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Regional Development Centre

the link Ionad Forbartha RĂŠigiĂşnach

Issue THIRTEEN winter 2013

ICE Melts The Innovation Benchmarking Survey 2013 VITAL Ideas Connected to Business Honeycomb Launched Where Research & Innovation Meets Enterprise

Réamhrá / Foreword Ag druidim dúinn ar dheireadh 2013, is tráthúil athbhreathnú a

As 2013 draws to a close it is time to reflect on the year gone

dhéanamh ar an bhliain seo chaite agus freisin súil a thabhairt

by and also to look forward to the next. We are experiencing

ar an gceann seo chugainn. Tá soirbheachas á mhothú go

a real sense of optimism through our activities in the RDC

mór againn tríd ár n-imeachtaí san RDC. San eagrán seo den

and in this issue of the Link we unveil two new industry

LINK táimid ag nochtadh dhá chlár nua thacaíocht tionscail

support programmes (Honeycomb and Vital) which were

(Honeycomb and Vital) a seoladh le roinnt seachtain anuas.

launched in the past few weeks. Honeycomb will continue

Leanfaidh Honeycomb an traidisiún fada a thugann tacaíocht

our long tradition of providing tailored support to the creative

ar leith don earnáil chruthaitheach agus beidh VITAL dírithe

sector and VITAL will focus on matching validated business

ar dheiseanna gnó deimhnithe a chomhoiriúnú le fiontraithe

opportunities with seasoned entrepreneurs and SMEs.

atá ar an bhfód le fada agus le gnóthais bheaga agus mheánmhéide.

We also reflect on the achievements of the Innovation for Competitive Enterprises (ICE) and the Accelerating Campus

Beimid ag machnamh freisin ar na cláir, Nuálaíocht do Fhiontair

Entrepreneurship (ACE) programmes.

Iomaíocha (ICE) agus Treisiú Fhiontraíocht Champais (ACE). There has been unprecedented demand for incubation, Bhí éileamh thar cuimse i rith an 12 mhí seo chaite ar

technology transfer and enterprise development supports

thacaíocht do ghor, d’aistriú teicneolaíochta agus d’fhorbairt

over the past 12 months and in this issue we also profile some

fiontair. San eagrán seo cuirtear síos freisin ar roinnt d’ár

of our incubation companies and New Frontiers Programme

gcuideachtaí goir agus ar chomhpháirtithe an Chláir


Teorainneacha Nua. Finally, I’d like to take this opportunity on behalf of all the staff Mar fhocal scoir, ba mhaith liom, thar cheann foireann uile an

of the RDC to wish you a merry and peaceful Christmas and a

RDC, Nollaig shona agus shíochánta a ghuí oraibh agus Ath-

very happy and prosperous New Year.

Bhliain faoi shéan agus faoi mhaise. Irene McCausland Irene McCausland

External Services Manager, RDC.

Bainisteoir Seirbhísí Seachtracha,IFR. We hope you enjoy this edition of The Link. If you have any Tá súil againn go mbainfidh tú taitneamh as eagrán seo The

comment or suggestions regarding content, or would like to be

Link. Má tá tuairimí nó moltaí agat maidir le hábhar, nó más

included on the mailing list, please e-mail

mian leat bheith ar an liosta póstála, cuir rphost led thoil chuig

Cover Photo Staff of the RDC arrive at Dublin Castle for the ICE Conference (Pg 6 & 7) The Regional Development Centre (RDC) is a centre to promote innovation, technology transfer and enterprise in the wider region and is based on the DkIT Campus.

Great care has been taken to ensure that this information is accurate, but the Regional Development Centre, including its subsidiaries does not accept responsibility or liability for errors or information which is found to be misleading. Regional Development Centre Dublin Road Dundalk Co Louth T +353 42 9370400 F +353 42 9370499 W E


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Written & edited by Garrett Duffy T + 353 42 9370400


 New Frontiers Programme 2013 Phase 2 participants at the programme launch in July

Sporting New Frontiers Sport forms an important part of our daily lives be it as athlete, coach, spectator or even as the manager of a fantasy football team, and over the past few years there has been a phenomenal growth in participation sports such as triathlon, cycling and adventure races. TV programmes such as RTE’s Operation Transformation has spawned Fit4Life groups throughout the country and their members swell the starting line of every weekend 5K and 10K race. It comes as no surprise then, to see a parallel growth in the range of products, services and businesses being developed to support this growing industry. As a result of this growth the RDC is now seeing an increased demand for its services from sports sector start-ups. Statsports, GolfersDen, Mara Irish Surf were participants on the New Frontiers predecessor, the NEPP programme, while Strive Sports Science, 4GSport, Galibier, Óga Designs and Beat Your Manager all made Phase 2 of New Frontiers. This trend is continuing and there are other sports sector start-ups on our current phase 1 programme and enquiries from others for the next phase 1’s which will run in the New Year.

potential and reach their fitness and performance goals”. Fitzpatrick, an elite rugby athlete (she has represented Leinster and Ireland), has seen demand for Strive’s services at home and abroad grow rapidly over the past 12 months. Strive have also received commissions to carry out independent performance testing of new sports related fabrics and sensors for organisations throughout Europe.

To fulfil the needs of the supporter, New Frontiers Programme participants Óga Designs are creating a range of So other than being a nation of sports fan wear to, in their own words, allow fanatics what is driving this trend? “The their customers “Support ‘n Style”. Óga cycle to work schemes in Ireland and Designs target the female supporter the UK has resulted in renewed interest providing a fashionable alternative in cycling, as has traffic congestion and to the GAA, Rugby or Football jersey the rising cost of petrol and diesel”, says while still allowing the wearer Susanne McCorry cofounder of Galibier. sport their favourite county or team “But it isn’t just about commuting, the colours. “The range is built on modern two fastest growing sports in Ireland Irish designs using motifs, iconic and the UK over the past few years are symbols and patterns and this clearly triathlon and cycling. This has created differentiates from the highly branded a demand for our products from club logos/badges on current fanwear,” says and leisure cyclists who are looking for Óga Designs Co-Founder Bernadette cutting edge technical cycling apparel McCullagh. which is comfortable yet makes them look and feel good.” Since the beginning of the year 43 start-ups from the following sectors Strive Sports Science conducts have been supported by Enterprise physiological testing for individual Ireland’s New Frontiers Programme athletes and develops wellness in DkIT: Sports, ICT, Energy, Consumer programmes for corporate clients. Dr Goods, SAAS, Beverages, Food, Digital Paula Fitzpatrick, CEO of Strive, believes Media, Automotive, Construction, “the growing participation levels in Aviation and Security. sport and exercise has brought with it an enthusiasm for understanding the For further information or to apply science behind fitness and performance. for the Feb and March 2014 Phase 1 Strive provides a scientific, evidenceprogrammes contact: based approach to performance e or assessment enabling competitive and t +353 42 9370427 leisure athletes alike to realise their

 Padraig Doolan


Beat Your Manager

Padraig Doolan is a former research scientist, with a PhD. in molecular biology and over 10 years experience in the field of biostatistics. It was his background in modelling medical data that led him to the insights that would make the game logic possible. Beat Your Manager! (BYM) Fantasy Football, is a smartphone app-based gaming platform, where game users select their favourite club, decide on line-ups for upcoming matches and make substitutions during the live game. The game tracks the performance of the real-life footballers and awards points to game users and to the real-life manager. By tracking the game activity, the game is the first product to deliver real-time consumer information on what fans are thinking during the live game (‘fanalytics’) - this is what provides the revenue stream for the business. Padraig developed the product and business concept as part of his participation in all 3 phases of Enterprise Ireland’s New Frontiers Entrepreneur Development Programme, beginning part-time in March 2012 and leaving his job in July 2012 to work on developing the business full-time. Since then, he has invested €26,000 into the company and attracted funding in excess of €80,000. “The NFP was critical in my decision to pursue this path as it provided the external assessment and direction the idea needed to become a business. It gave me confidence in the idea; that it was a good business proposal and that I could make it work as a Promoter. The €15,000 scholarship also softened the blow (to the family finances) of moving from paid to unpaid work and (I think) was critical in influencing my decision to take the leap.” The game launched in August 2013 and currently has over 700 users. Padraig is currently seeking customers for the analytics, as well as a suitable Chief Technical Officer (CTO); with those in place, the plan is to seek VC investment before the end of 2013.

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Beat Your Manager


Supporting efficient personalised medicine development It is estimated that by 2025, 70% of pharmaceutical therapies will be classed as personalised medicines, writes Ryan Keeling, CTO Diaceutics. Personalised medicine is the ability to determine an individual’s unique molecular characteristics and to use those genetic distinctions to diagnose more finely an individual’s disease, select treatments that increase the chances of a successful outcome and reduce possible adverse reactions. Since 2007, Diaceutics has been working closely with Top Tier Pharmaceutical companies to develop these personalised medicine (PM) therapies. Our consulting, software and service solutions help the pharmaceutical and diagnostic industries understand how to make the PM business model work - for all stakeholders. We standardise the planning, analytical and action steps needed for the successful development, commercialisation and launch of personalised medicines allowing more cost-effective planning. We help drive better decisions based on actual evidence, resulting in stronger return on the huge investments made in the development of therapies - delivering a true competitive and financial advantage. Diaceutics started life as a consulting company before adding PM-focused software and implementation services as part of its mission to provide an end-toend service for pharma and diagnostic companies. We have centred our software team at the RDC and our arrival here has enabled some of the most compelling client benefits.


PM planning is not intuitive, there are some 400 decisions which need to be considered, many of these decisions require expert insight across the therapy development and commercialisation model, to explain this let me focus on one example:


In 2007, a top ten pharma company approached Diaceutics to help them define a PM-focused strategy for a new therapy. After interviewing many of the project team leaders, it was revealed that the team had spent some 3,600 FTE hours in discussion over the previous 12 months on this same topic but had

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failed to reach a consensus on strategy. At current FTE rates this equates to a cost of $818,000 of direct executive time excluding the indirect costs of indecision to the overall project. To calculate the indirect costs to the project we have assumed that a 12 month lag in decision making likely translates into a three month lag in therapy launch – or three months of reduced revenue opportunity. The average first three months revenue for a targeted oncology therapy is estimated at $150m with a NPV (Net Present Value) of $15m. This is not unusual to many of us who have worked in pharma, as often the road to decision making is via many consensus building and market research steps. Additionally, with executives unfamiliar with the rapidly evolving personalised medicine space this type of time investment is understood, if potentially wasteful. Armed with a specific IT-enabled platform which combines fit-for-purpose decision tools with in-depth benchmarking insights, Diaceutics was able to help the same team reach consensus and commercialisation strategy in under 400 FTE hours about a quarter of the direct cost and in under two months (versus the original 12 months) planning duration. Using the same NPV method as above, the launch lag costs would be approximately $2.5 m. The story does not end there. We have continued to develop our software platform to enable project teams to do the planning themselves (in-line beside other timely decisions) without need of a consultant standing over their shoulder. This presented some challenges to us, as despite the complexity of PM planning, the user interface needed to be very easy to use. Several project teams within our leading clients are interfacing with our platform daily to achieve the same planning excellence as the team discussed above. Whilst the amount of time spent using the software directly is about the same, there is no lag to the planning period, as decisions are taken in the right place at the right time.

The Code to Brand Loyalty The ubiquitous Barcode is a familiar sight, found on every product stocked in a retail store’s shelves. It is the barcode that provides the intelligence behind the “beep” we hear at the checkout. A simple device that provides a unique code for every product sold on the planet; astounding really. However, RDC resident company RivTec, have taken barcoding to a new level entirely. They provide a unique, non-sequential, alpha-numeric code or smartphone readable barcode that allows a single package to be distinguished from every other same brand package on the shelf. In essence RivTec provide a unique ‘DNA sequence’ for every piece of packaging produced by a brand. In the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sector this code becomes extremely valuable to help build brand loyalty or as an anti-counterfeiting measure. Often marketers run special offers and promotions to help build a loyal band of customers by issuing codes or coupons for use by their clients. A difficulty faced by a brand is to prove that a customer actually purchased the product and didn’t simply use a code from a package they didn’t buy. Using a unique code on every carton or package eliminates this issue but printing a unique code was a slow process until RivTec’s developed their ProGen range of equipment. A ProGen together with factory floor printers can place Unique Random Character (URC) codes onto a customer’s packaging at speeds of up to 35 codes per second. The consumer is only then rewarded for their loyalty if the code they entered on the brand’s website is legitimate and that it has not been previously submitted for validation. McVities have been using RivTec’s URC code technology on their packaging for the past three and a half years. Recently they investigated brand loyalty results for one of their 14 day promotional campaigns; they found that over 527,000 URC codes were entered on their website and an increase of 20,357 new followers on their Facebook page. Other blue chip brands using RivTec’s systems include: Diageo, Tetley Tea, The Guardian, Haagen Dazs, Jus-Rol, Andrex, Kerry Foods, Heinz, Blue Nun and Lucozade. For further information contact: Owen McCorry, General Manager, RivTec or visit


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 Intact Software CEO Justin Lawless with members of the Intact R&D Team pictured with Aidan Browne, RDC (far right).

The ever changing face of business and accounting software While Leonardo da Vinci is a household name synonymous with painting, sculpture, observation and invention, few would be aware of the name Luca Pacioli, Leonardo’s friend and mathematics teacher and father of the modern double entry accounting system. In 1494 Luca’s textbook “Summa de arithmetica, geometria, proportioni et proportionalità” was published and included most of the accounting cycle as we know it today. He described the use of journals and ledgers, and warned that one should not go to sleep at night until the debits equalled the credits. His ledger had accounts for assets, liabilities, capital, income, and expenses. He demonstrated year-end closing entries and proposed that a trial balance be used to prove a balanced ledger. Fast forward almost 500 years into the digital age and we continue to conform to the now ancient rules of debits, credits, journals, ledgers and trial balances albeit now on the personal computer. So, why the need for a Research and Development team in an accounting and business management software company like Intact Software? While back office accounting standards have remained relatively constant, modern organisations are continuously striving to become leaner and more competitive. Leveraging technology enables businesses to automate laborious manual processes freeing up key staff and empowers company principals to

focus on their growth. This results in businesses operating within the same market having different processes, different measures and ways of doing business. The net effect is that an out of the box software solution cannot meet the requirements of both businesses. While many software vendors enforce ‘best practice’ on their clients, the companies that have grown, and continue to grow, have done so by increasing customer satisfaction through improving their business process. Removing that competitive edge by conforming to off the shelf software is not the approach modern companies are choosing to take. They simply want to automate and computerise these lean processes that have served well through the years. To provide these lean and tailored solutions, Intact Software invest heavily in staying ahead of the competition, understanding trends in the SME markets and responding to the ever modernising needs of a worldwide customer base encompassing over 10,000 users of our solutions. The culture within our company is one of continuous

improvement through listening to the demands of our customers and partners and of course our soon to be customers and partners. Our boldest R & D move in recent years was to relocate the team to a separate geographical location and away from the day to day operational demands. We sought a suitable location where we could control access to the team and therefore maintain the required focus on innovation and bringing our third generation product Intact iQ to market. After months of investigation, we relocated the team to the Dundalk Regional Development Centre. A space synonymous with startups and not with companies over 20 years in operation. It proved to be an excellent environment and surrounding our team with the entrepreneurial spirit of the startups was an advantageous side effect. While the rules of accounting remain constant, it is important that innovators like Intact Software continue to enable new business processes to be included and measured within Luca’s ancient standards.

Master of Ceremonies for the conference was broadcaster Matt Cooper and Norman Crowley of Crowley Energy was the keynote speaker. During the conference the 100 plus delegates learned how the ICE programme is based on a “learning by doing” model which aims to build innovation capability and capacity in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Innovation under the ICE programme is considered as the introduction of a new or significantly modified product/service/process or business model and the opening of new market segments.


ICE Case Studies on Innovation for Competitive Enterprises:


Driving Competitiveness through Innovation A Partnership Approach LINK Issue 13

A number of participant businesses from both sides of the border and Scotland presented their experience of the ICE programme at the conference, including Mr Paul Shortt MD of Castlecool, Ireland’s largest independent Temperature Control and Logistics Company based in Monaghan, who attributes its significant growth over the past three years to the Innovation for Competitive Enterprises (ICE) Programme. “We struggled to maintain growth in an unstable marketplace – a common challenge that other businesses would find all too familiar; however by opening our company up to reform and change we have gained in-depth knowledge and understanding of innovation related processes and implemented new ideas which have allowed us to make vital new business wins, and more importantly increase our number of employees” said Mr Shortt.

At a time when we faced challenges brought on by an economic downturn, low access to credit and the loss of a major customer account, the programme helped us grow our international services by over 12% and develop a new customer solution software which has been vital to sustaining our future sales growth

The Innovation for Competitive Enterprises (ICE) Programme revealed outstanding results with participating companies on track to see an increased turnover of over €56m at its recent showcase conference entitled, ‘Improving Company Performance Through Innovation’ in Dublin Castle. This growth is also expected to lead to the creation of 300 new jobs and pave the way for 40 companies to commence exporting across Europe by the time the programme ends in 2014.

ICE Melts and Reveals Impressive Results

Two major publications highlighting the success of the programme were launched at the Conference by DkIT President Mr Denis Cummins: ICE Case Studies publication and the 2013 Innovation Benchmarking Survey. Both publications were well received by delegates at the conference.

He went on to outline the achievements the Company has accomplished as a result of the programme: This casebook provides an insight into the journey of seven companies as they embarked in this year-long inhouse innovation learning programme. The casebook begins by outlining the foundation processes needed to determine the state of readiness of companies to undertake innovation. It presents the key foundation-building processes as important pre-requisites of establishing an innovative culture and an innovative business model within SMEs. Foundation-building refers to the need to have a healthy harmony between the generic integrated entities of a business, namely:

• Strategy • Core functional processes • Process ownerships/organisational structure • Effective decision making and management using metrics/ KPIs as enablers. Should an organisation have gaps in this regard, it often manifests itself in key personnel as follows: • Having differences of opinion


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The Innovation Benchmarking Survey 2013 A major report on small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the project’s Border Regions was also launched at the conference. This report provides a detailed account of the 2013 ICE survey results, addressing the innovation-related activities, the factors that stimulate innovation and the barriers that frustrate it. As this is also a follow-up report to that carried out in 2009, the report investigates the differences between the 2009 and 2013 surveys, identifying significant trends across the two periods among SMEs in the same affiliated group. Of the 606 firms that responded to the 2009 survey, 276 SMEs participated in the 2013 survey with proportional representation across the three regions of Northern Ireland, western Scotland and the six southern border counties of Ireland. In profile, the firms taking part in the 2013 survey are predominantly in the manufacturing sector, they have been in operation for a considerable period of time (on average 30 years), most are owned locally (92%), have average employment of around 50 and sell approximately five percent of their output outside the Border Regions. About 33% of firms compete on the basis of cost effectiveness, whereas nearly 23% compete on product design. The survey firms did not perceive themselves as being adversely affected by the recent economic slow-down to a great extent. The report’s main findings include: •

75% of firms were confident that their current line of products/services was up-to-date compared to their rivals.

• Significant reactive management time •

Business performance including ‘financial bleed’

Inability to focus.

A well tagged phrase which often attaches itself to innovation is ‘thinking outside the box.’ This can prove very difficult if not impossible in situations where the above links are missing or broken. To this end, with respect to some SMEs, the initial stages in the innovation journey are focused on organisational foundation-building to

63% of firms reported that they had introduced new products/services in the last three years.

More than half of the firms (54%) regarded knowledge and information emerging from within their own organisation as important sources for prompting innovation- related activities.

Other significant sources for prompting innovation-related activities included customers, suppliers and trade associations.

Overall, the three most preferred forms of government support were for R&D funding, innovation training, and access to educational institutions.

The report draws out comparisons between the surveys of 2009 and 2013 descriptively and by conducting statistical analysis of panel data. Important trends in SME’s innovation activities across the two surveys include: •

There being no strong link between those firms that were undertaking more innovation-related activities in 2009 and having a superior financial performance in 2013.

Firms capitalising on financial gains from rapid growth, and not setting a cap on employment in the earlier period, increasing the level of innovation-related activities in the later period.

Firms that continually searched for new market opportunities, reflected in the surveys of 2009 and 2013, are more likely to commit to an increased level of innovation-related activities.

Overall, this report contains valuable insights that can inform practitioners and government support specialists in the three regions in supporting effective innovative activities and targeted assistance into the future. A copy of the report can be downloaded from The ICE programme is led by the Regional Development Centre at Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) in partnership with the University of Ulster, the University of Glasgow and Glasgow Caledonian University. The Innovation for Competitive Enterprises (ICE) Programme is funded by the European Union’s Regional Development Fund through the INTERREG IVA Cross-Border Programme for Northern Ireland, the Border Region of Ireland and Western Scotland. The fund is administered by the Special EU Programmes Body with an investment of €2.5 million, with matched funding provided by Scottish Enterprise and the accountable departments. For further information contact:

develop their state-of-readiness. The Case Study publication features the following companies:

FM Environmental Ltd Achieving Increased Efficiency in a Service Division

Telestack Improving the foundations to sustain High Growth in an Innovation company.

Castlecool Ltd Service Value Through Innovation

Pro Stainless Designs Ltd New Product Development: Developing New Products to Compete in Other Industries. Microtech Technology Transfer: From a ThirdParty Seller to Making and Selling Own Products


Cream o’ Galloway Dairy Company Ltd: New Product Development: Developing a New Cheese Business Mantis Cranes/Mc Menamin Engineering: Innovating for a Non-Traditional Product Market

 Vital Team and Management Committee. Front from left; Maria Johnston, Invent DCU, Richard Stokes, DCU, Sinead

Cahill, Queen’s University, Irene McCausland, RDC DkIT, Tommy Ruane, Invent DCU and Jennifer Fegan, DkIT. Back (L-R) Paul Donachy, Queen’s University, Kieran Fegan, RDC DkIT and Dr Paul Beaney, Queen’s University.

VITAL Ideas Connected to Business An innovative cross-border project which bridges the gap from that great business idea to its practical implementation A unique business intervention and partnering project aimed at matching bright new ideas to existing businesses or seasoned entrepreneurs is how VITAL has been described. It aims to match up to 30 novel innovative ideas to existing and new businesses within the two years of the project’s life.


The £2.56m VITAL cross-border initiative, which is funded by the EU’s INTERREG IVA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body, will focus on Northern Ireland (outside the Greater Belfast area) and the six border counties of Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Louth, Monaghan and Sligo. The project is a partnership between Queen’s University Belfast, Dublin City University and is led by Dundalk Institute of Technology.


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.”

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“It is an entirely new approach to pumppriming 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. 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 give talented technology entrepreneurs access to new evaluated opportunities” says Mr Fegan. “So we are also looking for seasoned entrepreneurs and SME owner managers who are looking for new opportunities to get in touch with us. We also 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.” Individuals and companies can register their interest on the website. VITAL project managers can provide further information if needed and can assess the suitability of those individuals and companies to participate. There is no charge for participating in the VITAL project. Match-funding for the project has been provided by the Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment in Northern Ireland and the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in Ireland.

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Honeycomb Creative Works  (L-R) Denis Cummins, President of DkIT, Michael Lally, Head of News RTE/TG4, Irene McCausland, External Services Manager at DkIT and Pat Byrne, Manager - Communications and Digital Content Department, Enterprise Ireland.

The Honeycomb - Creative Works programme is gathering momentum after being officially launched recently in the PJ Carroll Building, DkIT. Honeycomb is a €4.2m support programme targeted at companies and professionals who are leading on digital content creation within the wider creative industries sector. The aim of the programme is to help them become more competitive in the global marketplace. The programme is available across the INTERREG IVA region of the six border counties of the Republic of Ireland, most of Northern Ireland and the western seaboard of Scotland. It is freely available to companies and freelancers who are involved in the production of creative content for: • • • • •

animation film and broadcasting game design and development interactive online media music technology

Intelligence Gathering Honeycomb - Creative Works benefits from the mix of academic and industry partners and will use this research capability to offer you: • • • • •

up-to-date information and data to use as part of your company’s development plans access to insight reports into your sector and industry updates on international trends and best practice access to the Honeycomb web portal and resources input into a baseline assessment and skills needs analysis for your sector

Networking Through a comprehensive networking and support programme, Honeycomb aims to build the capacity of, and establish greater links between digital content SMEs, freelancers and start-ups both within and across the three regions. The Networking events will be held on a regular basis and will include:

Speaking at the launch of Honeycomb, Kevin Fearon, Honeycomb project manager commented: “Honeycomb provides access to an exciting programme that will build new skills and knowledge and spark new connections and business opportunities both within and between the three programme regions. The programme aims to contribute to regional prosperity by stimulating growth and increasing competiveness in the digital content sector.

• • • • • • •

Whether you work in FX or film making, animation or apps, Honeycomb will provide the skills and connections you need to take your ideas and your business to the next level.

Skills Development One of the main aims of Honeycomb is to address the shortfall in sector-specific training for the digital content sector. A comprehensive skills development programme will be available which will include:

The Honeycomb Partnership has identified a range of activities that will be delivered over the programme lifetime and are grouped around four specific themes:

• • •

participating in national and international festivals and events meet the buyer events attending trade shows joint tendering and market awareness workshops opportunities for cross-border and cross-regional technology transfer innovation business support programmes including virtual incubation seminars on new product design including applied R&D projects

courses in both creative and business skills development e-learning and face-to-face learning opportunities upskilling in cutting edge software programmes

• • • • •

master classes with industry experts continuing professional development opportunities courses that can lead to accreditation access to all courses through the Honeycomb web portal the Honeycomb Skills Boot Camp in 2014

Enterprise Development and Project Finance The Honeycomb - Creative Works partners realise the significant impact that small amounts of money can have on businesses in the digital content sector and that such funds are not readily available. The Seed Funding programme, which will be available from 2014, aims to fill that gap by providing investment funds for early stage digital content projects for both freelancers and creative enterprises. The Priority areas for investment are: • Collaborative projects • Cross-border/regional collaborations • Trans-disciplinary projects • Early stage development of project concept So if you, or your business, are based in counties Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Louth, Monaghan or Sligo, or anywhere in Northern Ireland other than greater Belfast, the Honeycomb team would like to hear from you. Simply log on to to register your interest or contact Kevin Fearon at the Regional Development Centre at DkIT. Email kevin.fearon@dkit. ie or telephone 087 761 6440. Honeycomb - Creative Works is led by University of Ulster, in partnership with Dundalk Institute of Technology and Creative Skillset. It is part-financed by the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund through the INTERREG IVA Cross-border programme managed by the Special EU Programme Body.

Accelerated Campus Entrepreneurship (ACE) Initiative

 Participants on the first ACE National Entrepreneurship Educators Programmes at DCU on 27th September 2013, with Professor Brian MacCraith, President, DCU.

ACE is a HEA funded consortium initiative, led by the DkIT through the RDC, and involving 7 other higher education institutions (HEIs), which aims to create the entrepreneurial graduate. ACE aims to support students on their early entrepreneurial journey by equipping them with the skills and behaviours necessary for entrepreneurship endeavour. Entrepreneurial skills are vital to Ireland’s economic recovery and enhance the student’s employability: be it starting their own business; working for a large corporation or contributing to society as a social entrepreneur. And, for those interested in enterprise creation, ACE supports the student entrepreneur to access support through incubation centres, technology transfer offices and external support like Enterprise Ireland.


ACE achieves this by working at all levels within the HEI, cross faculty and discipline, and with external stakeholders including industry and the community. First, it supports HEI leadership to create an organisational culture where entrepreneurship can thrive. Second it supports academic and non-academic staff to develop the skills and knowledge to support entrepreneurship learning and finally it supports students directly, by promoting learning by doing, including student internships, mentoring, competitions (e.g. Dragon’s Den, etc); much of which is driven by students themselves.


The ACE initiative was established in 2008 and has made progress in embedding

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entrepreneurship across the 8 partner organisations. The HEA has now funded the ACE National Platform for Engagement to develop a national infrastructure to promote and support entrepreneurship education, across all Irelands HEIs. The following updates on the latest developments. ACE launches Ireland’s first National Entrepreneurship Educators Programme ACE has now established Ireland’s first programme dedicated to supporting academic and non-academic staff in embedding entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial learning in their institution. DCU, one of the consortium partners, commenced delivery of The Enterprise and Entrepreneurial Learning Level 9 Module for Irish HEIs, on 27th September 2013. All Irish HEIs have been offered at least one place on the course and we now have 24 participants from 17 HEIs, across a range of disciplines. Demand for the programme has exceeded available places. Subject to the success of the pilot and future funding, we plan to run the programme on an annual basis and anticipate high levels of demand from across the HEI sector. Regional Entrepreneurship Educator Workshops. ACE delivered a series of regional workshops for the HEI sector aimed at embedding draft HETAC EEE (Enterprise Entrepreneurship Education) Guidelines, developed to assist HEIs to sustain healthy ‘entrepreneurial ecosystems’. A first round of workshops took place

at CIT, IT Sligo, DIT and IADT in March 2013 and a second round took place at DIT and AIT in October 2013. A total of 124 educators attended and received practical advice on developing their EE teaching practice as well as implementing the HETAC guidelines within their organisations. Participants had an opportunity to share experiences, learn from good practice and took away actions to promote EE within their organisation. ACE is now working with HETAC’s successor body, QQI (Quality & Qualifications Ireland), to formalise the guidelines for adoption across the wider HEI sector.

 (L-R) Irene McCausland, External

Services Manager RDC, Bridget Kerrigan ACE Programme Manager with DkIT Enterprise Educators Dermot Clarke and Emma Hogan


It will include online blogs, which will enable dialogue and collaboration among HEIs on a national basis. It will support stakeholder engagement and promote, profile and disseminate resource and reference material through a digital repository. The new website is currently in development and we aim to launch in early 2014. Future Plans ACE is making plans to sustain these activities in the long term through the establishment of a new professional network for those interested in developing and promoting entrepreneurial education. This HEI led initiative, will provide a vehicle for a national dialogue between academia, industry, the voluntary and public sectors on the development of entrepreneurship education. It will promote excellence in the field by stimulating research, developing teaching and learning and disseminating best practice. It is planned to launch this new network in Spring 2014 and further details will be provided in future issues of the Link. The ACE Consortium comprises: • Dundalk Institute of Technology • Cork Institute of Technology • Dublin City University • Dublin Institute of Technology • Institute of Art, Design & Technology • Institute of Technology Blanchardstown • Institute of Technology Sligo • National University of Ireland Galway For future information, please contact: Bridget Kerrigan ACE Project Manager, DkIT t e

+353 42 937 0450

The APPrentice StudentEnterprise@DkIT achieved a new milestone recently when for the first time since forming in 2007 every department on campus had a representative in the final of an enterprise competition. “It was fantastic to see students from all departments in the college getting involved” said Jessica Moneley who recently took up her role as Student Enterprise Intern in the School of Engineering, “in total 150 students signed up for the competition and were given the task of coming up with a new APP.” “48 APPs ideas were submitted ranging from Childcare to Farming APPs”, said David Connolly, who along with Moneley became a Student Enterprise Intern this semester. “Ben McCahill, founder of Solovisor, was enlisted to act as external judge and to create a shortlist of 12 who would pitch their ideas to a final panel”. The finalists had 10 minutes to pitch their idea to the panel, which included Seamus Rispin entrepreneur and lecturer in the Business Studies, and which was judged on innovation, novelty of idea and underlying business and financial models. The quality of the presentations by the finalists was commented on by the judges. Two prizes were awarded, the first prize for most novel app idea was awarded to Fiona McEnlane and the second for the app with the best business model was awarded to Dara Mitchel. All competition entrants’ app ideas will now go into test development. For further information on StudentEnterprise@DkIT activities contact: School of Nursing and Science Intern School of Engineering Intern School of Informatics Intern Cross Faculty Intern David.Connolly1@dkit Cross Faculty Intern

David Mullis Enterprising Student of the Year

DkIT Student David Mullis recently graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Computing in Games Development. was also awarded The President’s Prize for Enterprising Student of the Year which is awarded to the student who has demonstrated exemplary entrepreneurship, creativity and leadership skills. David displayed his entrepreneurial qualities throughout the year getting involved and winning numerous enterprise competitions as well as starting his own journey into the world of entrepreneurship. David and his team won the Microsoft’s Imagine Cup, a competition open to students who are involved in a technology start up, with his idea for a new game called ‘Clock’n’Rock.’ David also entered and was a finalist in Enterprise Ireland’s Think Outside the Box competition. He also took part in Student Enterprise’s Bright Ideas Programme to further develop his business and was awarded the second prize of a 500 euro voucher towards product development. David is currently still working on getting his business off the ground, whilst holding down a full time position. We congratulate him on his recent achievements and wish him all the best in the future.

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ACE Website & Repository ACE has commissioned the development of the ACE Website and Repository, which will be a critical tool for driving forward and supporting the HEI sector develop EE within their organisations. The website will provide access to information and knowledge resources for HEIs and stakeholder groups.


Getting the most from an Innovation Voucher The Technology Transfer office has been very active working with industry through a number of programmes funded by Enterprise Ireland, InterTradeIreland and InvestNI. One such programme is the Innovation Voucher scheme operated by both Enterprise Ireland and InvestNI and is an excellent route for industry to make connections with staff in the Institute. In terms of an application process, both organisations have made it a user friendly and straight forward system ( and www. The Innovation voucher programme gives the Institute an insight into the challenges facing industry and it enables industry to understand the resources of the Institute which can be used to enhance a business. The reputation of the Institute has made it an obvious choice to solve “knowledge questions” under the Innovation Voucher programme in the areas of Engineering, with a focus on Product and Manufacturing Process development, and Computer Science with a focus on novel

App concepts and systems development. However, there are other speciality areas within the Institute which may not be so obvious to industry. These would be Health, Applied Science and Hospitality. For the Health Sector we can offer support in understanding Health care protocols, regulations, product evaluation and early review of new ideas. The Institute’s Applied Science Department has a keen focus on Water Quality Analysis, extraction from waste material, environmental impact studies, organic resources and chemical analysis. And the Hospitality section is a rich source of support for food products evaluation and development input.

B for the potential cross-fertilisation of a company’s ideas with those of the Institute’s researchers/academics. As with any development programme or idea generation it is always advisable to seek a broad range of inputs. An academic will approach a problem or a potential solution typically from a different view point and so may raise issues or opportunities not originally considered. The Technology Transfer Office is the portal to this engagement and will also help to facilitate any agreements which may be required between industry and the Institute. We are always looking for opportunities for Institute/ Industry engagement and as such strive to understand a broad base of industry needs. There are many supports available to companies who are focused on Innovation and development and a relationship with the Institute is an excellent way to keep in touch with these supports.

In fact all areas within the Institute provide a rich source of advice and can assist with inputs to product development and initial validation of ideas. Contact with the Institute should be part of any company’s development strategy: A for the assistance it can bring to the company and

So Get in Touch! e t + 353 87 2481011

The management and staff of the Regional Development Centre would like to wish all our clients, colleagues and partners

A very

Merry Christmas and a

Prosperous New Year

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t 00 353 42 9323430


Link13 Winter 2013  

An update on the activities of the Regional Development Centre in Dundalk Institute of Technology - Where Research and Innovation meets Ente...