skip to main content
Representatives of partner agency representatives from across Northern Ireland Ireland and Scotland
View all news

Co-Innovate Programme Achievements Celebrated at Closing Event

2 Mar 2023

A celebratory event was held to mark the close of the Interreg funded Co-Innovate programme in Killeavy Castle Estate, Newry, on Tuesday 28th February. The event gathered together partner agency representatives from across Northern Ireland, Ireland and Scotland to celebrate the programme’s key achievements and showcased some of the 1,400 companies that have benefitted to date.

Since its inception, the programme, which received €19.6m from the European Union's INTERREG VA Programme and is managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), has supported over 1,400 businesses in Northern Ireland, the Border Region of Ireland, and Western Scotland.

The event was attended by the Northern Ireland Deputy Permanent Secretary Shane Murphy and joining by video address was Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Simon Coveney T.D as well as Richard Lochead, Scottish Minister for Just Transition, Employment and Fair Work followed by CEO of Scottish Enterprise, Adrian Gillespie. As a key funder for the Co-Innovate Programme, Gina McIntyre, Chief Executive of the Special EU programmes Body (SEUPB) also addressed the event to support all the partners involved in the delivery as well mark the projects key achievements. Businesses taking part in the programme, as well as key delivery partners attended the event and listened to key insights and experiences of keynote speaker, Brody Sweeney, founder of Camille Thai and former CEO of O'Brien's Sandwich Bars, from his 25 year career.

The initiative was founded with the aim of increasing the number of firms participating in cross-border and interregional research projects. Participating businesses benefited from innovation workshops, business health checks, innovation audits, sectoral networks, project management placements and one-to-one expert mentoring. Delivery of the programme was led by InterTradeIreland, in partnership with Enterprise Northern Ireland, East Border Region, Local Enterprise Offices in the border region, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

Shane Murphy, Deputy Permanent Secretary from the Department for the Economy NI said:

“The Co-Innovate Programme has supported our SMEs through encouraging new partnerships between business and relevant research institutions, and enabling them to work towards turning innovative thinking into tangible results. It is clear to see that much can be achieved by working together.

I was delighted to attend the Co-Innovate event to acknowledge the achievements of the Programme and its participants is an opportunity to remind ourselves of the terrific work that can be done where interventions encourage positive support, partnering and innovation.”

Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Simon Coveney, TD said:

"I would like to thank everyone that was involved in the Co-Innovate programme. This programme, led by InterTradeIreland in partnership with agencies from Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland, has had a tremendous impact, supporting over 1,400 SMEs and micro-businesses.

The success of Co-Innovate can be attributed both to the businesses that have benefitted and the hard work of the partner agencies. By working together, the partners were able to harness their knowledge of their respective regions to ensure that the project achieved its goals.

Their success helps to show the benefits of the continued collaboration on this island and beyond.”

Speaking at the Co-Innovate Celebration event, Gina McIntyre, Chief Executive Officer of the Special EU Programmes Body, said:

“The region has been characterised by low-levels of development and innovation, but this EU INTERREG VA project has gone a long way to address these concerns. It is clear from the results of Co-innovate just how effective the project has been. The small businesses involved have participated in cross-border partnerships involving transnational or interregional projects. Companies have been given a pathway to open their doors to collaboration, development and innovation across the Programme area. I am delighted to see such noticeable results which will in turn drive economic growth and prosperity across the region allowing it to become more competitive and profitable on an international stage.”

Margaret Hearty, Chief Executive at InterTradeIreland, said:

“The success of the Co-Innovate Programme can be attributed not only to the businesses that have benefitted but also the partner agencies that formed part of the Co-Innovate partnership.

This event provided an opportunity to celebrate the amazing achievements of the Co-Innovate Programme and hear from the companies who have benefitted from the support, whether that be through the value of a dedicated project manager, support for an innovative idea, a solution to an industry problem or a clear project plan to drive a culture of innovation throughout the organisation. I have no doubt that this culture of innovation and collaboration is now embedded in these SMEs and that it will continue to push them through their innovation journey.”

Share This Page
Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now