Ireland launches enterprise forum to support digital and AI strategiesLeigh Mc Gowranon May 4, 2022 at 11:43 Silicon RepublicSilicon Republic

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The new Enterprise Digital Advisory Forum has been launched to support the Government in driving the digitalisation of enterprise across Ireland, with members from various businesses including Google, Microsoft Ireland and IBM.

The forum brings together representatives from indigenous enterprises, multi-national enterprises and digital technologies experts. It was established and chaired today (4 May) by Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation Robert Troy, TD.

The forum is designed to help support enterprise aspects of Ireland’s National Digital Strategy which was published earlier this year, as well as the National AI Strategy launched last year. It will allow enterprise members to provide feedback to Government on various challenges and opportunities they identify in terms of digitalisation.

“The digital economy presents huge opportunities for Irish SMEs to improve services, enhance customer experience, and increase competitiveness,” Troy said. “I want to support those Irish businesses to make that transition; to build on the positives of the past two years and continue to embrace digitalisation and all it can offer.

“By doing this, we can future proof our economy in the years ahead,” Troy added.

A total of 16 members from various enterprises joined the forum following an open expression of interest call and an assessment process. Departments and organisations involved in the forum include IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, the LEO Centre of Excellence, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and the Department of the Taoiseach.

“I am determined to drive a real step change in the level of digitalisation across all enterprises – by 2030, I want 90pc of SMEs to have achieved basic digital intensity,” Troy said. “With the insights of the experts on the forum, we can work to help realise the benefits of those technologies for Irish enterprise of all sizes.”

Here are the 16 individuals who have joined the Enterprise Digital Advisory Forum.

Forum members

Allan Beechinor is the CEO and co-founder of Altada, a former Start-up of the Week which focuses on AI technologies. It has developed its own proprietary deep learning algorithms, predictive models, computer perception algorithms and knowledge extraction systems.

Shona D’Arcy is the CEO and co-founder of Kids Speech Labs, a software company that has built technology to help children in their speech and language development. In March, it was one of three women-led Irish start-ups selected to receive funding and mentorship from the EU’s Women TechEU scheme.

Terri O’Donovan is the digital and technology site lead of pharma company Janssen Sciences Ireland, which is part of Johnson & Johnson. The company began construction on a €150m expansion at its Cork facility in Ringaskiddy this year, with plans to create 180 new full-time jobs.

Aidan Kehoe is the CEO and co-founder of Skout Cybersecurity, which provides a cloud-native data analytics platform that delivers cybersecurity solutions for SMEs.

Barry O’Sullivan is the founding director of both the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Insight Research Centre for Data Analytics and the SFI Centre for Research Training in Artificial Intelligence. Last month, O’Sullivan was elected a fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence.

Tanya Thompson is the CTO of Sluamor, an online platform that helps to bring companies together so that they can grow their businesses, find new suppliers and create partnerships.

Edward McDonnell is the director of CeADAR, Ireland’s centre for applied AI research, which announced a partnership with healthtech start-up xWave Technologies in March to make medical testing more predictive and personalised.

John Clancy is the CEO of Chatspace, an AI platform that provides insights to help enterprises increase productivity and deliver better business results. The company was a Start-up of the Week in 2020.

Patricia Scanlon is the founder of SoapBox Labs, the Dublin company that develops voice technology for children. In March, the company announced two new features to give children more interactive toy experiences with privacy in mind.

Barry O’Brien handles government and regulatory affairs for IBM, the 110-year-old technology giant. The company reported strong revenue growth in its first quarter of the year, with significant growth in its hybrid cloud and consulting units.

DC Cahalane is a partner at Jolt Venture Studio, an advisory firm that specialises in helping for high potential start-ups with growth and fundraising strategies.

Eoin Costello is the project director of Digital HQ, which helps communities and businesses transition to the digital economy by delivering training in digital growth strategies, networking and coworking.

Kieran McCorry is the national technology officer for Microsoft Ireland. In March, Microsoft shared plans to expand its cybersecurity skills campaign beyond the US to 23 additional countries, including Ireland, to meet growing demand for professionals and increase diversity in the industry.

Lorraine Higgins is the secretary general of Digital Business Ireland, a not-for-profit representative body that has more than 8,000 businesses as part of its community.

Kathryn O’Donovan handles government affairs and public policy in Northern Europe for tech giant Google.

Erik O’Donovan is the head of digital policy at Ibec, one of Ireland’s largest lobby and business representative groups.

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