Your challenge should you choose to accept it ..........
Aimed at MDs and CEOs of ambitious SMEs, the InterTradeIreland Challenge Programme allows business owners to transform their company’s prospects in just nine months by learning and applying the most effective methods of generating, marketing and launching new products and services.

Get your New Year's resolutions off to a good start by 'Challenging' yourself and your business! 


What is Challenge ?

Watch our 3 min video.

InterTradeIreland Challenge Programme

How does Challenge work?

After an introductory briefing where you will find out about Challenge the programme itself, whats involved and the benefits, companies are then selected to take part in workshops and then go through a competitive process where 25 SMEs annually are selected for intensive specialist in-house mentoring and support. More details can be found here.

Am I eligible?

To be eligible for the InterTradeIreland Challenge Programme your company should be:

  • An ambitious SME ideally with between 10 and 250 employees
  • Currently exporting or considering exporting
  • Serious about growth through innovation
  • Financially viable

Briefing events are open to all but for workshops and intensive mentoring preference will be given to ambitious companies with normally not less than 10 employees in the manufacturing or tradable service sectors. More details about eligibility can be found on our website.


We are now actively looking for companies to join the programme. If you think this is for you, please contact Alan Morrow, our innovation manager on 028 30834123 (048 from Ireland) or email him on

Looking for funding to grow your cross-border sales?
Sales on your doorstep
Sales on your doorstep
During 2015, InterTradeIreland funded 103 companies across the Island through our sales and marketing programme, Acumen.

Acumen provides sales and marketing support and can assist you to source and fund the right people to help you increase your cross-border export sales North or South, right here on the island.

Not only that it can help you to improve your knowledge of the market and to identify new business opportunities so whats not to like!


The Opportunity

Paddy Savage, Operations Manager for Trade Programmes said: 'The whole purpose of the Acumen Sales and Marketing Programme is to help businesses North and South to sell across the border. Significant levels of cross-border sales and resulting growth can be achieved if companies can find and recruit a skilled and dedicated cross-border sales resource. This is what Acumen does and the results bear this out. We are now looking for eligible companies to get in touch for funding now available in 2016, particularly companies based in the Munster and Connacht regions”.

Funding Available

Full time sales support - Acumen will fund up to 50% of the cost of a Sales Person’s salary in the first year. The maximum cost covered can be up to €37,500/£30,000 with Acumen paying up to €18,750/£15,000.

Part time sales support - As an alternative to hiring a full-time person in the target cross-border market, our Acumen programme can also offer you support towards employing a part-time sales person.The maximum cost covered can be €20,000/£16,000 with Acumen paying 50% and you paying the balance.

Market research - If you are not ready to consider specific recruitment, Acumen can provide your company with specialist consultancy support of up to £4,000/€5,000 to research cross-border opportunities and implement a cross-border strategy.


Funding is now available.. To see if you are eligible and to find out more please visit our website.
8 weeks to Venture Capital Conference - Get your early bird rate now!
The only all-island Venture Capital Conference in Ireland and is a must for entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, business angels, investors and anyone with an interest in venture capital.

InterTradeIreland's fifteenth annual Venture Capital Conference returns to Belfast.  Once again bringing together in one room for one day the island’s new and growing companies seeking investment along with the funds and individuals on the island with money to invest. 

Early Bird rate £129 before the end of January then £179 thereafter.

Get the support your business needs for 2016

Are you in business and want to know about the support you can obtain and what business grants you can apply for?

Are you interested in finding out which funded programmes will help you grow your business?  

Do you need to secure finance or thinking of entering new markets?  

Do you need help on how to survive, looking to expand and/or recruit, want to start your own business and are you unsure of where to look for guidance, support and advice?

If the answer is ‘YES’ to any of these questions, come to the Cross Border Business Support Expo taking place on the 27th  January in the Carrickdale Hotel, Dundalk between 9.30am-12.30pm.

Who will be there?

Confirmed exhibitors at the event include, InterTradeIreland, Louth Local Enterprise Office, Invest NI, Newry & Mourne District Council, Louth County Council, Newry & Mourne Enterprise Agency, Southern Regional College, Department of Employment & Learning, Regional Development Centre, Enterprise Ireland, EURES, Employability Louth, all of the main lending institutions, plus many more.

About the event

The event is free to attend and will provide an ideal opportunity for local businesses to speak to all relevant Business Support Agencies in one morning, on a one-to-one basis, under one roof! This is event is joint hosted by Newry Chamber of Commerce & Trade and Dundalk Chamber of Commerce and is supported by InterTradeIreland and the Louth Local Enterprise Office.

This event is open to all businesses in the Newry Dundalk region.  It will operate on a ‘business drop-in clinic’ format; whereby business representatives can call in to the event at any stage between the hours of 9.30am to 12.30pm on the 27 January. 


To register for the event or if you require further information, please call Brenda in Dundalk Chamber on Tel: 042 9336343 or email You can also register on line by logging on to

Becoming a Council Supplier - Tendering Seminars
Do you want to do business with Newry, Mourne and Down District Council?

Do you want to know more about public procurement and get tips to win contracts?

SMEs will hear first-hand from InterTradeIreland and Newry, Mourne and Down District's Procurement department about the opportunities and challenges of becoming a supplier allowing SMEs to understand public sector purchaser requirements and how best to present their business.

Venues: (Click to register)

Crossmaglen - 6.30pm to 8.30pm Tuesday 19 January 2016
Ballynahinch - 6.30pm to 8.30pm Thursday 21 January 2016
Warrenpoint - 6.30pm to 8.30pm Tuesday 26 January 2016
Downpatrick - 6.30pm to 8.30pm Thursday 28 January 2016

These events will highlight the opportunities and the responsibilities associated with public procurement. Opportunities will focus on how much the Council buys, of what and how the process works. Responsibilities will focus on criteria for selection including those elements associated with Corporate Responsibility such as Health & Safety, Environmental Best Practice and Sustainability.

SMEs will hear first-hand from InterTradeIreland and Newry, Mourne and Down District's Procurement department about the opportunities and challenges of becoming a supplier. This will allow SMEs to understand public sector purchaser requirements and how best to present their business.

What will I get out of attending?

• Hear from InterTradeIreland and Newry, Mourne and Down District Council about the opportunities, responsibilities and processes relating to public sector procurement
• Increase your knowledge of and ability to access public sector markets
• Overview of spend by Council and opportunities for local companies to supply into Council
• Council's e-procurement system - why registration is necessary
• How to become a registered supplier on the procurement system - live demonstration
• Benefits of being on the e-procurement system - access to PO / Quotations / Tenders

This business event is free so please share it with your friends and business partners.
Cost savings and new sales for Co Donegal-based Gallagher’s Bakery

Family business Gallagher’s Bakery, based in Cashel, Ardara, Co Donegal, employs around 190 team members, which is a dramatic increase in staff from its early days in 1968 when Frank Gallagher and his wife were the only two employees. 

Today, Frank’s son, Declan, is a director in the business which supplies bread products, including specialty gluten-free lines, to retail and food service customers across Ireland and as far away as America, Canada and Australia. 

With 60% of the company’s customers in its home market of Ireland and a burgeoning export business, Gallagher’s was keen to compete further on a global scale by reducing costs associated with the complex gluten-free baking process. 

As opposed to traditional bread making that involves five core ingredients; flour, yeast, salt, sugar and fat, a comparable gluten-free product could include up to 27 ingredients.

Sorcha Sweeney, financial director with Gallagher’s Bakery, explains:  “As a busy operation servicing our clients but at the same time constantly looking for ways to innovate and diversify to remain competitive, we saw a market opportunity to improve our gluten-free processes.  

“I had attended an information night in Kildare which informed small to medium businesses about the state-related support that was on offer and InterTradeIreland were there, showcasing their range of programmes.  

FUSION programme

“One of the programmes on offer, FUSION, links companies with a graduate trained in a specific discipline and a third level organisation with technical expertise in the arena who all work collaboratively to focus on the commercial project.  Each participant can benefit from the involvement with new skills, learning, contacts and information gained.  

“I realised FUSION could be our way of moving the gluten-free element of our business forward into the future and give us the competitive edge to take the product even further in the home and export markets.  To have the assistance of a dedicated graduate with the support and expertise of a third level institution would allow us access to a level of learning and understanding that would otherwise not be possible. 

FUSION project

Gallagher’s 18-month FUSION project commenced in November 2013 and investigated the manufacturing process involved in gluten-free bread, which can cause a huge variability in product texture and waste.  

Sorcha explains:  “Waste levels for the gluten-free processes were ranging from 8 – 17% prior to the FUSION project and we were struggling to identify the root cause of the waste. 

“We wanted to standardise the operating procedures to address issues related to waste and consistency and understand the huge levels of product variance and the link between ingredients, which impacted on production and product quality.

“During the duration of the project, Annette Ferguson our graduate worked with CAFRE, our academic partner,  to document the science of each ingredient, which was crucial to identifying the links between each ingredient and the resulting impact on product quality.  


“Following the implementation of the process improvements determined under the FUSION programme, waste levels are now averaging 10% and consistency and quality of the product have improved.  This has been reflected in an increase in monthly turnover of 40% since the start of the project.     

“In addition, by reducing waste levels, the company can tender more aggressively for new contracts as the waste variable has stabilised.  Post FUSION, we have secured new contracts in Belgium, Italy and Norway, which should increase our turnover by around 5%. 

“Taking part in FUSION has brought immense commercial benefits to Gallagher’s.  We have saved more than €58,000 a year by amending the make-up of our sour dough ferment and by working with CAFRE and their research papers on sour dough fermentation.  This helped us to develop a natural preservative range that is now distributed to customers in America.

Sorcha adds:  “Collaborating on a cross-border basis allowed us the access to the right people to make our project a success.  I would strongly encourage other companies considering teaming up to look at the FUSION programme for opportunities and to take the time to select the best people.  Personalities and skills are both important, as is the drive to succeed.

 “This was our first project involving academia and it was even more useful that we imagined and something we would strongly consider in the future.  Sensory testing can be ‘make or break’ for a product and our involvement with CAFRE allowed us to trial products in real-life settings.  

Get in touch

For more information about Gallaghers Bakery - Visit their website.
For general information anout InterTradeIreland visit
For information on the FUSION programme visit

NEW FOR 2016!
From next month we will be introducing a new section called Hear from our experts.

This section will cover a range of topics from how to tender successfully to how to get export ready AND top business tips and trends by various InterTradeIreland spokespeople and guests.

We hope you find this interesting and useful.

If you have an interesting business article or blog that you would like to share with other businesses please get in touch and we may publish it!

2016 events confirmed to date
The Procrastinator’s Guide to New Year’s Resolutions
An article taken from

9 easy tricks for reaching goals any time of the year.

By Jeff Brown Psy.D.,

So you haven’t pulled the trigger on a New Year’s resolution yet? In the wake of holiday parties, writing thank you notes, packing away decorations, and taking returns to the mall—you just haven’t had time to give it serious thought, right?

The Babylonians who started this New Year’s tradition centuries ago sure weren’t dealing with the multitasking malaise facing us today: backed-up email, smart phones sounding off, ticking parking meters, and a dozen schedules required to keep our family on track.

Keeping with tradition (darn those Babylonians!), there are a few tricks which might just help you make your New Year’s resolution!

Note: Links to third-party websites are provided for convenience only. InterTradeIreland is not liable for the content, availability or use of such third party websites and you use such links entirely at your own risk.
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