Business confidence in Ireland is on the up according to a couple of new reports released this month. The 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Survey found there were almost 96 new Irish business owners every day in 2016, totalling 35,000 for the year. Another report from the company that manages the .ie domain, IE Domain Registration (IEDR), found total .ie domain name registrations were up 6% in the year to the end of June. Additionally, there were 112 .ie domains registered every day in the first six months of 2017, a total of 20,255 new registrations.

The provinces with the highest .ie domain name registration growth also correlated with the regions with the highest levels of new business growth. Of the 35,000 new businesses owners in Ireland in 2016, 53% were resident in the Dublin, mid-east and south-east regions. This area roughly covers the Leinster province which accounted for accounted for 68.55%, or 143,641, of all domain name registrations.

There were another 31% of the 35,000 new business owners in the west, mid-west and south west which roughly covers Munster where 18.46%, or 38,687, of .ie domain registrations are. The remaining 16% were in the Border and Midlands which overlaps with Connacht and Ulster, accounting for 8.33%, or 17,455, of all .ie domain registrations for Connacht and 4.66%, or 9,763, for Ulster.

When it comes to domain names registered per 1,000 people it’s even more telling. Leinster easily leads the way according to the IEDR report with 57 .ie domain names followed by Connacht and Munster with 32 and 31 respectively while Ulster, where most registrants would likely choose a .uk domain, has 5.

And as new businesses were created and domain registrations grew in 2016, so did the Irish economy with gross domestic product growing a healthy 5.2% in 2016 although down from the 26.3% in 2015.

So what is the link between economic growth and domain name growth? CENTR, the European association for the various European domain endings, did have a look at this for the period from 2008 to 2013. They found a correlation between economic growth, or lack thereof, and the total number of domain names being registered. As the world economy went into a downturn in 2008, so too did domain name registrations.

While it’s not definitive research, the Irish experience where the areas with the most businesses being created correlate with the provinces with the most domain names being registered tends to back this up.

For those businesses without a domain name, many risk being pushed aside and losing business as newer businesses with an online presence make themselves more accessible to their customers. IEDR’s .uk counterpart, Nominet, published some research on this in 2016. Nominet’s research which used tradespeople as a case study found those who have set up their own website with their own domain name pick up an additional 21 jobs a year. Over a third (39%) were winning jobs outside their main patch and 36% are pulling in jobs from clients with heavyweight budgets.

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