New €2m programme to entice businesses to develop innovation clusters

9 Jul 2012

Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Minister Richard Bruton, TD, has this morning launched a new €2m programme, with the aim of getting businesses that are serviced by enterprise development agencies in Ireland to collaborate to improve their competitive advantage and potentially create jobs down the line.

The programme is being supported jointly by Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Údarás na Gaeltachta and the city and county enterprise boards.

As part of the campaign’s marketing drive, advertisements are also appearing in newspapers to seek out participants for the programme.

According to the Government, the programme marks a key measure under the Action Plan for Jobs, as well as signalling a new departure in industrial policy by encouraging businesses to co-operate with each other to develop clusters of strength.

The programme is aiming to draw upon other industrial clustering success stories in Ireland, such as in pharmaceuticals and in medical devices sectors, with the latter especially having such a cluster in the Galway region.

The Government said the initiative is aimed at a broad range of businesses serviced by the enterprise development agencies.

To be eligible for the programme, projects must involve a minimum of five companies, and will be eligible for funding of up to €100,000.

Clusters will also be encouraged to seek members from other jurisdictions, including Northern Ireland, global corporations with presences in Ireland, companies not clients of enterprise development agencies, trade/business associations, academic institutions and suppliers.

Some of the aims of the clustering initiative will be to help encourage greater innovation and knowledge transfer between the companies involved in the programme.

Speaking this morning, Bruton said some of Ireland’s major success stories are based on clusters. Touching on the medical devices cluster, he said it is recognised internationally as one of the best in the world.

He said the aim is to replicate this clustering approach across the economy and to make Ireland a world leader in a range of sectors, such as in digital games or cloud computing.

“This initiative is about encouraging businesses to look past immediate concerns, and co-operate to lift the fortunes of the sector in which they operate, to the benefit of everyone,” said Bruton.

Business clustering image via Shutterstock

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic