SMEs who want to develop a new product, service or process for their business while enhancing their innovation capabilities, are being called on to apply to InterTradeIreland’s ‘Co-Innovate’ Programme, as the scheme marks its first anniversary.
Over 1,400 small and medium enterprises across the border region of Ireland are eligible to apply for Co-Innovate, a five-year €16.6 million project that aims to boost collaboration between small and medium enterprises across the border counties in Ireland, Northern Ireland and parts of western Scotland. Co-Innovate is a project supported by the European Union’s INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).
Co-Innovate oﬀers collaborative research and innovation project support via 5 different forms of innovation assistance. The graduated levels of support include free innovation workshops, individual business health checks and one-to-one expert mentoring. Companies can also benefit from co-innovating partnerships with academics and cross border business to business partnerships from Stand 4 and Strand 5 of the programme.
Over 800 local companies have taken part in Co-Innovate Workshops over the last 12 months with almost 500 going on to complete a Business Health Check. Over 40 businesses have also taken part in an intensive 10-day mentoring session which provides participants with specific action plans to develop research and innovation capabilities.
One such business to progress through the scheme is Dundalk based Tapa Healthcare, a medical technology business that provides aims to proactive patient-centric care by harnessing the power of ICT.
Speaking about the Programme, Peter Donnelly, CEO of Tapa Healthcare said: “The Co-Innovate Programme has been an excellent way of enabling us to review all aspects of our business, focusing on innovation and future opportunities. The advice, hands-on mentoring and real-life business support provided ensures innovation, research and collaboration is embedded in our business to foster growth. I’d advise any businesses locally to apply and see how research and collaboration can boost their plans.”
Following on from the success of year one of the Programme, Neil Ryan, InterTradeIreland’s Co-Innovate Director is calling on more local SMEs to register their interest. He says: “As a company with their finger on the pulse of innovation, Tapa Healthcare is a great example of the unique opportunities offered by the Co-Innovate scheme. The programme is aimed at demystifying innovation and helping firms understand how it can drive their company’s growth and profitability. Innovation is vital for the success and long-term sustainability of any business, and it’s crucial we continue to encourage and nurture SMEs to drive economic growth and prosperity.”
Co-Innovate 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.
The programme is currently seeking SME applications for business to business and business to academia R&I projects. To find out more or register your interest visit www.co-innovateprogramme.eu