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Meanwhile, our market-focused seminars aim to help SMEs learn about trends and opportunities in specific markets.
Accessing F&B contacts in the UK Market
In November 2014 the EEN took a small delegation to the Food Matters Live conference/trade show and brokerage event in London. Feedback from the show and the brokerage event was excellent and overall between the 8 Irish participants, 43 pre-booked meetings were held, with some potential partnerships already emerging.
“The organisation involved was at the highest possible level. Prior to the event, the EEN support was excellent. Katherine initially published / registered our company profiles on the Food Matters Live website and it was just up to us to change anything and then organise our meetings. I found both the meetings and seminars really valuable and I never got as much value from previous events. From a start-up point of view, I found my engagement with the other companies on the trip very helpful in terms sharing experiences. It is always fantastic to connect with other companies and build a network of people to reach out to.
Overall I feel that I have gained some really valuable insights and contacts in terms of packaging, food trends, ingredients, manufacturing processes, consumers. At the match-making event I made one really important contact, who I have identified as a potential strategic partner, in terms of accessing markets in the UK. I also enjoyed meeting two ingredients companies. One of whom I hope to visit in his lab in January to work on some indulgent flavours from my product range.”
(Evie Flynn, Fullfill Dairy)
Access to Finance Series, Autumn 2013
In Autumn 2013, the EEN hosted a very successful seminar series on Access to Finance. The aim of the series was to invite expert speakers to explain and clarify what kind of funding was on offer for SMEs, and the criteria around how to apply for the various types of finance. The series received widespread media attention regionally and nearly 200 clients in total attended one or more of the events in the series, during which direct introductions between SMEs and finance providers were made.
At the 6-month follow-up stage, 25% of a sample group of attendees stated that they made funding applications within 6 months of attending the series. At the 12-month follow-up stage, all respondents to the feedback survey agreed that the events had helped improve their knowledge of the subject area to some extent. One quarter of respondents said they had made applications for EU funding (all still pending responses!), at least one client had made a bid for VC funding and nearly half of the respondents had made state agency funding applications, of which 3 were successful. Over 60% of respondents said that they were planning to make an application for financing in the next 6-12 months.
Identifying financial supports
Rewrite Science was founded by John O'Donoghue and it is an organisation dedicated to bringing science and technology out of the lab and into everyday life. It has numerous publications aimed at research, technology and innovation (Walton Magazine), science history (Where the Irish Spoke of Chemistry), a website specialising in science and technology news (Rewritescience.com) and a children’s science and technology book with experiments to do at home (Junior Scientist). John attended the 'Access to Finance Series' in Autumn 2013.
"Prior to attending the 'Access to Finance Series', I knew a little bit about finance from online research but there were some areas that I didn't know anything about at all, especially in terms of taxation. Attending the seminar allowed me rule out what we were not eligible for and more importantly, identify what supports we could be eligible for.
At the seminar, I learned about Enterprise Ireland's New Frontiers Programme and about InterTradeIreland supports which I did not previously know about. I subsequently applied for a place on the New Frontiers Programme in CIT and am working on growing and developing the business further. I completed Phases 1,2, and 3 of the New Frontiers Programme and we are about to finish the programme. The programme gave us the opportunity to identify new revenue streams and a bit of leeway to do things that we wouldn't have otherwise done, such as the hugely succesful 'NASA Space Apps Challenge', which we ran in April 2014. I work full-time at Rewrite Science and three others work part-time. We are hoping to run the 'NASA Space Apps Challenge' again in 2015 and we will be recruiting extra staff for running the event. We are currently speaking to InterTradeIreland and are exploring cross-border collaboration with some educational institutes in Northern Ireland."
(John O'Donoghue, Rewrite Science)
Irish and UK construction-sector SMEs create a Partnership via the EEN
In 2011, the Enterprise Europe Network branches in Cork and East Midlands organised a mission focused on the "Benefits of Doing Business in Ireland". The Enterprise Europe Network centres organised one-to-one business meetings between the participating Irish and UK companies. Cork-based Brian Noel Parkes Builders and Nottinghamshire-based Banbury Innovations (then operating as Creative Architectural Mouldings Ltd.) had a meeting during this mission. Since the initial meeting at the brokerage event, the two companies have gone on to found a joint venture partnership, Build-lite UK which would manufacture an insulated foundation product branded as “Future Found”, based in Rotherham, UK.
Brian Noel Parkes Builders and Build-lite UK Ltd. supply the technical design and expertise for the product, alongside sales and marketing. Meanwhile, Build-lite UK fabricates the product, a tested and proven insulated foundation system for housing which allows house builders to lay foundations and floors in 3 days with a 50% saving on labour and materials. With the “Future Found” system, homeowners save on heating bills. "Future Found" fabrication at Build-lite UK has seen employment grow from 3 employees to 9 employees, while technical design at Brian Noel Parkes Builders has grown from one to two people. "Future Found" profits are shared on a 50:50 basis between Build-lite UK and Brian Parkes Builders. The sales from “Future Found" have generated construction opportunities for both Build-lite UK for Brian Noel Parkes Builders.