InterTrade Ireland reveals additional €1.5m for North-South innovation ventures

21 Jan 2013

InterTrade Ireland has made a further €1.5m in funding available for businesses North and South to forge partnerships to develop new products or services under its Innova programme.

To date, InterTradeIreland has released more than €8m directly to companies North and South to commercialise existing partnerships.

Significant partnership outputs to date include development of treatments for cancer, the development of a heart-monitoring device, the development of a compost raw material to improve mushroom production and the development of an IT solution for waste-water treatment compliance.

The Innova Programme, in particular, is looking for collaborative partnership projects in the following sectors: life and health sciences, polymers and plastics, agri-food, advanced engineering and advanced materials, telecoms, ICT and environmental. Partners can work in the same sector or come from different but complementary disciplines.

“The Innova programme provides North/South business partnerships with more than just funding,” Grant Gilmore, Innova Operations manager at InterTradeIreland explained.

“Other key benefits include expediting the development of new or improved innovative products, processes or services while providing a quicker route to market and a greatly increased rate of commercialisation. Innova also links partnerships together to help them share otherwise inaccessible knowledge, technology and expertise, as well as giving access to complimentary networks and channels to market,” Gilmore added.

North-South JV Moozler gets global reception

An example of an Innova Partnership delivering real benefits to both companies in a difficult economic environment is Dundalk-based Vennetics and Belfast-based Instil, who came together to develop a new type of telephony service called Moozler. Moozler provides services directly to customers through the internet without using either mobile or VoIP service providers.

The partnership is now working with a number of major global telecoms companies, including 3 in Ireland, Bell in Canada and Telefónica in Spain (Movistar) and the UK (O2), providing them with a consumer brand for a new service they can offer their customers. Both companies have hired new staff as a result of the project and are in the process of further expansion.

“The Innova programme works very well, it is an easy but extremely effective process,” Tara Simpson, CEO of Instil, explained.

“All-island trade is vital for northern companies, it gives us access to a whole new market. Innova provided us with the platform to tap into these opportunities and to develop a partnership with Vennetics which has lasted over two years. It’s a partnership based on trust.”

Business deal image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years