Enterprise-led innovation scheme seeks to lend helping hand to Irish SMEsBlathnaid O’Deaon February 17, 2022 at 10:13 Silicon RepublicSilicon Republic


A new enterprise-led initiative called The Innovation Exchange has been set up with the aim of connecting Irish SMEs with global businesses facing digital challenges. It aims to address the barriers that exist for small companies engaging with multinationals.

A collaboration between Skillnet Ireland and Dublin Business Innovation Centre (BIC), the Innovation Exchange aims to support up to 300 small businesses this year. It was piloted in 2021, and it is due to be rolled out nationwide following a Government investment of €5m.

Current participants include multinationals Glanbia and IBM, as well as SMEs Tigim, Empeal and Buymedia.

The project aims to provide mutual benefits to both SMEs and large, multinational organisations. Participating SMEs will have access to new markets, while global businesses will be able to leverage Irish talent in areas of digital transformation, such as artificial intelligence and robotics across key sectors including energy, food, travel, health, education, human resources, logistics and compliance.

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Simon Harris is to launch the scheme today (17 February) at the Guinness Enterprise Centre in Dublin.

Michael Culligan, CEO, Dublin BIC, described The Innovation Exchange as “an ambitious initiative for ambitious businesses.”

“By developing the structures and processes to make innovation partnerships work, The Innovation Exchange will see Irish SMEs bring their ground-breaking solutions to some of the largest corporate businesses in Ireland. Not only does this relationship offer solutions to multinational businesses, but it has the ability to help SMEs in charting a course toward expansion, scale and success,” he said.

Paul Healy, chief executive of Skillnet Ireland said the scheme perfectly captured “the spirit of collaboration that lies within the Irish business ecosystem.”

“As a talent development agency, Skillnet Ireland is committed to supporting businesses at both ends of the scale… Through the Innovation Exchange, and in partnership with Dublin BIC, we are connecting ambitious SME leaders with some of the leading global organisations based in Ireland with the common goal of boosting innovation and competitiveness,” Healy added. He has long believed that Irish SMEs should invest in skills in order to future-proof their businesses.

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