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Figures from Enterprise
Ireland's annual business
review show that client
companies that avail of its
range of innovation supports
have 67 per cent more global
sales compared with client
companies that are not active
in research and development
(R&D). Here, Orla Battersby,
divisional manager for food
at Enterprise Ireland, outlines
the ways in which the agency
is championing innovation in
the food industry
38
AUGUST 2019
Research Innovation Focus
www.irishfarmersmonthly.com
Research Innovation
Not only is Ireland's agri-food industry the largest
indigenous industry on the island, but its reach is broad,
employing people countrywide in rural communities and
regions. Orla explains that Enterprise Ireland supports
food and drink companies to build the international scale
of their operations through investment in innovation,
competitiveness and leadership capability. "We support
employment and create prosperity across regions and
towns in Ireland." The agency recently updated its own
food strategy where innovation plays a central role.
"Innovation is critical in our view because customer-led
innovation is the driving force across the sector. It is at the
heart of gaining competitive advantage, which is central
to how companies successfully compete in international
markets."
Under its innovation pillar, Enterprise Ireland o ers a
range of supports including capability; direct funding;
and collaborative supports, which also include funding.
"Innovation is much more than new product development
(NPD). It's about having an innovation culture, so
innovation is happening in all parts of the business, from
how new ideas are identified and prioritised, to how they
move forward and what methodology companies use
to capture all of that. The capability supports are very
important and our flagship support is the Innovation 4
Growth programme."
Agile response
Enterprise Ireland has an array of funding options,
made available to businesses based on need. However,
following the Brexit referendum, which left the Irish
food industry particularly exposed, Enterprise Ireland
launched an Agile o ering. "We brought it out post Brexit
to encourage companies to move more quickly, to get
an R&D project planned and submitted to us, approved
and to get out and do it and then move on, rather than
doing larger R&D projects which are still available, if
better suited to a company's needs." Orla says the Agile
o ering has streamlined the R&D process in an online
application. Companies can avail of 50 per cent support
up to an expenditure of 300,000. "Companies can get
up to 150,000 in a more e ective, fast-tracked way
and it allows them to innovate more quickly in response
to customer needs, particularly in the light of Brexit
whether they are staying in the UK market or if they are
moving to another market and they need to change their
product. It allows them to dip in more quickly than a
bigger process allows."
Collaborative research
Another aspect is around collaborative supports.
Enterprise Ireland has supported and encouraged
industry to work with third-level educational institutes
to conduct research projects where they might not have
the capabilities in-house. Other collaborative projects
have seen Irish food businesses collaborate in strategic
research through centralised programmes to deliver
C
hampioning
inno
v
ation
B U I L D I N G T H E G R O W T H E N T E R P R I S E
SMURFIT
SENIOR
LEADERSHIP
PROGRAMME 2019
I N C O L L A B O R A T I O N W I T H
Executive Education
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FOR MORE INFORMATION
Annabelle Kehoe, Business Development Manager, Smurfit Executive Development.
annabelle.kehoe@ucd.ie +353 1 716 8080
www.smurfitschool.ie/slp
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