Two companies based in the Innovation Centre at IT Sligo were recognised as Business Ambassadors by cross-border body InterTradeIreland at a recent ceremony at Áras an Uachtaráin hosted by President of Ireland, Mary McAleese.
Dr Heinrich Anhold of Epona Biotech and Enda Madden of Groupnos attended the ceremony. Their companies were nominated as firms that have successfully embraced innovation, developed new cross-border markets or secured venture capital through InterTradeIreland’s support.
Speaking at the event, President McAleese said: “InterTrade has set ambitious goals for 2013. They are your statement of intent and your assertions of faith in those who share this island to problem solve their way intelligently out of this chastening period of difficulty. Thank you for being champions of the future, leaders of the change and pathfinders to progress. I wish you every success and fulfilment as the island of Ireland begins to generate the momentum of shared economic endeavour that alone can reveal this island’s fullest potential to and for all its citizens.”
Reflecting the importance of support for innovative SMEs across the island, InterTradeIreland Chairman Dr David Dobbin said: “We have supported companies right across Ireland, in every county and constituency and we are extremely proud of the examples of enterprise and innovation that are represented by our group of InterTradeIreland Business Ambassadors. We hope that through highlighting the achievements of our SMEs across Ireland, we will inspire other businesses to take advantage of cross-border trade and collaboration”.
Since 2003, InterTradeIreland’s has helped more than 16,500 companies with cross-border information and services and supported over 2,000 SMEs through its trade and innovation programmes. As a result, in excess of €610 million worth of business value has been generated, including that from current projects still to complete. In addition, over 930 jobs have been created or sustained through its programmes. For every €1 invested in InterTradeIreland, it provides a ten-fold return in business development value.
Mr. Richard Bruton TD, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, who also marked the achievements of the business ambassadors, highlighted the calibre of the nominated companies commenting, “Government does not create jobs, people and businesses do; and the role of government is to create an environment in which those businesses can prosper. I am determined to do everything I can to reduce costs, improve access to finance and encourage innovation so that good businesses can expand and create the jobs that our economy and society so badly need. If there is one thing Ireland – north and south – does not lack it is enterprising, creative, hardworking people, and I look forward to meeting some of them today to discuss what government and small business together can do to get people back to work”.
The sixty-five businesses acknowledged at the Dublin event bring the total number of InterTradeIreland Business Ambassador Companies to 100 across the island, joining the existing 35 representatives from Northern Ireland.
CEO of Epona Biotech, Dr Heinrich Anhold, said; “Following our Seedcorn win we gained a lot of media attention which helped attract investors. I founded Epona over three years ago and have put everything I’ve got into making it a success. I feel very privileged to be an InterTrade Ireland Business Ambassador.”
Pictured from left to right are Enda Madden, Senator Martin McAleese, President Mary McAleese, and Dr Heinrich Anhold.