In this edition

In this edition, hear from companies who have been helped by Co-Innovate,  get up to 50% funding towards Project Manager salary to lead an innovation project and up to €300k funding available for business to business partnerships.

On the Pulse of Innovation - Call for SMEs to join Co-Innovate Programme

SMEs who want to develop a new product, service or process for their business while enhancing their innovation capabilities, are being called on to apply to the Co-Innovate Programme, as the programme marks its first anniversary.  Over 800 SMEs have already availed of Co-Innovate supports and are seeing the benefits of innovation. But don't take our word for it., hear what three of our companies have to say.

Hear what our Co-Innovate companies have to say

Hear what our companies have to say about Co-Innovate

Coinnovate Programme Animation 1920x1080

Up to 300k funding available for cross-border collaboration projects

Do you have an innovative business idea but need a partner or funding to make it happen? 

Our Co-Innovate Innovation Advisor, Dianne Dundas gives us the lowdown on the new Co-Innovate Business to Business Partnership Programme and how it can provide funding and support to help innovative SMEs to collaborate together on developing new products.

What is the Co-Innovate Business to Business Programme about?
Providing funding and support to help minimum of two companies with an innovative idea for a new product with strong commercial potential  to partner together to get it off the ground.   


How much funding is available?

  • Up to 300k euro funding is available for collaborative cluster partnerships (Up to 50 percent) 
  • Up to 150k euro funding is available for two businesses to partner together to develop a new product.

What are the other benefits?

  • We will match you with a suitable partner to help you develop a new product.
  • Increased rate of being able to bring it to market
  • Being able to share new knowledge, skills and expertise which may not be available in your own company.
  • Access to academic support.

Who is eligible?

We are looking for SMEs in the Manufacturing or Tradable Services sectors, particularly those in Renewables, Life and Health Sciences and Agrifood/Tech sectors. 


Do I need to have a partner in place?

No not necessary to already have a partner. We will help you to find a suitable partner. Companies based in NI or Western Scotland will be matched with suitable partner in ROI Border counties.


How do I apply?

All you need to do is fill in a simple Expression of Interest form and I will contact you to assess your eligibility and help you find a suitable  partner.

Once the partnership is in place, you can avail of 7k support to guide you through the full business application.


What happens next?

Once the application is approved you will be able to start work on the project. All projects are of 2 years duration.



Find out more and register your interest at


Get funding for up to 50% of the salary of project manager to deliver 12 month innovation project
Launch of Business with Academia programme in IT Sligo
Launch of Business with Academia programme in IT Sligo


Developing new products, systems or processes can be tough for many SMEs as you don't have the time, money or expertise to take your ideas forward.  Well we may have the answer! 


We have recently launched our Co-Innovate Business with Academia programme which facilitates a three way partnership between SMEs, Academic Institutes and Project Managers to deliver a 12 month research and innovation project. We offer up to 50% funding towards the salary of a Project Manager to deliver the project  as well as 28 days of academic consultancy support.

Plastic company breaks the mould thanks to Co-Innovate

A County Down plastics company has revolutionised its operations and is winning new contracts thanks to support from the Co-Innovate Programme. Donite Plastics, which specialises in the design and manufacture of custom moulded plastic parts, uses 3D computer modelling and in house mould making facilities to manufacture production parts including one-off prototypes at its Saintfield workshop. Since moving to new premises  in Saintfield last year the company has seen both its turnover and staff numbers double through an innovative new approach.

Meet our programme team - Abbé Cusack
Co-Innovate Programme Manager, Dumfries and Galloway

In this edition we speak to Abbé Cusack, Co-Innovate Programme Manager in Dumfries and Galloway to find out how she is helping guide SMEs through their innovation journey by  offering advice and support on how to turn ideas into an invoice.

What do you do?

As a Programme Manager, I deliver the Co-Innovate programme in Dumfries and Galloway. Essentially, I am here to guide businesses through their innovation journey offering advice and support on how to turn ideas into an invoice. An exciting part of my job is how I get to meet with so many different types of businesses, with a wide variety of products or services, discovering their individual company goals what their innovation needs are, and then identifying how the different types of support available on the Co-Innovate Programme can be best used to help them to successfully achieve these goals.

How will Co-Innovate help my business?

The Co-Innovate programme has been designed to be flexible and help businesses at any stage of their innovation journey. From coming up with new ideas, to developing innovation capability, to getting involved in cross-border collaborative projects with other businesses or academic institutes. Each company’s needs around innovation development will differ, so every company’s journey through the programme will be unique. Co-Innovate’s tailored support will give you the tools and advice to help you innovate, differentiate and compete successfully. Support provided ranges from FREE innovation workshops, to innovation assessments and action plans, one-to-one expert mentoring, and support for collaborative research and innovation projects.


What would be your top innovation tip?

I meet many businesses, both start-ups and established,  who come to me saying “I’ve got a brilliant idea, I’ve spent months developing it and looking for manufacturers, I know how I will promote it etc. etc. “.

When I ask – “have you spoken to any potential customers to see if they want it?”, the answer is often no. The idea is not enough on its own! You need to validate your market - speak to your potential customers first! There is no point in expending valuable resources developing an idea if nobody wants to buy it!

And finally, what is your favourite innovation?

My Sleephones! I enjoy listening to music or the radio in bed, and these headphones allow me to do it in comfort without disturbing the husband! A very simple idea – a set of rechargeable, wireless headphones, within a fleecy headband so you can lie anyway you want without the headphone digging into your ear




If you are a business based in Scotland and are interested in finding out more about Co-Innovate then the Co-Innovate team is here to help answer any queries so please contact us: Abbé Cusack on 0141 3437921 or email abbe.cusack@scotent.; Stacey Neville on 0141 4686161 or email  or visit our website at



Innovation Workshop, 23rd January, Omagh
Innovation workshop, 29th January, Ballymena
Innovation Workshop, 30th January, Bangor
Innovation Workshop, 31st January, East Belfast
Innovation Workshop, 5th February, Newry
Innovation Workshop, 7th February, Limavady
Innovation Workshop, 5th March, Donegal LEO
Innovation Workshop, 14th March, Armagh
Innovation Workshop, 21st March, Dundalk
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