Ireland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union concluded on 30th June 2013. During each Presidency, the presiding Member State sets out its own programme and priorities for its six month term: the theme for the Irish Presidency was Stability, Jobs and Growth.
Many of the objectives which the Government is pursuing under the Action Plan for Jobs mirror the objectives at EU level, including supporting SMEs, Research and Development, and boosting competitiveness.
Focusing on the key drivers of growth for all economies – innovation and competitiveness - Enterprise Ireland hosted four major conferences during the Presidency over a four week period:
29 May: Driving Competitiveness – Dublin Castle
5-7 June: Week of Innovative Regions in Europe (WIRE) 2013 - University College Cork
10-12 June: EuroSME Conference – Dublin Castle
18-20 June: EuroNanoForum 2013 – Convention Centre Dublin
Pictured L-R are Carl Klemm, President of the Board of Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Poland and Frank Ryan, CEO Enterprise Ireland at Enterprise Ireland's “Driving Competitiveness” Conference at Dublin Castle
Organised on behalf of the Government, these conferences attracted over 2,500 delegates from over 50 countries to Dublin and Cork. Each conference spotlighted the great work that is being done across the EU in the areas of innovation and competitiveness. This large gathering of international attendees also brought significant benefits to the Irish economy as a large number of the delegates extended their stay in Ireland for a couple of days.
The Driving Competitiveness Conference saw over 40 of the world’s leading companies, most of them household names, from Europe, Japan and Ireland come together to share their practical experiences of what does and doesn’t work in the drive to achieve competitiveness in global markets.
Over the last three years, Enterprise Ireland has supported almost 500 companies with Lean Business initiatives resulting in significant improvements across the board. These improvements have resulted in annual savings for client companies ranging from tens of thousands to millions of euro.
Pictured L-R are: Minister for Research & Innovation, Sean Sherlock, TD, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation & Science, Máire Geoghegan Quinn and Dr Imelda Lambkin, National Director of FP7, Enterprise Ireland at Enterprise Ireland's WIRE Conference in University College Cork.
WIRE (Week of Innovative Regions in Europe): The three day conference brought together 350 delegates from 20 European countries to Cork. The theme of the Conference was ‘Regions: leading the way’ and focused on the importance of each European region maximising their resources to reach their full potential. The conference brought together the business community, SMEs, multinational corporations, regional, national and European stakeholders. The aim of the conference was to work on developing regional ecosystems, particularly in the areas of research, technological development and innovation.
EuroSME 2013: Opened by the Minister for Research and Innovation, Sean Sherlock TD, EuroSME took a close look at what it takes to be a thriving entrepreneur in the 21st century. It concentrated on improving the competitiveness of small businesses along with maximizing benefits from both existing and future public and private support mechanisms.
Pictured at the opening of Enterprise Ireland's EuroSME Conference in Dublin Castle are L-R Minister for Research and Innovation Seán Sherlock TD, Keary Crawford, co-founder of The Growth Strategy Company and Sean Burke, Ireland’s National Contact Point for Research for the benefit of SMEs, FP7, Enterprise Ireland.
Euro-SME 2013 also provided an opportunity to help entrepreneurs influence and shape the EU’s Innovation agenda. Hundreds of entrepreneurs, policy makers, public and private SME support organisations shared ideas on how to improve the EU economy. The conference also introduced SME-specific measures within Horizon 2020 to this community, and threw light on the significance of SMEs not only in Ireland, where they account for 99% of Irish businesses, but throughout Europe.
EuroNanoForum 2013 was the largest nanotechnology conference ever held in Europe with a record-breaking 1,500 delegates from 50 countries in attendance. Held in the Convention Centre Dublin the conference coincided with Ireland’s annual Nanoweek event.
Pictured touring the NanoTechnology Europe Exhibition at Enterprise Ireland's EuroNanoForum are L-R Minister for Research & Innovation, Sean Sherlock, TD and Dr. Imelda Lambkin, National Director of FP7 in Ireland, Enterprise Ireland.
For three days, the Convention Centre was transformed into an innovation hub. Attendees focussed on the impact nanotechnology has in problem solving across key societal sectors such as health, energy and the environment. A Nanotech Europe Exhibition was organised which gave companies and research centres the opportunity to showcase and demonstrate their innovative products and technologies.
Nanotechnology has been earmarked as one of Europe’s Key Enabling Technologies and will feature prominently in the forthcoming EU funding programme Horizon 2020.
The Presidency put the spotlight on Ireland for six months and provided a great opportunity to promote Ireland as a dynamic and efficient place in which to invest and do business. The Government, through its individual Departments and State Agencies, showcased the very best Ireland has to offer across all sectors of business, tourism and culture.
Lithuania assumed the Presidency of the Council of the European Union on 1 July 2013.