Innovation Enterprise Initiative
Date du début: 31 déc. 2003,
Date de fin: 30 déc. 2008
The "Innovation Enterprise Initiative" (IEI), aims to measurably improve the innovation capacity of SMEs in Omagh and Leitrim in terms of the incidence and extent of innovation practices and activities including new product development, technical and management process innovations and improvements. Moreover it aims to encourage economic development in these disadvantaged North Western areas through new economy sector development, hence the focus on the manufacturing and tradeable services and digital media sectors. In targeting former residents and staellite business start-ups the programme aims to facilitate the balanced and sustainable development of the region.This will be achieved through developing innovation hubs and networks in both regions, in order to facilitate cross-border, multi-level and multi-directional information flow between SME businesses, enterprise development agencies, education and training providers, and research centres within and between these regions. The programme would target micro-enterprises with enterprise bodies acting as innovation one-stop shops, providing SMEs with access to strategically appropriate players and providers. The Innovation Enterprise Initiative proposes proactive and innovative techniques to assess and address SME needs. Strand one involves a series of onsite company visits in order to establih a relationship with the SME, understand their business and appreciate their needs; whilst facilitating the provision of IEI outreach mentoring support. IEI will also promote ICT adoption and usage within SMEs in order to promote awareness of the potential of ICT in the business arena and develop the ICT infrastructure to facilitate virtual networking and attract digital media start-ups. Strand three involves the development of a range of programmes specifically designed to meet the identified needs of SMEs. Achievements: Innovate, a dynamic cross border programme, which aimed to increase innovation in local business from Leitrim and Omagh, has had real impact. The 3 year programme set out to increase awareness of the importance of innovation in business growth, provide tangible support and encourage new business connections in both regions.The Innovate Programme was implemented by Omagh Enterprise Company and Leitrim County Enterprise Board and far exceeded its targets by helping develop over 20 new products and created 21 new jobs in participating companies in Omagh and Leitrim and in addition 5 spin off industries have been established. An interesting aspect of the programme is the strong links between academic institutions and industry to create a Cross Border Innovation Research Network. This action learning approach meant that busy owner/managers could devote time and energy on real ideas for their business. This will continue to transfer knowledge to industry and vica versa. The impact can be seen on the ground with many local Omagh and Leitrim firms using new processes and products, new forms of marketing and increasing their networking and technologicalcapacity. Innovate has been extremely effective in bringing Omagh and Leitrim companies together for the first time, with many now working regularly on joint opportunities.Over 150 companies from Omagh and Leitrim benefited from mentoring and training which helped them to increase their knowledge and to realise their goals. The programme also included an imaginative combination of one to one mentoring, training and networking events to increase the innovative capacity of Leitrim and Omagh firms. Its effectiveness is largely due to the personalised guidance geared towards individual company requirements, in product development and in the use of new technology as an integrated business tool. Two Business Innovation Officers in Omagh and eitrim, acted as business match-makers, guiding local companies to relevant training/mentors and facilitating lucrative connections in each region.This initiative also focused on making technology accessible and easy for local businesses through a series of seminars such as, marketing on line, which provided practical non-jargon advice. This seminars generated a dynamic forum to meet and do business through on and off line networks, which were set up in both Omagh and Leitrim.
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