Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said Ireland is in the middle of what he called an online revolution.
Speaking as he hosted his first live webcast with businesses to explore online trade, he said €3.7 billion is spent online every year by Irish customers.
Mr Kenny said that was a lot of money, a lot of customers and a lot of jobs.
He said the average Irish shopper spends €116 online every month, but about 75% of the potential spend by Irish consumers goes abroad.
If business does not involve itself in this new revolution, he said, they potentially lose customers, sales and revenues and as a consequence he said jobs get lost.
The Taoiseach said he hoped by broadcasting the conversation it would help other companies to take what he called the "online plunge".
The conference examined how the internet can provide the means for Irish companies to continue to do business, to improve business and reach new customers at home and abroad which would help create more jobs.
He said he previously stated that his aim is to make Ireland the best small country in the world in which to do business.
The Government's Digital Strategy, he said, involves getting 10,000 businesses trading online for the first time.
Attending the meeting with Mr Kenny were representatives of ten small and medium businesses that trade online, as well as representatives of industry giants Glen Dimplex and Google.