Drogheda has won the ‘Large Town' award at the inaugural .IE Digital Town Awards 2021 for its ‘Getting Drogheda Digital’ initiative that drives the numerous digital projects across the business and wider community.
The result was announced on Thursday 10th June, at a virtual ceremony attended by Minister Damien English, Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.
The .IE Digital Town Awards, established by .IE, the company that manages and maintains Ireland’s country domain name, were launched earlierthis year to honour local town projects and people that have demonstrated how digital projects have contributed to enhancements or digital improvements in areas such as health, tourism, education, public services, employment opportunities,citizen empowerment, and social entrepreneurship.
Drogheda Chamber of Commerce lead the application process in partnership with The Mill Enterprise Hub, and Love Drogheda BIDS, and the collective vision to develop and promote the use of digital technology was evident across the projects.
Robert Murray, President of Drogheda & District Chamber stated “We are absolutely delighted to have won the ‘large town’ category in the inaugural.IE Digital Town Awards. It 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 onensuring that Drogheda embraces all the benefits of the new Digital economy. Drogheda, and Louth, have the highest broadband rate outside of Dublin, which is a major attraction to Foreign Direct Investment, technology startups, and is a considerable advantage within our region in relation to the increase in remote working opportunities in the post-Covid environment. I am particularlyproud of our work with Louth company, TAPIT, who launched their innovative app in Drogheda which rewards, both, shoppers and local retailers with instant cashback ”.
Congratulating the 2021 award winners and runners up, .IE Corporate Communications Manager Oonagh McCutcheon said:
“We congratulate all of our winners and runners up and celebrate with them their immense achievements. 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 andfinalists show is the resilience and spirit of local towns, local people andlocal communities in creating their own opportunities by using digital for thebetterment of local life and society. In the case of all our finalists and winners today, the results have been transformative.”
According to Breanndán Casey, Secretary of Drogheda Chamber and recent Innovation Manager at The Mill Enterprise Hub, “The Mill is working in partnership withLouth County Council on the new Drogheda Digital Innovation Hub which will openits town centre premises in 2022. Theproject 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 veryday. 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 Mill has also augmented its digital strategy by developing The Fintech Corridor Cluster, creating the Virtual Business Book Club meetings, and by supporting the uptake of technology amongst young people via the Fintech CoderDojo”.
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 theeconomic, 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 alsoincluded 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”.