Up to 250 local businesses in the Mid South West Region will get the opportunity to accelerate their growth and innovation journeys on a new pilot support programme, thanks to investment of close to £430,000 from the UK Community Renewal Fund

Developed as a collaboration between Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, and Mid Ulster District Council; Mid South West (MSW) is responsible for delivering a Regional Economic Strategy that focuses on boosting productivity, driving business growth, promoting sectoral strengths, and creating more and better-paid jobs across the region.

The pilot Business Innovation Programme will get underway this month and will support local business growth, innovation and productivity within local micro, small and medium sized enterprises. Delivered by Brilliant Red Ltd on behalf of the three council collaboration, the forward-thinking programme will comprise of three strands: bespoke training workshops, innovation vouchers and tailored action plans.

“We are thrilled to have secured this significant investment from the UK Community Renewal Fund for our pilot Business Innovation Programme,” commented Councillor Paul McLean, Chair of the Mid South West Region Governance Steering Group.

“This programme will help equip local, ambitious businesses with the skills and knowledge needed to boost their innovation and productivity levels by sharing insights into new processes, industry 4.0 technologies and decarbonisation as well as opening up funding opportunities and nurturing new collaborative connections across the region.

“Launching the programme at Robotics and Automation Lab in South West College’s Dungannon campus couldn’t be more fitting. Already focused on driving change, the progressive college will support MSW’s ambitions to connect business, innovation and education with the development of a new Engineering and Skills Innovation Centre in the region.”

The training workshops will provide participants with a greater awareness and understanding of productivity, innovation and emerging technologies as well as highlight the benefits of collaborative working and knowledge sharing with key stakeholders such as further education colleges, universities and supply chain partners.

Eligible businesses on the programme will also have the opportunity to apply for £3,000 innovation vouchers, designed to help them access leadership and technical support for new projects and processes from industry experts. For businesses demonstrating high productivity potential, the pilot programme will help them develop tailored innovation action plans – addressing key themes such as operational productivity, digitalisation, decarbonisation, resourcing, skills and finance.

Vice Chair of the Mid South West Region Governance Steering Group, Councillor Barry McElduff said:

“Securing this funding and launching our pilot Business Innovation Programme is an important step for our Regional Economic Strategy in helping local MSW businesses realise greater performance, productivity and growth. With a focus on building local knowledge, awareness and opening new doors to emerging technologies such as data analytics, artificial intelligence and automation, the programme will help drive progress and inclusive prosperity across the region.”

Scheduled to run until June 2022, the programme targets micro, small and medium-sized businesses in the region’s key industrial sectors including manufacturing, engineering, aerospace, construction, agri-food processing, mining and quarrying as well as pharmaceutical, logistics, warehousing, information and communication technology.

Remarking on securing the contract to support delivery of the pilot, Brilliant Red Managing Director, Paul Reavey said:

“We at Brilliant Red are delighted to be working Mid South West on this regionally important programme helping some of Northern Ireland’s most exciting, high potential businesses reach new heights.”

If your business is based in the MSW Region and you would like to find out more, visit https://midsouthwestregion.org/pilot-business-innovation-programme/.

The pilot Business Innovation Programme is aligned to the MSW Regional Economic Strategy’s Boosting Innovation and Digital Capacity pillar. To learn more about MSW and its Regional Economic Strategy visit: https://midsouthwestregion.org/.