Rise Community Fund gives flight to Sylvester’s Drone

The Rise Global Foundation are a US based non-profit organisation working on their mission to harness the best of entrepreneurial minds in rural areas and integrate them with technology to enhance their locality and encourage job creation.

Local Farmer and Town Councillor Sylvester Bourke whose farm is located just outside Arklow, Co. Wicklow was delighted to recently be one of 5 Wicklow businesses awarded a €1,000 grant from Rise Foundation’s ‘Rise Community Fund’.

Sylvester, a poultry and tillage farmer decided ,last year to make the move into organic farming in an effort to diversify. This saw him moving 30% of his land to an organic model who he says was hit and miss as regards success. Still in early days for him , he applied for the Rise Community Fund and was a grant to assist with new technologies which will lessen the burden of organic farming which by its nature is more labour intensive than traditional farming.

Having been selected for the grant, Sylvester has now employed the services of a drone to help capture images of his land. In this way, data can be easily viewed and analysed far faster and decisions can be made on how to address issues such as weed growth in real time. The improved data collection allows for more effective solutions to be applied.

5 Wicklow groups in total were selected for grant awards of €1000 each from the Rise Community Fund:
Shuttle Knit Ireland CLG, which is investing in 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
• The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Ireland (Wicklow regional office), with plans to increase its ability to move physiotherapy programmes online to maximise their accessibility
Kilmacanogue National School, plans to provide new technologies to expand its capabilities to support children with learning coding.


The RISE Community Fund supported by National Broadband Ireland and Granahan McCourt aims to address the rural digital divide. To assist with this mission, each month, 5  grants of €1,000 are awarded to local businesses, community groups, farms and social enterprises to enhance their digital strategy and strengthen their identity in the digital space.
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