Headline: Cootehill.ie Community Marketplace: The flagship for the Smart Village Program.
Community Development and Management policies are undergoing an evolution, and exciting new developments under the banner of “Smart Towns and Villages”.
Heather Humphries Minister for Rural and Community Development (DRCD) has declared at the launch of Cootehill.ie that the new Smart Towns & Villages policy is part of
“The most ambitious and most transformational policy for rural development for decades.” …. “As we emerge from the challenges of Covid 19 … an unparalleled opportunity exists to reimagine and revalue what rural Ireland means to our society”
Cootehill in Cavan wishes to be among the initial pioneers of communities in Ireland to embrace the new EU directives on connecting rural businesses through technology.
Cootehill Chamber of Commerce with financial support from Cavan County Council, DRCD and web development partners eTownz developed a multi-functional community website www.Cootehill.ie The website boasts an array of services including
- Events Calendars
- News Section
- Tourism & Heritage profiles
- Directory of all business and community groups.
- Key functional component, Multi-vendor community marketplace
The Multi-vendor marketplace was a key component of the overall build. The platform is still being rolled out and allows local business and also local clubs to create a vendor profile, add in their products / tickets and sell them through the portal while also managing stock levels.
This approach to supporting local ecommerce in the community is novel and has the potential to transform how businesses and groups engage and sell locally.
Following the launch of Cootehill.ie the Chamber of Commerce was delighted to be shortlisted for the ‘Digital Rising Star’ category of the .IE Digital Town Awards.
The judges of the .IE competition have deemed Cootehill to have demonstrated ambition, creativity, and the ability to use digital thinking to disrupt and improve their town.
The system was developed and is supported by eTownz.ie, an Irish company which develops and supports smart / digital communities projects in Ireland and across the EU.
“Online Community marketplaces have the potential to be a powerful component of the overall smart village strategy.” according to eTownz CEO Pat Kennedy.
The idea is that a well run community website can attract the “digital footfall” by presenting local news, events & classifieds and this in turn allows local businesses such as retailers, food producers and artists as well as community groups, to effectively and cheaply receive payments for goods and services online.
Attracting this “digital footfall” to each individual business and community group is difficult, but by bringing them together in a common marketplace, selling online becomes feasible.
Cootehill Chamber are working hard on phase 2 which involves engaging with all local businesses and groups to roll out a “content engine” to create the critical mass of online activity to attract the attention of buyers nationally and from across the globe.
Local project coordinator Connie Whelan and her team in Cootehill Chamber are working on phase two of the project where they are planning a series of follow on projects to support the continued development of Cootehill.ie as an example of best practise in “digital communities”, supporting both community and business interests.