€85m fund to help Irish businesses embrace digital technology

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The Digital Transition Fund will provide grants to help companies use new software, equipment, automation and AI, with €10 million available for 2022.

The government is launching a new €85 million fund to help businesses advance their digital journey and develop new products, services and processes.

Announced in Ireland’s 2022 budget, the Digital Transition Fund aims to bridge the gap between digital businesses and businesses with low digital maturity.

Grants will be awarded to eligible companies to use technologies such as AI, cloud computing and big data to improve their products, processes, supply chains and services. Funding will cover new software, equipment and staff training.

The fund will be administered by Enterprise Ireland, with €85 million available by 2026 and €10 million available in 2022.

Speaking about the new fund, Tánaiste and Trade, Enterprise and Employment Minister Leo Varadkar, TD, said digital technology had “massively disrupted traditional ways” of doing business and improved everyday life. in many ways.

“The trend is only going one way and our lives will only become more integrated with digital technology,” Varadkar added. “That’s why we need to make sure our SMEs are prepared.

“These €85 million will fund companies looking to use advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence to improve the way they manufacture their products and services.”

To help businesses go digital, a new website is being developed to help businesses assess their needs and guide them on the next steps for adopting digital technology within their business.

A series of Grow Digital workshops are also planned at regional locations for the end of June and throughout July. These workshops will be moderated by Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Business Regulation, Robert Troy, TD, who said it was “vital” for businesses to seize digital opportunities.

Digital technologies can reduce costs for businesses by making processes such as invoicing, inventory management and supply chain logistics much more efficient,” Troy said. “In addition, the use of digital technologies will help businesses reduce their carbon footprint and help fight climate change.

“This funding will help businesses stay competitive, resilient and productive,” he added.

One more step towards Digital Innovation Hubs

Meanwhile, two Irish locations are on the verge of being fully approved as European Digital Innovation Hubs.

The European Commission has found the applied AI center CeADAR based at University College Dublin and the FactoryxChange consortium in the Midlands to be eligible for co-funding under the Digital Europe programme.

The EU is investing over €700 million to co-fund a network of hubs that will provide the expertise needed to help businesses meet digital challenges. Each Irish hub is expected to receive annual funding of €1.9 million from the EU and the Irish government.

If successful, these new hubs will work with local SMEs and public sector bodies to help them integrate the benefits of digital technology into their operations, regardless of where they are now.

Through the evaluation process, two other candidate hubs from Ireland were deemed eligible to join the European network, but could not be funded due to European Commission budget restrictions. These are Data2Sustain, a consortium led by the Atlantic Technological University in Sligo, and Entire, a consortium led by the Tyndall National Institute in Cork.

“This new network, once approved, will help businesses across the country realize the tremendous opportunities the digital economy presents to improve services, enhance customer experience and increase competitiveness,” Troy said.

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