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North America News
MTT launches business traveller app with global travel company BCD Travel
Enterprise Ireland client Mobile Travel Technologies Ltd. (MTT), the pioneering mobile solutions provider for the travel industry, has developed a new personalized mobile travel app for global travel management company BCD Travel. Called TripSource®, the mobile app may be downloaded from the Apple App Store in versions for U.S. and Canadian markets.

BCD Travel, a full-service travel management company operating in 97 countries, helps companies of all sizes to get more from their travel dollars while keeping travelling employees safe and productive. BCD Travel serves companies across a wide array of industries, including many of those ranking among the 100 largest companies globally by total annual air volume.

These companies have extensive travel needs with many staff travelling at one time. With TripSource, their business travellers can easily access and track every trip while on the go and have a better business travel experience with personalized guides, directions, reminders and travel updates.

Leveraging Mobile Travel Technologies (MTT's) corporate travel product, MTT Concierge, TripSource will give BCD Travel more control in managing its mobile channel and will enhance its communication with its travellers. BCD Travel will also use MTT Engage (MTT’s intelligent push engine) to send targeted push notifications.

“We chose MTT to build our mobile travel app because they impressed us with their successful track record in creating smart, intuitive, useful applications for consumers. We wanted to create a great app with personality that delivers a consumer-oriented user experience to business travellers, and the first release of TripSource reveals MTT’s intuition for what users want,” said April Bridgeman, Senior Vice President of Strategic Marketing at BCD Travel.

Travelers who book trips through BCD Travel now may download the free TripSource mobile app to help them stay organized and productive. The robust itinerary management app provides vital travel information with the touch of a finger. Travelers can use TripSource to access and share travel itineraries (airlines, hotels, ground transportation and more). It also provides real-time flight status alerts and gate changes, driving directions to destinations along their journey and even rewards for using the app.

More information on this announcement can be seen here.

Study in Ireland Canada Campus Campaign a Success!
Enterprise-Ireland Toronto recently organised six on-campus student facing events and a follow up ‘Study in Ireland’ webinar during the month of February. Representatives from six of the Institutes of Technology in Ireland (IOTI) travelled to Canada to take part in the Study in Ireland initiative. Under the Colleges Ontario – IOTI agreement which came into effect in November 2011, graduates from any of the 24 Colleges in Ontario can complete their honours degree program in Ireland with one or two years of further study at an Institute of Technology.

The events were held over four days at six campuses across the province of Ontario. Students at Durham College (Oshawa), Fleming College (Peterborough), Fanshawe College (London), St. Lawrence College (Kingston), Centennial College (Toronto) and Humber College (Etobicoke) showed a great interest in studying in Ireland and enjoyed the Irish entertainment provided.

At each of the colleges there was an information stand set up where Enterprise-Ireland and IOTI representatives answered student’s questions and provided them with details about furthering their studies and obtaining an honours degree in Ireland. Two information sessions were held for students each day during which the IOTI representatives spoke about life in Ireland, gave the students practical information concerning tuition, living costs and accommodation, and explained in detail how to apply.

Patrick Lynch of Sligo IT signed additional pathway agreements with St. Lawrence College during the visit and several of the Institutes are now in discussion with the Colleges of Ontario about creating further pathways for Canadian students to complete their honours degree programs in Ireland.

For those who were unable to attend the information sessions on campus and students in the other 18 Colleges of Ontario, a webinar was organised on Wednesday 26th February with over 200 registered students.

As a result of these student-focused events there have been a number of enquiries and applications submitted to the IOTI by Ontario college students. Mervyn O’Mahony, Communications and Marketing Officer from CIT commented on the success of the Canada Campus Campaign, stating: “It was great to see the high level of interest and enthusiasm of students wanting to study in Ireland and no doubt this trip and the recommendations that will come out of it can only increase the participation of Canadian students studying in Ireland.”

US Sporting Giants Lead Advisory Panel Event for Irish SportsTech Companies
Enterprise Ireland’s New York team hosted their first Annual Sports Technology Advisory Panel at the Irish Consulate in New York City on Wednesday, February 26th, 2014.

The panel brought together industry leaders in sports business in the digital realm, from the top US sporting institutions such as the NFL (National Football League), the MLB (Major League Baseball), the PGA Tour (Golf), the Brooklyn Nets (NBA-National Basketball Association), WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) and IMG & IMG College (Sports agency and the entity responsible for many sports rights and events). These panellists gave guidance and direction on US strategy to five Irish sports technology companies: Converser, Fantom, Huggity, ShowMeGolfers, and vStream.

This half day event began with remarks from Kristie D’Agnes, Market Advisor for sports technology in the New York office, about the opportunity for Irish companies in the US, as well as with remarks from Peter Ryan, the Deputy Consul General in New York.  
The event started with a panel moderated by Kristie D’Agnes who highlighted many issues that Irish companies face when trying to break into the sports technology industry in the US, including the monetization of social media and sponsorship activation in digital.

The companies then each presented a 7 minute elevated pitch to give the advisors a snap shot of their offering, followed by a brief 3 minute Q&A.

Lastly, each company met with advisors in one to one meetings in a speed dating format which allowed for further impact and dialogue.

Oran Bambrick of Fantom commented, “The SportsTech advisory panel gave us an incredible opportunity to sit in front of senior executives of some of the largest players in the market. The direct feedback from the advisors will be vital as we continue to build our North American strategy going forward and further develop these relationships.”

Latest News
Minister Perry launches Enterprise Ireland Student Entrepreneur Awards

Minister for Small Business, John Perry T.D, recently announced that Enterprise Ireland has launched a major drive to spur entrepreneurial third level students to develop innovative business proposals as part of the Enterprise Ireland Student Entrepreneur Awards competition. This is a great opportunity for ambitious and enterprising students to build a real-world business venture and at the same time be in with a chance to win a prize from the overall €30,000 cash prize fund and €30,000 consultancy fund, which includes a €10,000 first prize.

The Enterprise Ireland Student Entrepreneur Awards, which are co-sponsored by Invest Northern Ireland, Intel, Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attorneys and Grant Thornton, are Ireland’s biggest and longest established student enterprise competition for third level student teams from the whole island. The priority is to get students thinking now about starting their own business as a career option once they graduate. The sponsors also bring their expertise to nurturing the finalists in the competition to commercialise their business by providing them with expert guidance in areas such as intellectual property, market research, finances, technology development, public relations and advertising, all aimed at supporting young entrepreneurs to develop viable businesses and create jobs.

This year for the first time Enterprise Ireland are asking students to submit a video that captures how great their idea is and shows commercial and export potential. Other features of the competition include a website, facebook page, twitter account and pod casts – reaching out to students in the world that they know best. Enterprise Ireland are currently supporting all of the internal entrepreneurship competitions within the institutions on the island of Ireland with a €500 cash sponsorship prize for each college.

The closing date for applications for the competition is 17 March 2014.

For more information visit the award website.

Government Publishes Third Annual Action Plan for Jobs
The Taoiseach, the Tánaiste and the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation recently published the Action Plan for Jobs 2014, the third annual instalment in the Government plan aimed at building a sustainable growing economy and creating jobs.

The Plan builds on the more than 500 measures already implemented through Action Plan for Jobs 2012 and 2013, and contains 385 actions to be implemented by all 16 Government Departments and 46 Agencies. Building on the 2013 Plan three new Disruptive Reform topics have been targeted in the areas of Entrepreneurship, Winning Overseas and Manufacturing.

The 2014 Plan aims to build on the significant progress which has occurred in job-creation since the first Action Plan was launched in February 2012, with more than 58,000 extra jobs added in the year to September 2013. According to Live Register figures, the unemployment rate has declined for 19 consecutive months, and has gone from 15.1% in February 2012 to 12.3% in January 2014.

Measures to be implemented during 2014 include:
  1. Entrepreneurship - a county-based public competition to find the best entrepreneur in Ireland with €2million in funding for awards; an Entrepreneurial PhD programme to train SFI scientists to launch their own businesses; 31 new Local Enterprise Offices to drive start-ups across the country and a review of tax supports for entrepreneurs to see if they can be improved or simplified.
  2. FDI - 10,000 additional jobs to be created through recruitment of extra staff for IDA Ireland overseas, additional jobs over and above existing strategies to be created in multinational companies in Ireland within 5 years; IDA to focus on new areas of growth including the 'internet of things'.
  3. Manufacturing - as part of a plan to create 40,000 additional manufacturing jobs by 2020, a programme of new measures to support productivity improvements and higher levels of R&D in Irish and multinational manufacturing businesses.
  4. Agencies - IDA, Enterprise Ireland and the new Local Enterprise Offices will together support a total of 30,500 direct new jobs during 2014. Enterprise Ireland clients to target €17.5billion in exports in 2014.
  5. Competitiveness - Ireland's competitiveness has improved steadily since the Action Plan for Jobs process was first launched, going from 24th in the IMD world competitiveness rankings in 2011 to 20th in 2012 and 17th in 2013 - measures to continue this drive include a new system of quarterly reporting to the Cabinet Committee on competitiveness issues and action on areas affecting business; measures on skills including 6000 Momentum places; reduced costs for businesses through rollout of the reformed Workplace Relations structures.
  6. Access to Finance - new non-bank sources of lending to SMEs to add to the €2billion already available including new working capital products for exporters and a retail mini bonds market via the Irish Stock Exchange; Dept of Finance will more closely monitor new bank lending to SMEs on a monthly basis.
  7. Regions - Regional Enterprise Strategies, proposals for a successor to the National Spatial Strategy, an IDA programme of building advance facilities in specific locations where the private sector is not providing property solutions.
  8. Sectors - new supports to deliver continued jobs growth in sectors such as Agriculture/Food, ICT and Tourism which have been supported in previous Plans and have shown substantial growth in jobs; new focus on domestically-traded sectors also including retail and construction.
  9. Year of Irish Design 2015 - as part of a plan to target 1800 additional jobs in the design and crafts sector in the medium term, the Government today announced that it will designate 2015 the Year of Irish Design. Planning will take place throughout 2014 for a national and international programme of activities to take place during 2015 in order to encourage more investment in design and to sustain and grow employment opportunities, sales and export potential in the design sector.
  10. Disruptive reforms - a total of 9 Disruptive Reforms (high-impact measures implemented to ambitious timelines in partnership with industry), further measures following on from 2013 plan in key areas of ICT skills, Big Data, delivering an integrated licensing system for retailers and the National Health Innovation Hub.
The full Action Plan for Jobs 2014 and the Table of Actions can be seen at

Sherlock welcomes continued improvement in Ireland’s Innovation Performance
Seán Sherlock, TD, Minister for Research and Innovation, welcomed the continued improvement in Ireland’s innovation performance reported in the European Commission’s 2014 Innovation Union Scoreboard published recently.

The annual Innovation Union Scoreboard provides a comparative assessment of the research and innovation performance of the EU Member States and the relative strengths and weaknesses of their research and innovation systems. It helps Member States assess areas in which they need to concentrate their efforts in order to boost their innovation performance.

The 2014 Scoreboard shows that Ireland has moved up one place from tenth to ninth in the overall ranking of 28 EU Member States.  Ireland is classified as an ‘innovation follower’ with innovation performance above or close to that of the EU average. The general trend of Ireland’s innovation performance has been upward, at 110% of the EU average in 2014.
Ireland performs well above the EU average on international scientific co-publications and license and patent revenues from abroad.  Other strong performing indicators are population with tertiary education, employment in knowledge intensive-services and knowledge-intensive services exports.

Start-ups, Jobs, Deals
Taoiseach Announces 50 New Jobs At Westbourne IT Global Services

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny recently announced the creation of 50 new jobs at the multilingual, IT global services company, Westbourne IT Global Services, in Cork. Widely recognised as one of the leading providers of secure, remote, IT support for global users, Westbourne IT Global Services is actively recruiting multilingual, technical positions that will see its workforce more than double to close to 100 employees within the next 18 months. The job creation is being supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through Enterprise Ireland.

Westbourne IT Global Services is an indigenous company which operates from two facilities in Cork. The company provides secure, remote, IT support to Global users 24/7, 365 days a year. This support varies from software installations to major incidents, all ably dealt with by the company’s Networks, Server/Storage and Infrastructure Software teams. Founded in 1994 as an IT product reseller, Westbourne IT global services has evolved and grown to become a global IT support services organisation working with a wide spectrum of multi-national and indigenous clients across the life sciences, pharmaceutical and related sectors.

Speaking at the expansion announcement, CEO John O’Sullivan said: “Today is a very significant day for Westbourne IT Global Services. When I set up this company 20 years ago, I had a team of three people. We are now one of Ireland’s leading providers of 24/7, multi-lingual IT support, operating in seven languages to over 25 indigenous and global organisations. Today, I am delighted to announce that we are actively recruiting for 50 new positions for a variety of technical positions in five different languages. Our new team members will join a rapidly expanding team of talented professionals. We have ambitious plans for continued growth over the next five years and plan to expand our workforce to 350 employees by 2019.”

Speaking about the announcement, Julie Sinnamon, CEO, Enterprise Ireland said, “The creation of 50 new jobs at Westbourne IT Global Services is a great boost for Cork. Enterprise Ireland’s priority is to work in partnership with companies to support their plans for growth and help them to win new business in global markets. Our focus is on providing our client companies with the support that they need to expand and continue to create new employment in their regions. We look forward to continuing to work with Westbourne as they grow their international business.”

Irish Start-Ups Attend SXSW Music, Film & Interactive Festival

Enterprise Ireland is again showcasing the best Irish technology at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival for the 4th successive year. Attracting attendees such as Storyful, Soundwave & Teamwork PM in previous years; a fresh delegation of Enterprise Ireland clients are currently attending the 21st annual SXSW conference in Austin, Texas which takes place from March 7 - 16 2014.

Widely recognised as the premier conference for ambitious web and digital media companies to showcase their technologies, SXSW is the birthplace of Twitter, Foursquare, GameSalad and FoodSpotting. Enterprise Ireland delegates have a fantastic opportunity to network with pioneering stakeholders in web, interactive media, film and music industries at a dedicated pitch event, cosponsored by NASDAQ.

An incubator of cutting-edge technologies and digital creativity, the Interactive Festival features five days of compelling presentations from the brightest minds in emerging technology, scores of exciting networking events hosted by industry leaders and an unbeatable line-up of special programs showcasing the best new websites, video games and start-up ideas the community has to offer. From hands-on training to big-picture analysis of the future, SXSW Interactive has become the place to experience a preview of what is unfolding in the world of technology. . Enterprise Ireland delegates Viddyad and Trustev were shortlisted for this year’s SXSW Accelerator Awards, with Trustev winning the top prize.

Irish Start-Up OptiWi-Fi lands major deal with O2
OptiWi-fi, an Enterprise Ireland supported high potential start-up announced its agreement with O2 Wifi to deploy industry-first wireless network bandwidth optimization across their UK and Ireland networks at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on 20th February 2014. This will revolutionise user experience by significantly improving Wi-Fi quality at congested hotspots.

OptiWi-fi Ltd. Is a cutting-edge, award-winning technology company founded by Mark Burke, CEO, and Dr. Mark Davis, CTO, a global expert on Wi-Fi networks performance. The company’s origins lie in the world-leading Communications and Network Research Institute (CNRI), an Irish University think-tank for network communications run by Dr. Davis himself for the past 10 years. The company has since grown and been propelled through Telefonica’s Wayra Accelerator and supported by Enterprise Ireland.

See below presentation by Mark Burke, CEO at the Enterprise Ireland Big Ideas Technology showcase in 2012

Enterprise Ireland Big Ideas Mark Burke Opti Wi-Fi

International Activities
€25m of contracts signed during Enterprise Ireland trade mission to Singapore and Malaysia led by Minister Bruton
The four-day trade and investment mission to Singapore and Malaysia secured contracts worth €25 million and significant new business partnerships across the financial services, ICT and education sectors. These announcements underline the growing opportunities for Irish companies in the developing ASEAN region (Association of South East Asian nations).

The recent four-day trade and investment mission to Singapore and Malaysia secured contracts worth €25 million and significant new business partnerships across the financial services, ICT and education sectors. These announcements underline the growing opportunities for Irish companies in the developing ASEAN region (Association of South East Asian nations).

The mission of 42 Irish companies was organised by Enterprise Ireland in close cooperation with IDA Ireland, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Embassies of Ireland in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

While in Singapore, Minister Bruton also led the first ever joint Irish, UK and Northern Ireland trade mission, along with UK Transport Minister Stephen Hammond and Northern Ireland Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster.

Among the announcements made during the mission were:
• Tango Telecom (Limerick) announced a major expansion deal with RobiAxiata, one of the three largest mobile operators in Bangladesh.
• cut-e, a world leader in the design and implementation of innovative online tests and questionnaires for recruitment, selection and development, signed a deal to provide online psychometric assessments to Morgan Advanced Materials in Asia.
• ICDL Asia, a wholly-owned subsidiary of ECDL Foundation, announced they have entered into an agreement with RVi Group Singapore to make ICDL available throughout Myanmar.
• Quest Computing (Dublin) announced that its ASEAN subsidiary, AIMS Software, is partnering with Tech Mahindra to provide joint Sales and Marketing focus in addition to local System Integration delivery capability.
• Atlantic Projects Company signed an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with Malaysian company Serba Dinamik Group.

Julie Sinnamon, CEO of Enterprise Ireland, who accompanied Minister Bruton on the mission, commented:
“ASEAN offers serious opportunities for Ireland. Irish companies and education institutions are winning more and more business in the region matched by an increasing interest among ASEAN companies in Ireland as a location for setting up new operations to target the European market. Trade missions are a key part of Enterprise Ireland’s strategy to grow Irish export sales by opening doors, making high-level introductions and helping our client companies to exploit the opportunities that exist in global markets.”

Strong Irish attendance at Mobile World Congress, Barcelona
In February, Enterprise Ireland showcased 18 client companies on its Ireland Pavilion at Mobile World Congress (MWC) - generally recognised as the world’s largest mobile technology event.  Held annually in Barcelona, this year's event played host to a record 80,000 attendees from over 200 countries.

Attendance at MWC helps Enterprise Ireland client companies accelerate growth in their export markets and win new business in what is a very fast-moving and highly competitive technology sector.

A number of Enterprise Ireland clients announced significant deals at the show:
  • Dublin mobile technology company, Asavie Technologies Ltd. signed a lucrative deal with a subsidiary of Scandinavian telecoms player Telenor, to roll out a software-defined network solution that will enable the carrier to rapidly deploy machine-to-machine systems. Telenor Connexion, a wholly owned subsidiary of Telenor Group deploys M2M solutions for large businesses including Volvo, Hitachi Construction Machinery and Scania, enabling them to wirelessly connect products and services.
  • Irish e-payments player 3V Transactions Services Ltd. has joined forces with Orange to launch Orange Cash, a MasterCard reloadable prepaid account available for Apple iOS and Android smartphones on any mobile carrier in Spain. Orange Cash is the first commercial launch of 3V’s instant-issuing Moneybutton payments technology service, where virtual accounts can be created in real time for anyone on demand. Customers don’t need a bank account, the accounts are free and the MasterCard number in the app can be topped up with cash, debit and credit cards, or by bank transfers. With Orange Cash, consumers can make secure online payments, send money for free to other Orange Cash customers, and request a contactless plastic card for use in stores or at ATMs throughout the world.
  • Dublin-based marketing firm Brandtone struck a major deal with Unilever that will see the conglomerate use Brandtone's databases to reach millions of potential customers worldwide.
  • Mobile analytics firm Heystaks Technologies Ltd. is close to signing a deal with a major US telecoms operator that is expected to transform the company's profile, according to chief executive Maurice Coyle. Heystaks also launched a new service that allows mobile operators to look for new advertising revenue streams in place of collapsing SMS income.
  • Mobile network data firm Equiendo is in exploratory talks with Turkish operator, Avea and Lebanese operator, Alfa about deploying its optimisation technology on both operators' networks. Equiendo's product can tell operators where they have bottlenecks on their networks and where they have spare capacity.
Next year's Mobile Word Congress show will be held in Barcelona in early March and Enterprise Ireland are keen to hear from clients interested in participating on the Ireland Pavilion.  Please contact your Development Advisor for more information.

Research & Innovation
Technology Centres – updates from our industry-led research centres
Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland jointly support 15 Technology Centres to develop next generation industry-led research solutions for companies in Ireland. Here’s some news from some of the Technology Centres:

Energy Integration Technology Centre – IERC:

Unlocking the Potential for Innovative Energy Services

Save the date: The International Energy Research Centre, Cork will host a conference on 1st May 2014 to explore the latest thinking in energy services to improve peoples’ lives and drive productivity. It will show how collaborative research will deliver cost effective, secure and low carbon energy solutions. Click here for more information.

Technology Centre for Financial Services – Governance, Risk and Compliance:

Appointment of Centre Director

Mr. Peter Cowap has been appointed Director of the Irish Technology Centre for Financial Services – Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRCTC). He took up employment at the Government-funded Technology Centre, which is hosted by University College Cork, on 6th January 2014.

The GRCTC is an industry-led centre for innovation and research for governance, risk and compliance in financial services and is one of 15 Technology Centres supported by the joint Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland Technology Centre programme. The centre is currently being rolled out as part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs and will be formally launched along with announcement of further details on funding, work programme and industry partners in the coming months.

In his role as GRCTC Centre Director, Mr. Cowap will ensure that the aims and objectives of the centre, which was formulated by the industry members, is met by the research team, led by UCC and supported by UCD and NUIG.

The industry membership includes a mix of indigenous and Ireland-based MNC financial services and software companies.

Food for Health Ireland

Could milk proteins improve sports performance and healthy aging? UL researchers to investigate.  

The University of Limerick will take the lead in Phase 2 of Food for Health Ireland’s (FHI) research programme to explore the role of milk proteins in healthy aging and performance nutrition.
Professor of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Phil Jakeman, who is the lead PI for FHI’s Healthy Aging and Performance Nutrition Health Pillar, explains the research;
“Our principal expertise is in human skeletal muscle. Healthy active aging and improving sports performance have a lot in common as far as muscle is concerned. As we age the amount of muscle and lean tissue mass begins to decrease. This can lead to frailty, disability and loss of independence in older adults. Conversely, high performance athletes generally try to increase muscle mass and muscle function that has to recover and adapt quickly to sustain and improve optimal performance. Many of the nutrient and metabolic regulators of these effects on muscle in ageing and performance overlap.”
Can milk, specifically the proteins within milk, help older people and athletes to rebuild their muscle and to recover quickly for the next race, respectively?
“Over the next five years the Healthy Aging and Performance Nutrition research team will be investigating whether milk proteins and their bioactive derivatives have the potential to be of benefit to these two population groups. This is an exciting Health Pillar within the FHI2 programme.  Using a multidisciplinary approach we seek to develop and evaluate a range of naturally produced, milk-based, bioactive ingredients for incorporation into food matrices targeting the area of muscle health“.

Pictured below are UL researchers Prof Phil Jakeman and Prof Dick Fitzgerald

Innovation Convention, a Europe 2020 initiative
The Innovation Convention, described as “a creative collusion of some of the world’s brightest people from across all sectors involved in research, innovation and science” is due to take place in Brussels on the 10th -11th March.

The Innovation Convention is an essential part of the Innovation Union flagship initiate which is the EU strategy that aims to create an innovation-friendly environment. This will enable great ideas to grow into products and services that will bring our economy growth and jobs.

With an expected 2,000 participants, this event will be even bigger and better than before. Participants will get the opportunity to engage in and contribute to the innovation debate with business leaders, top researchers and high- level policy makers as well as gain inspiration from world renowned speakers and great innovation showcases.

For more information please click here.

Latest News
€250,000 up for grabs for Irish Climate Change Pioneers!
Ireland has earned its place in the EU’s Climate Knowledge Innovation Community (Climate-KIC), a knowledge sharing forum which aims to mitigate climate change and associated emerging societal problems. This is the first time an Irish ‘community’ has been selected to join Climate-KIC giving Ireland access to €250,000 in 2014 with potential for further funding between now and 2020.
Ireland has earned its place in the EU’s Climate Knowledge Innovation Community (Climate-KIC), a knowledge sharing forum which aims to mitigate climate change and associated emerging societal problems. This is the first time an Irish ‘community’ has been selected to join Climate-KIC giving Ireland access to €250,000 in 2014 with potential for further funding between now and 2020.

Through an innovative collaboration of Dublin’s clean tech cluster, The Green Way, and Cork’s energy industry network, Energy Cork, a partnership has been formed with the West Midlands Region of Climate KIC. This has resulted in €250,000 being secured to help Irish companies and researchers grow their knowledge of climate change problems and associated opportunities. The Green Way and Energy Cork are now calling for Irish researchers to apply for the first live programme; Pioneers into Practice.

Climate-KIC is the only pan-European network that addresses the climate change challenge and seeks to generate employment opportunities from this area. It brings together academia, industry and individuals to create a community focussed on generating solutions, jobs, products and services.

The programme will accept applications from researchers, entrepreneurs, established businesses and other climate change practitioners. Participants will benefit from placements and exchanges, study visits and training courses.

Welcoming the announcement, Enterprise Ireland CEO Julie Sinnamon said: “Ireland has a fantastic knowledge base and research community in the area of climate change and sustainability. The Green Way and Energy Cork have secured a foot in the door of the most significant climate change partnership across Europe and maximising the cross-European opportunities in this emerging area will bring real benefits for industry in Ireland and generate job opportunities.”

For further information please visit The Green Way or Energy Cork's website.

New business angel food syndicate helps Irish start-up Elivar raise €700,000 investment
Elivar has raised €700,000 from multiple sources including the HBAN food syndicate, Enterprise Ireland and other private investors, to support the ongoing development of its sports nutrition products and brand.

HBAN (Halo Business Angel Network) recently announced that the newly formed business angel Food Syndicate has invested in its first company, Elivar.

Elivar has raised €700,000 from multiple sources including the HBAN food syndicate, Enterprise Ireland and other private investors, to support the ongoing development of its sports nutrition products and brand.

On the back of this investment, Elivar will create ten new jobs by the end of 2015. The positions will be in the areas of food science, production, ecommerce, marketing and finance.

Elivar’s main markets are the UK and Ireland, from where 90% of its current sales emanate. It also exports to Germany, France, Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands and is looking to expand its sales channels across Europe in the coming year.

Elivar was founded in Dublin by Donal Hanrahan and Len Dunne in 2012. It develops a range of sports nutrition products, specifically formulated and tailored for the over 35 age group. Both Donal and Len trained and rowed at an international level in their 20s and now, in their 40s are active in endurance sports. They found that while there is abundance of sports nutrition products that support endurance and recovery for young and elite athletes, there was nothing tailored for the needs of their specific age group, despite having different nutritional needs.

Elivar’s core products have been developed with nutritionists and food scientists to deliver a full nutrition system, providing the correct levels of energy, protein and micro-nutrients to athletes who are over 35.

Donal Hanrahan, founder of Elivar commented on the significance of this investment: “While our initial funding was required to bring Elivar to market, the HBAN Food Syndicate investment also provides us with the active support of some of Ireland’s leading food entrepreneurs. In the long term it is their combined experience which will help us develop Elivar to its fullest potential, as a successful Irish food company operating in a global market place.”

Launch of Enterprise Ireland's Trade Missions Programme 2014

The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore TD and the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD recently launched the year-long programme of ministerial-led events targeting trade and investment for Ireland in 2014.

The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore TD and the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD recently launched the year-long programme of ministerial-led events targeting trade and investment for Ireland in 2014.

The announcement included details of the Government’s St. Patrick’s Day ‘Promote Ireland’ programme of international activity which will see 27 Ministers taking part in over 100 business events and 80 high-level political meetings in 35 cities across 23 countries.

The announcement also included details of Enterprise Ireland's year-long programme of trade missions and international activity for 2014 as well as a major new Enterprise Ireland Market Access Grant Scheme which will help companies succeed more quickly and effectively in new markets.

Kevin Sherry, Head of International Sales and Partnering at Enterprise Ireland, said: ‘‘Exports create and sustain jobs in Ireland and the programme of trade missions and events we have put in place is designed to build on export growth in markets where Irish companies are strong and can continue to grow, as well as high growth markets where we can win new business. Ministerial-led trade missions are a key part of Enterprise Ireland’s strategy to grow Irish export sales and are of great benefit in opening doors, making high-level introductions and helping our client companies to exploit the opportunities that exist in global markets. Year on year Irish companies continue to increase their export sales, and we expect another strong performance in the coming year, supported by Enterprise Ireland and this very intensive programme of international events’.

This year, over 1000 Enterprise Ireland client companies will take part in a series of 118 international events including 18 ministerial-led trade missions to major export markets including North America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. These trade missions and events are a central part of Enterprise Ireland’s drive to support Irish companies seeking to exploit new international business opportunities, target and secure new international customers and grow their sales. These activities are key to helping companies build their export markets, creating and sustaining much-needed jobs in Ireland and further increasing Ireland’s indigenous companies exports from their current record level.

For more information on this announcement please click here.

Enterprising Chief Who Builds Irish Business
by Colm Kelpie, The Irish Independent
Irish Independent interview with Enterprise Ireland CEO, Julie Sinnamon, on how she found taking over from Frank Ryan and her opinions on what the future of the agency has in store.

On the face of it, it's a fairly daunting prospect. You take over at the helm of the agency tasked with helping indigenous Irish companies expand internationally, while job creation and the fostering of business is at the top of the Government's agenda.

And you do it, one assumes, while being conscious, perhaps even haunted, by the legacy of your predecessor who achieved record results during the most difficult economic crisis the state has faced.

Intimidating? Julie Sinnamon doesn't think so.

The new head of Enterprise Ireland (EI) is quick to point out that behind every good man is an equally competent woman.

Frank Ryan's success as Enterprise Ireland's chief executive for the last 10 years may be lauded, but Ms Sinnamon was one of his key lieutenants. And now she's become the semi-state agency's first female chief executive.

"I certainly hope my appointment to the job recognises the role that I played over the last 10 years. I wasn't an idle bystander watching it," she says.

And she should rightly share in that success. Enterprise Ireland, like its sister agency the IDA, has a good story to tell.

In 2012, EI-supported companies achieved record exports, breaking €16bn for the first time, aided by the agency's 30 overseas offices.

Earlier this month, more records were trotted out. Full-time employment levels at these companies are now at their highest since 2007 and total employment is the best in more than a decade.

Who better to continue that success than an insider with an understanding of how to replicate those achievements, and even build on them?

"I don't feel I'm coming in from the cold not having been part of that success," she says.

"For the 10 years that Frank was chief executive, I was operating with him from the very start, leading the change management process within the organisation, the corporate development side and then being responsible for the global business development directorate.

"So the two of us worked extremely closely together and what I'm doing is continuing on that journey and trying to refocus it in terms of addressing the jobs dilemma."

That dilemma isn't a remote one. Like many of the companies it supports, EI has had to do more with less as the economic crisis ravaged the public purse.

An internal audit in the semi-state agency, made public in October, warned there was a serious need to address "the substantial staff losses" arising from the impact of the ban on recruitment and promotions.

The report claimed the agency had lost more than 16pc of its staff since 2009, with the most serious risk to Enterprise Ireland's effective operation being a shortage of employees and skills resulting from continuing losses. The Government has signed off on the recruitment of 20 new staff for its offices in emerging markets, but Ms Sinnamon says the agency will continue to have to make do with less.

"We have lost a significant amount of staff over a period of time. There's corporate memory loss with that and there's also a need to reallocate resources in order to be able address the needs of clients. I see that we will continue to have less staff than we have at present," she says.

"What we need to do is do things differently to respond to that."

EI may be an Irish success story, but it's not without its weaknesses. Irish Stock Exchange chief executive Deirdre Somers put it succinctly recently when she said Ireland's enterprise policy was aimed at start-ups and multinationals.

Essentially, the State may be good at giving a helping hand to companies expanding from a low base, but is it doing enough to replicate the success of global brand names like Kerry Group and Glanbia, that have helped make the Irish food sector so well known internationally?

Ms Sinnamon admits more needs to be done to help develop Irish global companies of scale. "The focus needs to be on not just increasing the amount of start-ups, but on taking the start-ups that we have and really working to scale them from the start. It's building the capabilities within the companies; it's accelerating their market development and growth."

But even on the start-up front, where EI can argue it has achieved considerable success, how easy is it to pick a winner? The agency invests in high potential start-ups, and was hit hard by media reports last year highlighting losses on investments.

"We're encouraging start-up companies but within start-ups there'll be failures as well as successes," she says.

Between 1999 and 2012, while €67m was written off on bad investments, the agency made a profit of €168m on investments in its portfolio of equity start-ups. Proceeds of sales amounted to €375m.

"Not only did we develop a great cohort of new start-up companies, but it returned a significant return in investment to the State. If we are going to encourage people to become entrepreneurs, there will be successes and failures in it, but in the whole we made a profit of €168m on that equity investment," Ms Sinnamon says.

"We need to encourage companies, recognising that they won't all be successes, and the key thing we can do is to get those companies that have failed to start again and learn and give it another go."

The agency is finalising its strategy for the next three years, but Ms Sinnamon remains tight-lipped. As well as developing global scale companies, greater focus on fostering entrepreneurship among firms outside of Dublin is another key priority, she says. Other weaknesses include global sourcing and helping small businesses in public procurement.

"We need to relocate and refocus resources internally to focus on the priority areas. There will be a change process to go through once the board signs off on the strategy, " she says.

"Moving staff around is one thing. It also requires developing skills sets within Enterprise Ireland. We've been successful externally with our clients in introducing lean principles, and a key focus is really to improve the process and effectiveness internally."

One can't help but be impressed by the agency's offices in Dublin's East Point Business Park, into which the agency moved in 2008 under Mr Ryan. Open plan is the dominant theme, and the chief executive isn't cosseted from that. "It's quite exposed," Ms Sinnamon says. "It's not an open-door policy; it's a no-door policy. It really did make a difference in terms of the communication side, and there are areas where people can have meetings.

"Initially, there wasn't a universal view that this was a great thing. It was quite a cultural shock because most people had offices in the other buildings."

She has a "very good relationship" with Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton and has a "high level of interaction" with him. Indeed, they are taking part in the first joint UK-Ireland trade mission this week to Singapore.

It's a demanding agenda for the new chief, who is normally at her desk by about 7.15am and spends many evenings "networking".

The role requires a diverse skills base, part diplomat and politician, with a deft ability to navigate the corporate world.

Asked if she was given any advice before taking on the job, she gives what I believe initially to be the rather banal reply about being true to herself. But she has a point.

"You can very often be pulled in all directions and the buck stops with me and I have to make a call that I think is right. You have to be able to understand what the stakeholders need," she says.

Then there is the pressure of being a top female chief executive, or at least, I believe it might be a pressure. Ms Sinnamon doesn't seem to think so. "Because there are less females . . . the impact of role models on females is very strong and I'm certainly conscious of the fact that other females are looking, as are other men."

When it's suggested other women must have been pleased with her appointment, she says: "My appointment was equally well received by men who have daughters and would like to see that there is career progression across the board based on merit."

Please note this article was originally published in The Irish Independent on the 13th of February 2014 and can be accessed here.

Getting the job done – and getting the funding
by Dick Ahlstrom, The Irish Times
Irish Times interview with Director of the National Support Network for Horizon 2020, Imelda Lambkin, on how she and her team in Enterprise Ireland, plan to help researchers and businesses secure the ambitious target of €1.25billion in funding from Horizon2020.

Irish researchers are going to secure €1.25 billion from the EU’s new research budget, dubbed Horizon 2020, or Dr Imelda Lambkin will want to know why. She will be overseeing the effort to achieve this target and is fully confident we will be successful.

This may seem optimistic, given that this level of funding more than doubles the €600 million drawn down from the previous budget, Framework Programme 7 (FP7), but the unit Dr Lambkin runs has a track record that suggests the job will get done.

The Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation set the target in consultation with the National Support Network for FP7 and the Higher Level Group on Horizon 2020. The latter includes representatives of the country’s major research funding bodies. So now the board is set and it is up to Lambkin and her 30-strong team to move the pieces.

With FP7 nearly at an end, Dr Lambkin’s group is now called the National Support Network for Horizon 2020 run by Enterprise Ireland. She can cite many reasons why it is important to tap into the fund – supporting Irish researchers, building our reputation for good science, helping companies innovate – but she does not include among them a quick substitute for diminished national funding.

State funds flowing into research over more than a decade helped to build the research system as we have it and now we can go after grants and be much more internationally competitive and successful as a result, she says. “Pursuing Horizon 2020 funding is definitely not a substitute for national investment in research. The national spend will have an additive effect in winning grants. This is something seen across Europe.”

She does not ignore the impact of the depressed economy. The recession has slowed down the possibility of increased funding from the State, but you need a mix of sources, she argues. “Your funding must be diversified.”

In fact, she adds, the EU research budget was designed as a response to the recession and economic crisis and, while Ireland’s own research budget saw no increase, equally it saw no cuts.

Horizon 2020 represents a major opportunity, she believes. “It is becoming increasingly important that we use the programme carefully and effectively and, based on the national activity to date, we have never been in a better position to make use of this programme.”

The scope of the programme means though that the reliance on talented individuals to seek out and win grants is no longer enough. “What we are looking for in Horizon 2020 is a real scale increase.”

Things are different given the greatly expanded research capacity of the system here. There are new research centres and clusters and there is a heavy involvement of companies in the research mix. The centres can now bid to lead projects, supporting these bids by involving research leaders with an established reputation. “They don’t have to rely on individuals, the centres need to drive the strategy knowing they can compete internationally.”

Company involvement in the chase for Horizon 2020 funds must also be there. Ireland did well in this regard during FP7, she says, with €120 million of the €600 million – 20 per cent – going to small to medium enterprises. “The commission wanted 15 per cent and we have always been ahead of that.” Horizon 2020 is going to be “even more industrially relevant” with a 20 per cent target, she says.

While the SMEs have engaged well, though, Ireland’s largest firms have ignored involvement, the very companies with the in-house resources to become project leader. The Kerry Group, for example, is investing €100 million in a research centre “but has no history of interaction with the Framework budgets”, Lambkin says. Many large companies here believe they are near to market and not research oriented, “but companies do need to participate and will benefit from doing so. The bigger companies couldn’t see how to use it but things have changed.”

Non-participation isn’t an option, however, not for a country that wants to build a reputation for world-class science, Dr Lambkin maintains. “International participation is the best way to show you are world class and doing excellent research. It is very good quality control on your research investment.”

Being a project leader carries more of a cache and gives that partner more influence and control over the project. Winning the highly coveted European Research Council grants also shows you have got something special. “It shows your potential, it is another DNA marker for capability. It is a benchmarking of what we have achieved from the research investment,” she says.

Yet it cuts both ways. “If you have world- class researchers but no European Research Council grants, the rest of the world will be saying why is that.” For this reason, greater efforts are being made to get Irish researchers over the line as project leaders and for ERC grants.

Please note this article was originally posted in The Irish Times on the 3rd of February 2014 and can be accessed here.

Minister Bruton announces €75million second Development Capital Fund
Pictured L-R: Julie Sinnamon, CEO, Enterprise Ireland, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD and Sinead Heaney, Founding Director of the BDO Development Capital Fund
The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, recently launched a €75 million fund under the Development Capital Scheme, to support established Irish companies targeting significant revenue and jobs growth through export markets.
The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, recently launched a €75 million fund under the Development Capital Scheme, to support established Irish companies targeting significant revenue and jobs growth through export markets.  

The  BDO  Development  Capital  Fund,  which will be managed by Development Capital,  a  100%  subsidiary  of  BDO,  will invest development and growth capital  in established, mid-sized and profitable companies to support and accelerate  their  export  growth  plans.  It  breaks  new  ground  for  an enterprise  investment  fund which in addition to an experienced investment team  brings together a blue chip partnership of large Irish corporates and industry  experts  who,  together with Enterprise Ireland, will provide not only funding but also the necessary experience, expertise and international reach  to  assist  secure  business  growth  opportunities.  The corporate partners to the fund include Bank of Ireland, CRH plc, Glanbia plc and Glen Dimplex.

In  addition  to  the  corporate  partners the investee companies will have access  to  proven  industry  experts who have created, grown and developed Irish  companies  into  international  success  stories. Target  companies  for  investment  will  be  Irish  and  have  significant opportunities  for  jobs  and  export  growth.  Typically companies will be mid-sized, with high-growth potential and annual turnover of €15million to €50million.  Based on the current growth opportunities it is likely that the majority of investments will come from the food and agri; life sciences and clean tech; ICT/software and industrial/engineering sectors.

Minister Sherlock Opens the APT Technology Gateway in Athlone Insititute of Technology
Séan Sherlock, Minister for Research & Innovation, officially opened the Applied Polymer Technology (APT) Gateway in Athlone Institute of Technology recently. The Gateway is one of a network of 12 Gateways funded by Enterprise Ireland. The Gateway will be located within AIT and focus on all aspects of polymer research.
Séan Sherlock, Minister for Research & Innovation, officially opened the Applied Polymer Technology (APT) Gateway in Athlone Institute of Technology recently. The Gateway is one of a network of 12 Gateway’s funded by Enterprise Ireland. The Gateway will be located within AIT and focus on all aspects of polymer research.

Each of the 12 Gateways in the Technology Gateway programme delivers technology solutions for industry through innovative collaborative projects. The Gateways provide an open access point for industry providing technology expertise which is industry relevant.  The Gateways are regionally based and act as a portal to the nationwide expertise in the Technology Gateway Network and the wider Irish Research Infrastructure.

The APT Gateway was officially opened at the All-Ireland New Technology Forum & Society of Plastics Engineers Annual Conference in Athlone recently. The conference was co-hosted by Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) and Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT), in association with IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, Plastics Ireland and IBEC.

There is a national imperative to support, sustain and create jobs in high value technology industries in Ireland by attracting investment, developing new products and processes and new routes to market. This conference, titled “From Convergence, via Translation, to the Bottom Line - Building Plastics into the Future”, provides regional Irish industry with a unique networking opportunity with global industry leaders to explore new routes to higher profit margins through niche technological advances and new, sustainable, higher value market opportunities. Applied research institutes, such as WIT and AIT, will act as the conduit for these new technology challenges to be realised.

Over the course of the two day conference in Athlone and Waterford, world key opinion leaders and champions of global industry participated in a technical forum where there was major debate and audience participation from more than 400 engineering and science professionals from regional SMEs in the medical device, pharmaceutical, green technology, composites and plastics processing industries.

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International Trade Events Programme 2014
St. Patrick's Day "Promote Ireland" Programme
The St. Patrick’s Day period is a cornerstone of the Government’s efforts to promote trade, tourism, inward-investment and culture abroad in order to foster economic growth and job creation in Ireland. 

This year will see 27 Ministers visiting more than 35 cities in 23 countries across Europe, the Americas, Asia and the Middle East for a series of trade, tourism and investment-focused programmes. Ministers will take part in hundreds of business events and dozens of high-level political meetings as part of an intensive “Promote Ireland” programme, including bilateral meetings with President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron.

Trade and Research Mission, 8 April 2014, Brussels
Featured Article
1850 new jobs to be created over next three years by 122 High Potential Start Up companies
Minister for Jobs, Richard Bruton, TD, recently announced that 1850 jobs will be created over the next three years by 122 High Potential Start-Up (HPSU) companies. The HPSUs are supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through Enterprise Ireland.

Minister for Jobs, Richard Bruton, TD, recently announced that 1850 jobs will be created over the next three years by 122 High Potential Start-Up (HPSU) companies. The HPSUs are supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through Enterprise Ireland.

Minister Bruton was speaking at the showcase of the HPSU class of 2013 which took place in Dublin Castle. The Minister announced the results of the Enterprise Ireland High Potential Start Ups programme 2013, which showed that:
• 1850 new jobs will be created over the next three years by 122 HPSU companies
• 103 new HPSU companies received investments from Enterprise Ireland during 2013, the highest number of new HPSUs supported during a single year and ahead of target
• 41 female-led HPSU projects won investments during 2013, a major rise from 16 in 2012, as a number of women-specific initiatives showed results
• 2013 also saw a rise in the number of overseas entrepreneurs setting up their businesses in Ireland, and overseas projects represent 15% of the HPSU class of 2013

The showcase also features the 85 early stage projects supported during the year under Enterprise Ireland’s Competitive Start Funds, and representatives from the 2013 New Frontiers entrepreneur development programme.

Speaking at the showcase, Lisa Vaughan, Enterprise Ireland Head of High Potential Start Ups and Scaling said: “The Action Plan for Jobs gives a clear mandate to Enterprise Ireland to drive entrepreneurship and new business start-ups. 2013 was a very strong year with many highlights, including the big increase in female led start ups and the strong showing of new start ups from overseas and spin-outs from Irish Universities and Institutes of Technology.

“All the companies here today have the potential to grow rapidly and become significant exporters. These companies play a really significant part in stimulating local economies and employment. The push now must be to help these young companies to realise their full potential to achieve significant scale and become major international businesses in markets across the globe”.

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