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Sherlock urges businesses to look North and South

Grants and supports available on all island basis to grow exports

Minister for Development, Trade Promotion and North South Co-Operation, Seán Sherlock, has called on businesses to utilise the support mechanisms available to the business community through InterTradeIreland.

“There are a number of grants and funding mechanisms available to businesses on an all-island basis,” said Minister Sherlock, who recently visited the offices in Newry for high level discussions with InterTradeIreland.

“The Fusion programme offered by InterTradeIreland can help companies get ahead of the competition by partnering with a third level institution and utilizing specialist expertise.”

The programme brings together graduates, knowledge transfer and a strong track record of business thinking on either a 12 or 18 month contract.

“The support packages range from £44,250/€52,800 in the area of new product/service development to £31,000/€37,000 in the area of process improvement,” said Minister Sherlock.

“On average, each company taking part in the FUSION programme benefits from over £1 million worth of sales or efficiency savings in the three years following the project.”

InterTradeIreland is helping companies and researchers from Ireland and Northern Ireland collaborate in Horizon 2020. Horizon 2020, which Minister Sherlock negotiated in his role as Minister for Research & Innovation, is the European Commission's 8th Framework Programme and will invest almost €80billion over 6 years in European research and innovation to boost jobs and growth.

“Horizon 2020 provides a new vision for European research and innovation in a dramatically changed economic environment - bridging the gap between research and the market by helping innovative enterprises, including SMEs , develop their scientific and technological breakthroughs into viable products and services with real commercial potential,” said Minister Sherlock.

Minister Sherlock also highlighted the non-financial supports available through InterTradeIreland programmes such as Acumen which helps SMEs to grow their business on the island of Ireland by targeting new cross-border markets.

“Every industry and SME knows that it is not always about cash aid,” said Minister Sherlock.

“Being steered in the right direction is as valuable as any funding out there,” said Minister Sherlock.

“By offering supports such as market research and graduate programmes, and by identifying new opportunities, there are substantial areas of benefit that can help grown exports.”

Press Office

8 August 2014

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Photo of Minister Sherlock visiting the offices of InterTradeIreland will be issued separately to photo desks.