19/02/2010

Small Businesses Get 'Secure' Opportunity

An innovation that is being billed as a unique business opportunity for Small & Medium Enterprises, (SMEs) and the civil security industry across all of Ireland has been launched.

InterTradeIreland, in association with the European INNOVATOR programme and the Centre for Irish and European Security has developed a new pilot initiative, the Innovation Connections Programme to help 60 SMEs to take advantage of the unmet and future needs of the civil security market.

Through the programme, companies will participate in two-day workshops in Cork, Galway, Dublin and Newry where they will be guided through pre-identified business opportunities and shown how they can develop new products, processes and services to avail of the opportunities in this high growth market.

The sector, which is estimated to be worth in excess of €26 billion in Europe, represents a significant business opportunity for SMEs as the combination of heavy market regulation and ongoing threats to societal security creates demand for new products and services. Now, based on in-depth end-user research into the sector across the island, InterTradeIreland has uncovered 15 new business opportunities to help SMEs break into this untapped growth market.

New business opportunities have been identified in areas such as - communications, intelligent software, digital media, architectural design, intelligent lighting and signage systems, dangerous substances, access control / security systems, sensor detection and surveillance technology.

Minister for Trade and Commerce Billy Kelleher welcomed the initiative and the opportunities: "Ireland's ambition is to become a world leader in innovation. To achieve this we must continue to deliver demand-led innovative products and services as well as developing skills for innovation, new organisational structures and new business models. InterTradeIreland’s Innovation Connections Programme will set out to prove the benefits of a user-centred approach to innovation.

"It is an approach that has the potential to create new business growth opportunities and enable Ireland’s SMEs to develop their capabilities and compete, not only across the island, but also in Europe and throughout the world," he said.

Also speaking at the launch event, InterTradeIreland Director Aidan Gough said the programme was a novel approach: "Our Innovation connections programme reverses traditional methods to building innovation in SMEs.

"With conventional R&D models, products and services are developed and then market tested, however, using an unmet needs approach the end-users unmet and future requirements are identified first and used to develop the required products and services. While the pilot initiative focuses on the civil security sector the model can be applied in many different sectors across the island – innovation has no boundaries." he explained.

(BMcC/GK)

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