The RISE Community Fund supported by National Broadband Ireland (NBI) has announced a partnership with Macra, which will see cash grants given to entrepreneurial farmers with plans to use technology in innovative ways to enhance their business.

The partnership was announced at Macra’s annual conference held in Co. Tipperary on Sunday, October 30.

Established by NBI chairman and technology entrepreneur, David McCourt, RISE commenced its Community Fund earlier this year.

It provides monthly grants across the country to give an immediate cash injection into local communities seeking to boost their digital ecosystems.

Macra partnership

Its latest partnership with Macra, the national community of rural youth and young farmers has been established to award 10 grants of €1,000 each specifically to successful applicants in the farming community.   

David McCourt commented: “The RISE Community Fund supported by NBI is calling on young farmers who have ideas about how they can use technology to scale their ambition and improve the operations and output of their farm.

“As a global leader in agriculture, we know that Ireland boasts some of the most talented farmers in the world, and we’re hoping to champion those who have plans to use technology in new and innovative ways with the support of these cash grants.” 

It was recently found that over 80% of Irish farmers now use some form of AgTech to accelerate operations, according to a report from Ifac. In particular, Ireland’s many small, family farms are turning to technology to improve their yields and profitability. 

Mick Curran, chief executive of Macra, said: “Last year we were delighted to announce a partnership agreement with NBI, endorsing its role delivering the country’s National Broadband Plan, which is set to connect over 65,000 farms in the country to high-speed fibre broadband.

“We’re thrilled to now be taking this to the next level, partnering with RISE and NBI to offer our members the opportunity to receive cash grants to empower young farmers with their plans to use technology.

“We recognise that technology can have a transformational impact on farming here in Ireland, enabling efficiencies in so many ways. This is really going to accelerate these exciting use cases,” Curran added.

Applications for the cash grants opened today, Tuesday, November 1, and close on November 30, 2022. 

Orla O’Malley, programme director at RISE added: “The application process has been made incredibly quick and easy, and successful applicants will be notified by early December, with money following in quick succession.”

RISE Community Fund 

The RISE Community Fund is a partnership between NBI, the company delivering Ireland’s National Broadband Plan, and RISE Global Foundation, a privately funded charity.

NBI and RISE are collaborating to tackle the rural/urban digital divide and use technology and entrepreneurship to create opportunities and jobs in rural Ireland.  

All grants provided by the RISE Community Fund are privately funded by NBI shareholders and private donations. No state funding is used in the provision of grant funding used by RISE Global Foundation.