"Grow Digital" fund welcomed by industry

June 21, 2022

Ibec, the group that represents Irish business, has welcomed the Government announcement of the “Grow Digital” Fund to support the digitalisation of businesses across Ireland.  

Ibec said it is that it imperative that the manufacturing industry seize the opportunities being afforded by the new wave of digitalisation, citing that failure to adapt to new means of smart manufacturing risks seeing Ireland miss out on substantial opportunities for economic growth.   

Ibec Director of Membership and Sectors Sharon Higgins said: “Adopting policies that underpin our competitiveness will be the key to weathering the volatile external economic environment that is emerging. This can only be done by controlling costs where we can and prioritising innovation and strategic investments in areas such as digitalisation that can stimulate crucial areas of the economy, such as smart manufacturing. 

“The ‘Grow Digital’ fund announced by Government this week is warmly welcomed by business. As we saw during discussions at this week’s National Economic Dialogue, there is widespread recognition of a major shift globally towards the adoption of smart technology, underpinning everything from supporting hybrid work practices, to radically enhancing supply chain integration, and making manufacturing and operational costs more efficient and underpinning and supporting hybrid work practices. The ‘Grow Digital’ fund can play an important role in supporting business, particularly SMEs, adapt and thrive amidst these trends, ensuring we do not fall behind our competitors.” 

Sharon Higgins was speaking ahead of “5G – Enabling Smart Manufacturing”, a special seminar from the Irish Medtech Association and Telecommunications Industry Ireland that was hosted at Ericsson Software Campus, Athlone, Co. Westmeath, with over 150 business stakeholders from manufacturing and telecommunications in attendance.  

Speaking at the event, Dr Emer Sherry, Ibec Senior Executive outlined the role that 5G can play in supporting this growth ambition. She said: “It is critical that we continue to improve connectivity and set in place the relevant physical infrastructure to support advanced manufacturing by investment in digital infrastructure. The significant investment made to date and currently planned by the telecommunications industry means that there is current 5G coverage at c. 80% by population. 

“Through adoption of ambitious policies and investment, Ireland must seek to capture its share of the estimated €12 trillion of global economic output enabled by 5G in the period to 2035 and also for 5G to play its part in the environmental benefits that ICT offers by potentially reducing global emissions up to 15pc by 2030."