21 Sep 2017 | 10.25 am
Innovation Support For Border Region Firms
InterTradeIreland is delivering the €16.6m Co-Innovate Programme
21 Sep 2017 | 10.25 am
Register now for a share of €16.6m worth of support from the new Co-Innovate programme. InterTradeIreland is running half-day workshops to explain how it works
More than 1,400 SMEs across the border region of Ireland (Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Louth, Monaghan and Sligo), Northern Ireland and parts of western Scotland will benefit from the new €16.6m cross-border Co-Innovate scheme, which supports innovation.
InterTradeIreland, which played a pivotal role in securing the EU funding for the scheme, as well as building the consortium involved in bidding for and delivering the programme, is encouraging local companies from the eligible areas to apply to Co-Innovate for support.
Free half day workshops are currently being held across the programme area and participants will have the opportunity to learn about the benefits of innovation, identify opportunities for growth and create a vision to make it happen.
Those interested in attending any of these workshops must first register interest in the Co-Innovate Programme to check eligibility. Details can be found at http://www.co-innovateprogramme.eu/ci/events/
Research And Innovation
Co-Innovate aims to increase the numbers of SMEs involved in research and innovation across the designated regions from 22% to 33% over the next five years. The €16.6m project was the first funding offer to be announced under the EU’s INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body. It is one of 60 funding programmes across the European Union that have been designed to help overcome issues that arise from the existence of borders.
Co-Innovate will provide practical assistance to SMEs, enabling them to work towards turning innovative thinking into tangible results. It offers graduated levels of support including free workshops, individual business health checks, detailed innovation audits, sectoral networks, project management placements and one-to-one expert mentoring, providing companies with the tools and tailored support that can help businesses innovate, diﬀerentiate and compete successfully.
Neil Ryan, Co-Innovate Programme Director, says that as every company’s innovation needs are diﬀerent, so each company’s journey through Co-Innovate will be unique. “Over 1,400 businesses will receive support at Co-Innovate workshops over the next few years. These workshops are aimed at demystifying innovation and helping firms understand how it can drive their company’s growth and profitability,” he adds.
“Firms who complete our workshops and subsequent assessments will be selected to take part in advanced programme supports. These further supports are designed to help develop detailed innovation delivery plans and bring ideas to fruition.”
Co-Innovate was launched recently by the Minister for Culture, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD, in Monaghan, along with Permanent Secretary of the Department for the Economy, Dr Andrew McCormick. Minister Humphreys confirmed that supporting SMEs is a key strategic priority for the government and the launch of this programme is a positive development for those in the border counties.
Dr Andrew McCormick welcomed the launch, highlighting that Co-innovate offers a unique opportunity to drive innovation capacity among small and medium enterprises.
Matched funding for Co-Innovate is being provided by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation in Ireland, the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, and the project will allow the region to make a significant contribution to the achievement of the European Union’s 2020 target of increased investment in research and innovation.
Cross-border co-operation and encouraging new partnerships between business and relevant research institutions will help to make businesses become ‘innovation active’ and thereby, more competitive and profitable.
The Co-Innovate scheme brings together the three regions’ key development agencies to deliver the programme aligned with each government’s strategic priorities. It is led by cross-border body InterTradeIreland in partnership with Enterprise Northern Ireland, East Border Region, Local Enterprise Offices in the border region, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
• For more information on The Co-Innovate Programme and details of a workshop near you, please visit www.co-innovateprogramme.eu/ci/.
• For further information on cross-border development body, InterTradeIreland, visit www.intertradeireland.com.
Photo: Minister Heather Humphreys (centre), Dr Andrew McCormick (centre right) and members of the Co-Innovate Programme partner group