Community groups, schools and businesses receive cash injections to invest in new technologies including Artificial Intelligence

13 March 2024: Five community groups in county Wicklow have received a quick cash injection to invest in new technology thanks to the RISE Community Fund.

Established by Granahan McCourt and NBI Chairman, David McCourt, RISE is providing monthly grants across the country for rural community organisations seeking to boost their digital ecosystems. The fund is further supported by corporate sponsors including KN Circet, KPMG, Test Triangle, DreamDev Technologies, and TLI Group.

Receiving the grants of €1000 each were Shuttle Knit CLG, which is expanding its online shopping capabilities to reach a broader community of customers; Wicklow Men’s Shed, with plans to provide computing equipment for its members; Sylvester Bourke Farming Unlimited, which is harnessing AI technologies to analyse data captured through drone surveys across the farm; The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Ireland (Wicklow regional office), in order to increase its ability to move physiotherapy programmes online to maximise their accessibility; and Kilmacanogue NS, which is investing in coding and computational thinking activities for the school’s children.

David McCourt, founder of RISE and Chairman of Granahan McCourt and NBI, commented: “The RISE Community Fund looks for community groups, charities, small businesses and social enterprises in rural areas who are exploring how technology can scale the impact of their work. I’m delighted to say that since opening applications in County Wicklow, the response has been incredible and now we’re excited to be awarding grants to our successful applicants. We’ve seen some incredible projects embracing exciting new technological innovations, including Artificial Intelligence.”

The RISE Community Fund supported by NBI and Granahan McCourt calls on small businesses, charities, community groups and social enterprises to use technology in creative and entrepreneurial ways to deliver maximum impact.

Sylvester Bourke from Sylvester Bourke Farming Unlimited, commented: “We operate a tillage and poultry farm and have a real focus on sustainable food production, which nowadays requires farms to embrace new innovation and technologies. For us, this has meant using drones for aerial scouting and using AI and machine learning to boost organic farming methods. With support from the RISE Community Fund, we’re delighted to have the opportunity to increase our investment in technologies and scale the impact of our work.”

Peter Hendrick, CEO of NBI, added: “At NBI, we’re on a mission to connect over 1.1 million people in rural Ireland who don’t have access to high-speed broadband to a world-class, superfast network. Whilst connectivity is a vital utility and a critical first step, it alone can’t solve all of the challenges for businesses, community groups and social enterprises trying to expand the positive impact they’re able to have – both to the local community, and to the wider economy. That’s why we’re incredibly excited to engage local communities with the RISE Community Fund and celebrate innovative uses of technology in Wicklow.”

NBI is reminding Wicklow residents to also visit their website at to check whether their home, farm or business is included in the National Broadband Plan and to sign up for Eircode specific updates on the rollout.

View Wicklow People Article


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