Tech enthusiasts to head to first National Digital Week in Skibbereen

Event to look at challenges and opportunities associated with digital technologies

 

West Cork might not seem the most obvious location for a festival focused on digital technology, but more than 2,000 entrepreneurs, tech enthusiasts, and digital marketing professionals are expected to attend Ireland’s first National Digital Week, which takes place in Skibbereen next week.

While many movers and shakers will be attending the final Web Summit to be held in Dublin for the foreseeable future, others will be heading southwest to take part in the four-day event – November 3rd-7th – which is focused on the challenges and opportunities arising from new technologies.

Many of the country’s top digital experts will be speaking at National Digital Week on how technology can affect areas such as health, science, agriculture, employment, retail and industry.

The event aims to provide practical sessions on the latest technology trends and tools and to give advice and support on growing a business using digital technologies. Speakers will also discuss the pros and cons of running a start-up from a rural location.

Companies presenting at National Digital Week include Discovery Networks, PayPal, Vodafone, Intel, Musgrave Group, AIB, Glen Dimplex and Microsoft.

Key speakers include Ingrid Vanderveldt of the US-based “Empowering a Billion Women by 2020” organisation, who is also a former entrepreneur in residence at Dell, and a CNBC television host.

Dr Laurence O’Rourke, lead co-ordinator for the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission, is also among the 60 speakers as is Ronan Harris, who took over as head of Google Ireland earlier this year.

In addition, there will be a video conference with Ireland’s digital ambassador Lord David Puttnam.

“National Digital Week is an opportunity to examine the opportunities digital technologies can bring to businesses and communities, whether they are located in urban or rural locations,” said Mr Harris.

“As the digital divide narrows, due to initiatives such as the Government’s national broadband plan and Siro (the Vodafone-ESB joint fibre-optic broadband venture), perhaps the biggest opportunities are available to those in rural Ireland, who can now compete effectively with urban centres and on the international stage,” he added.

The event has been organised by the recently established Ludgate@Skibbereen, a not-for-profit rural digital hub, which is aiming to create up to 500 jobs in west Cork over the next five years.

For full programme and bookings, see digitalweek.ie