Drogheda retailers and Chamber representatives with Gareth Gunn and Gavin Duffy of Tapit, at the launch of the Tapit service in Drogheda. Photo: Paul Connor.
Drogheda has been awarded the ‘Large Town’ award at the inaugural .IE Digital Town Awards 2021 for its ‘Getting Drogheda Digital’ initiative which drives numerous digital projects across the business and wider community.
The result was announced yesterday evening at a virtual ceremony attended by Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English TD.
The .IE Digital Town Awards were launched earlier this year to honour digital projects that have contributed to improvements in areas such as health, tourism, education, public services, employment opportunities, citizen empowerment, and social entrepreneurship.
Drogheda Chamber of Commerce led Drogheda’s application process in partnership with The Mill Enterprise Hub, and Love Drogheda BIDS with the shared vision to develop and promote the use of digital technology was evident across the projects.
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Chamber President Robert Murray said the win is testament to the “amazing business community and volunteers”, who have spearheaded the numerous projects.
“The Chamber created a new ‘Digital and Technology’ committee in 2020 that is leading our strategy on ensuring that Drogheda embraces all the benefits of the new Digital economy” he said.
Mr. Murray pointed out that Drogheda, and Louth, have the highest broadband rate outside of Dublin, which he said is a major attraction to Foreign Direct Investment, technology startups, and a considerable advantage within the region in relation to the increase in remote working opportunities in the post-Covid environment.
“I am particularly proud of our work with Louth company, TAPIT, who launched their innovative app in Drogheda which rewards, both, shoppers and local retailers with instant cashback ” Murray said.
.IE Corporate Communications Manager Oonagh McCutcheon said: “When we launched the .IE Digital Town Awards earlier this year, we wanted to shine a light on the incredible digital efforts being made by towns and their people across the country.”
“What today’s winners, runners up and finalists show is the resilience and spirit of local towns, local people and local communities in creating their own opportunities by using digital for the betterment of local life and society. In the case of all our finalists and winners today, the results have been transformative.”
Breanndán Casey, Secretary of Drogheda Chamber and, until recently, Innovation Manager at The Mill Enterprise Hub, said: “The Mill is working in partnership with Louth County Council on the new Drogheda Digital Innovation Hub which will open its town centre premises in 2022. The project will start the regeneration of Narrow West Street and aligns with the WestGate vision. It will specifically focus on supporting technology startups via its programmes and facilities”.
“The Census 2016 figures highlight that within fifteen minutes of Drogheda town centre, we had 14,992 of its most talented people leaving very day. We believe that many of those skilled workers will not be returning to the post-covid commute, and will be interested in starting a digital business and want to ensure that that have the best supports in the country.”
The three business organisations are working with all local and national government agencies on showcasing Drogheda’s existing economic strengths, and the massive potential to grow the economic, tourism, and retail profile due its growing population, and status as a Regional Growth Centre in the Government’s 2040 National plan.
Trevor Connolly, CEO of Love Drogheda commented on the growth in local shopping via the Digital initiatives. “Drogheda and Louth Council launched an online shop local campaign in November 2020 that galvanised local retailers and we received tremendous feedback from local shoppers.
“The campaign aligned with the launch of the new Love Drogheda Giftcard which is supported by 160 local retailers and has been supported by local companies who gave gift cards to their employees as a Christmas gift.
“The combined ‘Getting Digital Drogheda’ strategy also included sharing of information via weekly Drogheda Chamber Zoom calls during the lockdown to Chamber members and non-members. This included advice on supports and guest speakers from support agencies, and was instrumental in driving the success of town centre businesses.”
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