9 February 2023
By Tom Collins
The Irish Shows Association recently launched of its ISA SuperShow Platform, an integrated show management IT system, which will be available to our member shows throughout Ireland. The enforced break in its regular activities in 2020 and 2021 allowed The Irish Shows Association (ISA) to focus on bringing this initiative to fruition.
The ISA is an all-Ireland body representing more than 135 agricultural shows. The ISA has long recognised the need to:
- Review the profile of its members and have a wider diversity in age, gender, and ethnicity.
- Support its member shows in their attempts to develop online and promote their shows.
- Provide a coordinated effort online to allow exhibitors and traders to move their data between shows in an easy seamless manner.
Shows have reported finding it increasingly difficult in recent years to attract people to administrative positions due to the time and paperwork involved. Recognising the need to future-proof our shows, the ISA set about seeking funding to develop a cloud-based show management system to reduce the administrative burden on the volunteers who run agricultural shows.
Following the ISA’s feasibility study and market research; the European tendering and selection process awarded Irish software development and integration company, Dotser, winning marks in the criteria: skills and expertise, quality and technical merit of the methodological process proposed, and cost. The ISA is delighted to be partnering with a regional, indigenous Irish company to provide the solution to our shows.
The project is funded by LEADER as a co-operation measure through Monaghan Integrated Development CLG, West Cork LCDC / Avondhu Blackwater Partnership CLG, Galway Rural Development CLG and South West Mayo Development Company CLG and supported by the Department of Rural and Community Development and the Department of Agriculture as part of Project Ireland 2040.
Cork County Cllr. John O’Sullivan, Chair of the West Cork LCDC and LEADER Cooperation project partner commended this ambitious project stating that the platform will “greatly enhance the work undertaken by ISA volunteers both locally and regionally. This will, in turn, improve the organisation of such events and the visitor experience, while increasing prosperity in our rural communities. Cork County Council, the West Cork LCDC and Avondhu Blackwater Partnership CLG are delighted to cooperate with Monaghan, Mayo, Galway and the Irish Shows Association through our LEADER Cooperation measure”.
45 ISA member shows will be live on the new system for the coming showing season and exhibitors are encouraged to avail of this very useful service, where animal details etc. will only need to be entered once and can be carried with your when entering the next participating show. A list of all participating shows will be published on the Irish Shows Association website, www.irishshows.org.
Commenting on the announcement of the confirmed contract; Loughnan Hooper, Chief Executive Officer at Dotser says “we are delighted to have been awarded this tender to power all ISA shows with the ISA SuperShow Platform, and excited for each of the shows who will benefit greatly from the system, and their local economies and communities. Being the culmination of 20 years development and fine-tuning work on the ground in the agriculture and events industry and with voluntary organisation structures, we have arrived at what is now the most ideal show management solution for the Irish Shows Association’s members. We look forward to a seamless roll out, and incredible results for everyone involved”.
The roll-out of the project has commenced with training actively underway including a session held at the ISA AGM, where Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys commended the ISA for “the great work being done in digitising and future proofing the shows”.