The Institute of Technology Sligo has been awarded a €1.2 million in funding from the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) award to help SME’s across the northwest region to expand their business.
The funding was awarded under a Pilot Call for Proposals, inviting higher education institutions to design activities that will enhance their entrepreneurial and innovation capacity.
The funding will allow at least 20 SME’s across Ireland to scale up. The scheme is aimed at industries who are established at least three years and are looking to grow their business. The companies must be involved in manufacturing, digital, raw materials or renewable energy sectors and must be beyond the early stages of start-up.
IT Sligo is leading the project on behalf of its Connacht Ulster Alliance partners, GMIT and LYIT who will be merging to create a Technological University in 2022.
Successful companies will be able to benefit from research and innovation support, not just from IT Sligo but through its CUA partners, GMIT and LYIT and five other universities across Europe.
Through a peer mentoring programme, participants will be able to create a strategy to grow their business internationally and will have access to advisors and researchers in countries across the EU including; Belgium, Italy, Hungary, Finland, and the Czech Republic.
They will also have the opportunity to use their companies’ strategic planning towards a postgraduate qualification meaning personal development as well as company improvements and is seen as a win, win for SME’s.
Following the announcement, Chris O’Malley, Vice President, Research, Innovation & Engagement at the Institute of Technology Sligo, stated: “Our project with our RISEN alliance partners will support 120 SMEs to move to the next stage of growth over two years. They will be supported by a peer mentor network and be given access to expertise from the EIT and the partner universities in developing their strategy to get there. An innovative feature of these is that they can submit their strategic plans for an academic award. By making this a network spanning six member states, the opportunities for these companies to grow internationally can be massively accelerated.”
Any companies interested in taking part in the project should contact Chris O’Malley at firstname.lastname@example.org.