Posted on Tuesday 5 February 2013 by Ulster Business
Thomas Hunter McGowan from InterTradeIreland and Harry McCourt from EMS Ltd join Minister Arlene Foster to launch the FUSION programme
The investment will be channelled into the agency's technology transfer programme, FUSION which enables science, engineering and technology graduates to gain access to vital industry skills.
One of InterTradeIreland's most successful programmes to date, FUSION enables SMEs to employ science, engineering and technology graduates for a 12-18 month period to create and develop technologically innovative and commercially viable projects and services.
The graduate benefits by gaining significant management experience and a fully funded Postgraduate Diploma in Business and Management. The company is also partnered with a third level institution to gain access to the specialist expertise they need, facilitating a three way cross border partnership. InterTradeIreland is offering up to £44,250 per project.
Speaking at a company visit to FUSION participant EMS Ltd in Killyman, Dungannon, the Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster, said: "This is a significant investment designed to assist small to medium-sized businesses across Northern Ireland to innovate and grow, taking advantage of funding and expertise that could make a significant difference to their business potential and ultimately, to their profit margins.
"The potential for SMEs to explore new products, services and markets through increased access to universities and graduates through the innovation eco system is transforming opportunities for many companies."
More than 450 companies have already participated in the FUSION programme to date with over 85% of graduates offered long term employment with their host company after the initial phase of the project. On average, companies taking part benefit from over £1m in sales, efficiency saving and investments within 3 years of the project.
Thomas Hunter McGowan, CEO of InterTradeIreland added: "We are encouraging SMEs to participate in the FUSION Programme, to improve their productivity, increase their revenue potential and to create real jobs for graduates.
"Our further investment in 135 cross border technology transfer projects is testament to the strength of this programme which delivers tangible outputs for SMEs. Through creating an innovation eco system North and South, we can offer SMEs the potential to externally source and connect with a wider variety of relevant expertise, while collaborating with graduates and universities to deliver product and service innovations.
"I hope that many more small businesses from Northern Ireland will consider FUSION to help keep their business ahead of the competition."