A €5.4 million European Digital Innovation Hub will help SMEs in Galway and the western region become more competitive.
The online Data2Sustain hub will help small business to adopt digital technologies to give them an edge.
The online hub, with €5.4 million in funding, will support regional SMEs in the north and west region over the next three years.
Businesses that engage these one-stop-shops for firms with digital challenges will be able to gain expertise on research and development in areas such as Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Blockchain technologies.
They will also be able to access applied digital research, expertise and solutions from the region’s universities – including Atlantic Technological University and University of Galway.
Northern and Western Regional Assembly Director David Minton said, “This new hub, which will be called Data2Sustain, will support start-ups, SMEs and other businesses, as well as the public sector in their digital transformation.”
“It has a focus on circular economy, operations and sustainability areas, utilising AI, HPC and cybersecurity technological competence, with particular emphasis on data and data analytics–driven innovation and regard to energy consumption and low–carbon emissions.”
The EDIH will also be connected to a network of more than 200 similar hubs spread across the European Union.
“This means, for example, that a company in Connemara can avail of research in Denmark that might assist its business with a technology such as Blockchain or Robotics,” David Minton said.
In a report on the digitalisation of SMEs in Ireland, the European Investment Bank said the country had a two-speed digital economy with the divide most obvious in the Northern and Western region.
EDIHs combine the benefits of a regional presence with the opportunities available to a pan-European network that can exploit radical disruptions in advanced digital technologies.
SMEs and public sector agencies can access the hub through a region-wide network of contact points including Local Enterprise Offices, universities and Údarás na Gaeltachta.