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Free support programme for rural businesses

Free support programme for rural businesses
Written by publishing team

Rural businesses can achieve tenfold increases in the size of their audience, using digital marketing techniques such as virtual reality and 360-degree video.

That’s according to Digi2Market, an EU program that has launched a new campaign offering free marketing and networking support to rural and small businesses.

The campaign is also organizing a #ruralbusiness day on social media on Wednesday, January 19, which was recently launched in Northern Ireland by media research expert Dr Helen Jackson, University of Ulster.

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Michal “Duibherr, Udars na Gaeltaşta, Dr. Petri Raivu, President of Karelia University of Applied Sciences, Finland, Risto Salminen, Karelia University of Applied Sciences, Finland, Dević Johansson, Association of Northwest Region, Iceland, Dr. Laci Okkonen, Karelia University of Applied Sciences , Finland, Seán “Coisdealbha, Údarás na Gaeltachta and Digi2Market Program Coordinator, Alison McGonagle, Westbic, Dr. Helen Jackson, University of Ulster, Jennifer née Rhein, Udaras na Jayltaşta, Svenbjörg Ruth Petorsdottir, Northwest Region Association, Iceland and Marja Lisa Rutsalinen, Karelia University of Applied Sciences, Finland

The university is one of two NI agencies involved in the EU project, working alongside a cross-border agency, ICBAN. Other partners are located in Finland, Iceland and the Republic of Ireland.

Dr Jackson explained: “#ruralbusiness day aims to highlight the role that small businesses play in regional economies. They provide employment opportunities and support sports and community bodies. So, #ruralbusiness day gives everyone a chance to show their appreciation for these rural entrepreneurs.”

Dr. Jackson explained that rural businesses can feel “isolated and find it difficult to reach larger markets. Digi2Market helps them use immersive technologies such as virtual and augmented reality to enhance their marketing efforts and reach larger audiences. It also provides them with a way to connect and communicate online with businesses around the world.” across Europe”.

Andy Hallowell, Innovation Officer at ICBAN, Ireland’s Central Border Area Network, highlighted that any EU or NI company is eligible to register for the programme: “However, our focus is on rural and small scale businesses. We help them identify the latest technologies to commercialize their work and put them into practice effectively.”

Dr. Jackson continued: “Mobile applications and immersive technologies can change the way people interact with attractions such as Mossenden Temple and Downhill Demisen. By connecting physical and virtual spaces, visitors can explore the majestic clifftop site and discover the music, art, legends and stories of the people who have lived there since Hundreds of years. And they do it with their phones in one hand and their feet firmly on the ground.”

Digi2Market has helped Finnish wellness company Rantakylän Fysikaalinen Hoitolaitos (RFH) reach new audiences with a 360-degree tour of its facilities. They also helped them set up an online store, which made it easier for customers to book and buy their services.

In Iceland, Digi2Market’s partner is the development agency SSNV. They teamed up with food manufacturer, Vörusmiðja Biopol, on a 360-degree virtual tour.

Sveinbjörg Rut Pétursdóttir of SSNV explained: “It gave potential clients a realistic visual idea of ​​what to expect when they book catering services.”

Digi2Market is also interested in helping small businesses connect with other businesses across Europe. Another key function of the campaign is to encourage small businesses to use more sustainable business practices.

European expert, Dr. Laci Okkonen, Principal Lecturer at the University of Karelia in Finland – another partner at Digi2Market – believes that using a green business model is not just about helping the environment: “Companies that implement environmental management systems and environmental product advertising (EPDs) do better in Public procurement of products and services This is because they can better meet standards of environmental stress and responsibility In addition, organizations that implement green business models can better meet the expectations of stakeholders such as industrial partners They provide transparency about the environmental impact of everything they do to create a product or service “.

Small and rural businesses that wish to register for free in the Digi2Market program can do so directly from their website

Digi2Market is a project funded by the European Union under the Interreg Northern Periphery and Artic programme. The project partners are Údarás na Gaeltachta & WestBIC from Ireland, ICBAN and Ulster University from Northern Ireland, Karelia University of Applied Sciences from Finland and SSNV (Business Development Agency) from Iceland.

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