Breen praises SME challenges
TRADE and Employment Minister Pat Breen yesterday called for up to 10 new Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) competitive challenges.
The competitive challenges are aimed at driving collaboration between Irish public-sector bodies and innovative SMEs to identify solutions to specific public-sector needs.
Expressions of interest specific to Irish Public Bodies will open in October 2017, with Enterprise Ireland co-funding up to €500,000 which has been made available to cover the challenges.
So far this year, Enterprise Ireland has successfully managed the launch of seven SBIR challenges, including a call to find solutions to wildlife activity around Dublin Airport’s runways, and a call by Irish Rail to develop a preventative warning system against railway bridge strikes.
“The SBIR process is a fantastic initiative, facilitating competitions that enable innovation-led businesses to connect with public sector bodies to provide ideas and solutions to challenges facing the public sector,” Mr Breen said at an Enterprise Ireland conference.
The Minister added that the processes allowed for improved efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of public services that provide greater value-for-money outcomes.
Enterprise Ireland CEO Julie Sinnamon said the collaboration would harness innovative ideas and develop unique solutions which would have “positive economic and societal benefits”.