BY SIOBHáN CRONIN
IRELAND’S first ever National Digital Week, which takes place in Skibbereen next month, is expected to bring 2,000 attendees to the West Cork town.
The event, which will be hosted in the West Cork Hotel and Southern Star Old Printworks, runs from November 3rd-8th and features talks and workshops by some heavy-hitters from the worlds of business and technology.
The Ludgate initiative, which is creating Ireland’s first rural digital hub in Skibbereen, hosted a launch at Google headquarters in Dublin this week.
The four-day event will focus on the future of digital technology and will feature more than 60 high profile international and national speakers in the two venues – including Google Ireland boss Ronan Harris; entrepreneur/broadcasters Bibi Baskin and Norah Casey; Dr Laurence O’Rourke of the European Space Agency; Ingrid Vanderveldt of the Empower A Billion Women 2020 organisation; Glen Dimplex boss Sean O’Driscoll; Discovery Northern Europe MD Dee Forbes; Vodafone Ireland boss Anne O Leary, and former RTE Radio boss Helen Shaw, among others.
Google will also be running, for the first time outside of Dublin, their highly successful Google Breakfast Briefings, as part of a workshop for attendees, as well their Google Digital Garage, one-to-one clinics for businesses.
‘National Digital Week is an opportunity to examine the opportunities digital technologies can bring to businesses and communities, whether they are located in urban or rural locations,’ explained Ronan Harris of Google. ‘As the digital divide narrows, due to initiatives such as the Government’s national broadband plan and SIRO, perhaps the biggest opportunities are available to those in rural Ireland, who can now compete effectively with urban centres and on the international stage.’
‘We are delighted to be co-hosts of the venues for this exciting initiative,’ added Sean Mahon, managing director of The Southern Star, whose historic Printworks building will host a number of talks and exhibitions. ‘As a local media company embracing the digital age, we are thrilled to see the huge progress Ludgate has made in making West Cork a focal point for advances in broadband technology, and enticing digital entrepreneurs to consider it as a location for business.’
Skibbereen will enjoy high speed broadband connectivity as the first SIRO rural hub, the joint venture between Vodafone and ESB, to receive 1GB connectivity. The conference hopes to demonstrate that rural digital hubs can compete admirably with urban centres on a global stage.
Among the themes being exploring during the week are: Digital future of Education & STEM; Farming 2030; Female Entrepreneurship; Social Entrepreneurship; Capacity building workshop for Irish Towns and Villages; The digital and Industry fusion; The Story of Entrepreneurship; Re Imagining a connected world’. Tickets are now on sale at .www.digitalweek.ie