The Innovation for Competitive Enterprises (ICE) is on course to increase its participant company turnover by over €56 million, generate 300 new jobs and take nearly 40 companies into new export sales when it is completed.
This evidence has emerged from an independent evaluation of the unique ‘learning by doing’ ICE Programme model of how to build innovation capability and capacity in small to medium sized businesses in this region.
The Innovation for Competitive Enterprises (ICE) Programme was developed and is being led by Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) in partnership with the University of Ulster, the University of Glasgow and Glasgow Caledonian University.
The Programme is funded by the Interreg IVA Programme for Ireland, Northern Ireland and Western Scotland, which is administered by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). Team BDS, a company who specialise in providing strategic Innovation support to companies in Ireland and the UK were chosen as the delivery partner.
ICE Programme Manager Kieran Fegan commented ‘ICE has easily beaten the targets set for it by the funder SEUPB. For example, the targets for the number of new products and processes introduced, the number of companies increasing turnover
and the number increasing export sales have all been exceeded by a factor of 4 or
more already prior to programme completion’
Kieran continues ‘ICE has been good value for money too with a direct cost per job created or safeguarded of just €4500. If the reduction in state benefits arising from the increase in employment from the Programme was taken into account, the net cost to the state would be negative’ Kieran was also keen to acknowledge the support of the regional development agencies such as Enterprise Ireland, IntertradeIreland and Invest Northern Ireland.
Donegal based company Inishowen Engineering participated on the ICE Programme. Through the programme, the company, during a period of strong Irish and global recession achieved significant gains over the period.
Inishowen implemented a new selling process/model which included quicker tendering turnaround. Quotations turnaround time was reduced to single figure days.
A full set of KPI for sales and marketing were generated and are now part of the company’s sales management process.
Accordingly the company has exceeded its expectations in terms of sales increases and sales from new customers. Overall sales have increased significantly over the period and this trend is continuing.
DKIT estimates - based on the companies own views but adjusted for the growth which would have been likely to happen in any case and for company optimism - that the increase in turnover attributable to the Programme is likely to be in excess of €56 million. For the average company participating this is an increase in turnover of €625,000 due to participation in the ICE Programme. If these estimates are realised in full when the Programme is completed, the three participating regions
will have gained over €56 million additional economic activity for an investment by the EU and by the state of just €2.5 million.