Murphy – “Innovation is central to increasing productivity”

Date published: 28 March 2024

Economy Minister Conor Murphy has highlighted the importance of innovation in driving higher productivity.

Innovate NI
Economy Minister Conor Murphy pictured in Invest NI's North West Regional Office in Derry with businesses that have benefitted from engaging with Innovate NI.

The Minister was speaking today as he met with representatives from Innovate NI, and with local businesses who have received their support.

Innovate NI is a Department for the Economy initiative, delivered by Invest Northern Ireland, in partnership with local councils, further education colleges and other stakeholders. The goal is to increase the number of Northern Ireland businesses engaged in innovation and it has supported over 1,700 businesses to date.

Minister Murphy said:

“I have identified the need to increase productivity as one of my strategic priorities. There is a clear link between innovation and productivity. I want to see more of our home-grown businesses innovating and ultimately become more productive. Innovate NI is a great means for guiding any business on their innovation journey, no matter if they are a start-up or mature business, in tech, tourism or retail.

“A little guidance can go a long way to ensure that businesses can create commercial value out of their ideas. The support landscape can be difficult to navigate with businesses not knowing where best to get support. Innovate NI can provide that signposting, advice and support for businesses all across the north.”

Innovate NI seeks to assist businesses in creating new products or developing new ways of operating. Open to businesses of any size and in any sector, Innovate NI offers advice, guidance, mentoring, and signposting to other support measures or sources of funding.

After receiving support, businesses with an innovative project receive an Innovation Recognition to raise awareness of their innovation capability to other businesses, customers or investors.

Vicky Kell, Invest NI Director of Innovation, Research and Development, said:

“In the fast-changing landscape of business, investing in research and development (R&D) and innovation is not merely a choice; it is a strategic necessity to achieve sustained growth and competitiveness.

“Innovation is everything from refining products, to changing processes to make them more efficient, to investing in more complex R&D to develop a new product. Whatever form it takes, innovation is crucial to securing a business’s future.

“Knowing where to start can sometimes be the biggest challenge. Innovate NI can help a business get the guidance and support its needs to overcome this barrier.”

Eimear Callaghan, Head of Experience and Industry Development at Tourism NI, who met with the Minister in Derry, said:

“Tourism NI is delighted to partner with Innovate NI to help drive innovation within the tourism sector. The inaugural Innovate Tourism initiative connected tourism businesses with a complementary range of business support and advice available from both organisations. Since launching in the Everglades Hotel in Derry in January, over 25 tourism businesses have engaged with Innovate NI and have received recognition.

“Innovation is key to thriving in the ever-evolving tourism landscape. Innovate Tourism is designed to give tourism businesses practical tools to embed innovation practices, to robustly test concepts and ultimately to continue creating authentic and immersive experiences that will delight our visitors. Quite simply, innovation will drive a competitive tourism destination and grow jobs across our region.”

Dympna Coster, CEO of Barnn Skincare Ltd said:

“We have been liaising with Innovate NI to assist us in securing funding to carry out stability testing on our goat's milk topical cream. Having showcased at several large events and gaining huge interest in this product, we now need financial support to get us export ready. Innovate NI pointed us in the right direction and are keen to ensure our branding is ready for export markets. As a small business we need support to allow us to adapt and grow and we are grateful for the help and advice from Innovate NI and look forward to a successful partnership as we continue to grow.”

Donna Lynch, owner of Wellness Wave Solutions, spoke about her support from Innovate NI:

“Innovate NI worked with us to provide advice and guidance through telephone support and online face-to-face consultation. The consultation process has provided our company with the knowledge, understanding and courage to continue with our product idea.

“Innovate NI have guided our product which started as an idea and through their help we engaged with North West Regional College Design Centre in Limavady where a prototype is currently coming to the end of production. Innovate NI also introduced us to Medicines Optimisation Innovation Centre and C-TRIC research centre for trials while keeping in contact to inform us of any potential funding that maybe applicable to us.”

More information is available at the InnovateNI website.

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