EU-funded project – CREATE – to help SMEs exploit the potential of ICT

Shannon Chamber, in conjunction with Limerick City & County Council and Clare County Council is encouraging small and medium sized companies in the wider Shannon area, particularly those operating from rural areas, to attend a lunchtime seminar in Westpark Business Campus this Tuesday, 11 November, to hear first-hand how they could benefit from partaking in a new EU-funded project, called CREATE (Connecting Rural Enterprise for A Transnational Economy). The seminar runs from 1pm – 2pm; light refreshments will be served.

The project, which has been awarded European funding through the INTERREG IVB North West Europe programme, will develop and pilot best practice techniques that encourage rural small to medium enterprises (SMEs) to take up and fully exploit the potential of faster broadband. CREATE can also help SMEs identify opportunities to work with other small rural businesses across North West Europe to share best practice and learning.

Explaining the aims of CREATE, seminar presenter Majella O’Brien, EU Projects Officer with Limerick City & County Council CREATE said: “It’s aim is to overcome the barriers to growth and competitiveness experienced by SMEs in predominantly rural areas. These barriers include geographic isolation, lack of infrastructure, and lack of scale, poor joint working opportunities and critically, lack of ICT expertise. Faster broadband and advanced ICT have the potential to overcome these barriers and transform the productivity of rural SMEs.

“The ideal candidate for this project and the type  of company we’d like to see at the seminar on Tuesday are SMEs who need some expert IT advice and have potential to invest in their business’s Information Technology. They will get an independent review session with a CREATE advisor, a tailored action plan explaining how ICT improvements can transform their business, access to training materials and space to test new technology and most importantly, they will get support to collaborate with other SMEs across North West Europe.”

Encouraging members companies to attend the seminar on Tuesday, Shannon Chamber’s chief executive describes it as “a must for SMEs who are based in County Clare, County Limerick or Limerick City, who want to improve their digital maturity.

The 6 partner organisations in CREATE – public sector authorities, private sector representative groups, and business development agencies – are from France, the UK, Ireland and Belgium, who share a joint vision of encouraging economic development.