Over twenty Shannon Chamber member companies have applied to go on InterTradeIreland’s Challenge programme, which helps businesses to develop a strategy for innovation. This amazingly high take-up is the result of a briefing seminar which the Chamber held in Entry Point North, Shannon, in conjunction with InterTradeIreland. While all applications have yet to be analysed for their suitability for the programme, it is clear that the next Challenge programme, which assists 25 companies nationwide every year, will have Shannon representation.
Speaking after the event, Shannon Chamber chief executive said: “This is a great outcome from a very well-attended seminar. It shows that our members are growth conscious and eager to learn how to create ideas, pick those with the greatest possibility of success and launch ideas to market with the minimum of time, money and risk, the three most common reasons why companies fear innovation.
“Businesses generally regard innovation as a risky undertaking, yet, as we heard at the seminar, it is the key to keeping a company in growth mode. To remain competitive, they simply have to develop a reliable and repeatable strategy for innovation, and that’s what the companies who get onto InterTradeIreland’s Challenge programme will learn how to do. It’s a wonderful opportunity for them.
Photo 1: Helen Downes, chief executive, Shannon Chamber, Alan Morrow, InterTradeIreland, and Austin Hallanan, Entry Point North Ireland at the Challenge programme seminar. Photo: Eamon Ward.
“Those companies that are successful with their applications will be invited to attend workshops in October and November where they will learn and apply tools and techniques to help them progress ideas and develop a business growth plan.
“Using the business growth plan some of the companies will then be given a chance to compete for a place on the full six-month Challenge programme. Those chosen will benefit from intensive mentoring which will see them generating over seventy new ideas, commercialising at least one real new product/service/business improvement, and implementing an innovation system.
“It’s a programme with very tangible outputs and we’re delighted to have been in position to bring it to the attention of our members. We look forward to being able to report on the improvements once companies have completed the programme and to knowing if they have learnt how to classify new ideas as ‘fail fast and fail cheap’ and by doing so, introduce new products or services with minimum time, risk and money,” Ms Downes added.
Speaking after the event, InterTradeIreland’s operations manager Alan Morrow said: ‘’InterTradeIreland are delighted to have been asked to present the programme to so many Shannon companies. There was a great level of engagement throughout and I am confident that Challenge can make a real difference to a number of local companies. We are looking forward to assessing the applications and working with the companies in the next stages.’’
Photo 2: Pictured at the InterTradeIreland/Shannon Chamber event in Entry Point North, Shannon (from left); Jamie McCallum, Matrix Business Growth Consultants, Glasgow; Austin Hallanan, head of training, IAA/Entry Point North Ireland; Helen Downes, CEO, Shannon Chamber; Peter Mc Mahon, Kilmoon Cross Nurseries, Co Meath, a Challenge programme participant; Alan Morrow, InterTradeIreland; and Iain Bruce, Matrix Business Growth Consultants. Photo: Eamon Ward.