Tuesday, 22 October, 2013
The VITAL project was launched at Narrow Water Castle on the shores of Carlingford Lough on October 22. The event featured a range of presentations overviewing the programme and discussing a range of relevant topics.
Kieran Fegan, Director of the VITAL project based in the Regional Development Centre, says; “VITAL has the potential to act as a catalyst for economic growth in the border region which has struggled partly due to geographic isolation and remoteness”
“It is an entirely new approach to pump-priming the border and rural economies of both jurisdictions,” says Mr Fegan.
“We will identify and evaluate a pool of ideas from many sources which are currently being researched and harvested and we will then identify SMEs, seasoned entrepreneurs and experienced managers with the skills and knowledge to bring those ideas onto a commercial platform through their existing businesses or their new business starts,” he continued. We want to hear from individuals from throughout the region and beyond who believe they have good ideas and who don’t have the time, expertise, knowledge and networks to make them happen.
The VITAL initiative will match these ideas to SMEs and seasoned entrepreneurs and then provide assistance with fast tracking where appropriate, the route to market through one-to-one mentoring, consultancy, access to market knowledge and priming funding if required.
Welcoming the project Lorraine McCourt, Director with the Special EU Programmes Body, said; “This is a truly innovative cross-border project which bridges the gap from that great business idea to its practical implementation. It will provide a holistic suite of business support interventions and tailored training opportunities that will enhance the competitiveness of all participating companies”.
The project offers access to technology transfer and licencing opportunities and Dundalk Institute of Technology is partnering with Dublin City University and Queen’s University of Belfast whose access to intellectual property provides a valuable additional resource to the service.
“The VITAL project makes available the intellectual property (IP) of inventors to grow the SME base and it also makes available existing IP held by the three educational establishments which has the potential to gives talented technology entrepreneurs access to new evaluated opportunities” says Mr Fegan. “We are looking for seasoned entrepreneurs who are looking for new opportunities to get in touch with us. We are also calling on SME owner managers to get involved”
This project has been supported by the European Union’s INTERREG IVA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body