireland for the betterment of citizens, services, and  communities. 

Open for entries from 22 March, the .IE Digital Town Awards has a total prize fund of €100,000  a year across 14 categories to honour local town projects and people that have shown how  digital projects have contributed to enhancements in areas such as health, tourism, education,  public services, employment opportunities, citizen empowerment, and social  entrepreneurship. 

‘Shining a Light’ on local Successes

David Curtin, Chief Executive of .IE, said the .IE Digital Town programme will help Ireland’s  towns and communities adapt to the realities of post-Covid digitalisation, particularly as the  country emerges from the pandemic. 

“Covid has pushed us all to adapt and change how we interact with each other, organise our  societies, and provide goods and services. Many economic and societal changes, particularly  those that have brought about greater efficiencies or improved our overall wellbeing, such as remote working and use of digital tools, are here to stay.  

“Over the past 12 months, local community groups and individuals have stepped up and used  digital tools, such as WhatsApp and Messenger to keep communities connected and moving  forward. Local communities showed solidarity with local businesses by buying from them  online. While we have all been challenged, these local groups have quickly adapted to the  new reality and the impact of their work in the community has been positively felt by all.”  

The .IE Digital Town Awards want to recognise the good work and achievements that have  been made, and, no doubt, will continue in the days, weeks, and months ahead.

We are proud  to be ‘shining a light’ on these local success stories and encourage as many community  groups and projects as possible to take part.”

Coming Soon

Another important element of the .IE Digital Town programme is a significant and European first research project that sets out a blueprint for digital towns. Developed in partnership with  the DCU Irish Institute of Business, .IE Digital Town Blueprint will be launched imminently. 

The final component of the .IE Digital Town programme will address the lack of town-level  data. There is an urgent need for empirical data to inform, measure, and benchmark a town’s  current digital readiness and future digital plans. While currently in the early phase of  development, the ambition for this element of the programme is to work with partners to  provide local data and metrics which will inform decision-making by policymakers and  implementors. 

David Curtin, Chief Executive of .IE: “You can’t improve what you can’t measure. Researchers  are showing that years of digital transformation have been accelerated into 12 short months.  Policy makers and town leaders need information on what has happened.  

“Towns that prioritise connectivity, e-commerce, e-health, and other digital initiatives will  recover faster and become more competitive as we begin to emerge from the Covid-19  pandemic, attracting investment of capital, funding, expertise, and people. This will be  especially important for towns that have been impacted by job losses and business closures. 

“Through each of the three elements of the .IE Digital Town programme and our €1 million  investment, we seek to empower town leaders and local communities, help them make better  use of digital, and celebrate the towns that successfully integrate digital into social and  commercial life so that others will be inspired and motivated to follow.” 

Further Information.

To read more about our .IE Digital Town programme check out the web pages below:


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