Innovation funding for small Irish food companies announced

DETAILS of innovation funding for small Irish companies in the food industry were announced yesterday by Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Minister Brendan Smith.

Innovation vouchers worth €5,000 each are available to all small companies in the food sector over the next six weeks. The deadline for applications is August 20.

Mr Smith said these vouchers are the push that many small Irish food companies need to explore how innovation can change their business for the better, be it through new product development or the improvement of existing processes.

“The success of the vouchers to-date is due to the simplicity of the initiative. Participating companies get excellent value for money from the research teams working in the 40 institutes providing their expertise and knowledge, both in Ireland and in Northern Ireland,” he said. Mr Smith urged small companies in the Irish food industry to see how a little knowledge can make a huge difference to their bottom line and to apply immediately.

Enterprise Ireland manage initiative which offers small companies €5,000 to obtain an innovative solution to a technical or business challenge from a Higher Education Institute in Ireland or Northern Ireland, known as ‘knowledge providers’.

Beverage, bakery and food technology, including animal feed producers, can apply, as can consumer food companies.

Dairy and functional foods and the primary meat sectors including those involved in the processing of beef, lamb and pigmeat, the by-products of all meat processing and those involved in the bloodstock industry can also apply.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Conor Lenihan said the initiative has been up and running since 2007. Through funding provided by the department it has already helped over 1,000 small companies in Ireland to find a research partner who can solve some of their business challenges.

The decision by Mr Smith to provide funding for a call for proposals dedicated to the food sector is most welcome, he said.


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