Fermanagh company, Devine and Associates Ltd, is encouraging innovative companies with fertile ideas to secure a cash injection from the Co-Innovate Programme as a new funding round opens.
The Co-Innovate programme, led by InterTradeIreland, offers specific funding and support to cross-border business collaborations with innovative ideas for products or services that boast strong commercial potential.
Co-Innovate investment of up to €150,000 is available to qualifying projects, with 31st March the deadline for applications.
Over-all €1.5 million has been invested so far in commercial projects by Co-Innovate, with a further €1.5 million up for grabs. Firms taking part in Co-Innovate can also benefit from pooling their expertise and resources to bring innovations to market faster than if working alone.
One recipient of Co-Innovate support is a collaboration between Devine and Associates Ltd, Strawchip Ltd, Moy Park Limited and South West College. The project is aimed at producing an organic fertiliser which, when applied to land, will improve water and soil quality through the reduction of chemical run-off. It’s an environmentally friendlier process, using chicken litter supplied by Moy Park.
Debra Devine, of Devine and Associates Ltd, lead company in the research and development partnership, said: “Co-Innovate has given us support and investment to bring together expertise from a number of partners, aimed at producing a high quality, innovative product which is set to make a positive contribution to reducing pollution of our waterways and create jobs in the growing bio-economy sector. I’d urge firms with their eye on innovation to look at Co-Innovate as a way of securing not only the all-important funding, but also expertise and advice.”
The initiative was launched in September 2017 and is supported by the European Union’s INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).
Since then, Co-Innovate has helped 1,200 companies through innovation workshops, mentoring and funding. Co-Innovate operates in Northern Ireland, the six border counties of the Republic of Ireland, and in areas of Western Scotland.
Dianne Dundas, Co-Innovate’s Innovation Advisor, said: “So far, 11 companies and three academic institutes have secured funding to help push forward their cross-regional innovation partnerships. These include partnerships that are developing fully compostable plastics from renewable sources, creating new ways of producing small quantities of specialised asphalt products and technology that will help to monitor athletes, their performance and playing conditions, with the aim of reducing injuries.
“Co-Innovate is currently looking for ambitious businesses that have a cutting-edge idea with strong commercial potential, to join forces with a partner to jointly develop innovative products and services. This is an exciting opportunity open to ambitious businesses for a limited time.”
All projects must have at least one partner based in the border counties of Ireland and one based in Northern Ireland or Western Scotland. Companies participating on the programme must be in a position to support an 18/24-month-project as well as having the financial capability to match fund the project costs.
Although applications are welcomed from all sectors, they are particularly encouraged from Co-Innovate’s priority sectors including manufacturing and tradable services, renewables, life and health sciences, agri-food and tech and ICT.
There is still time for innovative companies to get involved and apply by 31st March.