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Brexit for Cross-Border Traders

This event will take place on Monday, March 4th, in the Hillgrove Hotel in Monaghan. 

You'll hear about enhanced support to empower SMEs in the border areas.



Business Uncertainty isn't confined to Brexit

Business Monitor Q4 2019


The latest InterTradeIreland Business Monitor (Q4 2018) points to the fact that SMEs are starting to feel pressure across a range of fronts. 

SMEs recognised for incredible innovation

These SMEs are bringing cutting-edge products to their market with support from the FUSION programme. 



InterTradeIreland's New Brexit Manager

Deirdre Maguire has extensive experience working with businesses. Deirdre who is a Bachelor of Financial Services, previously worked with Ulster Bank in both Retail and in Business Banking for over 20 years and in a range of positions.

She has a keen sense of what businesses need.


"I'm really pleased to be helping SMEs. Over 85% of businesses that have used the InterTradeIreland "Start to Plan" voucher say they are better equipped to manage the potential impact of Brexit as a result."


"We have FREE support worth £2k/€2250 currently available to help eligible SMEs."


You can apply for a Brexit voucher here.





Is Scaling-Up harder than Starting Up?
My son's weight loss journey inspired me to start a business
by Sean Morgan

Food Business "Oh So Lean" is planning to double the number of people it employs this year. The SME had support to grow through the Acumen Sales Programme.

Find out more

Tell us a little bit about your business? Where did you get the idea?

“Oh So Lean” began when my son Connor, who at the age of 20 weighed in at just under 20 stone, decided he wanted to make a change to his life and joined a weight loss group. 

When he started, he found it hard to get meat products to suit his plan. As a butcher myself I decided to create sausages and burgers that would suit the requirements of his diet.  With Connor’s weight dropping word got around and Connor’s desire to help others on the same journey started. 

He decided the best way to reach people and spread the word would be to start a Facebook page and soon enquiries flew in from all over Northern Ireland and “Oh so Lean” was founded. 

Over the years we have increased our range of meat products and with the help of a chef we now have a range of 17 meals, including soups and sauces which also suit all diet plans.  Connor is now 29 and weighs in at 12 and a half stone with a waist size 32 and t-shirt size small.


How many people work in it?

We currently have 6 people employed and we are hoping that by the end of 2019 we will have employed another 6 people- doubling our workforce.


Have there been any particular turning points?

The major turning point in our business was in February 2018 when we got a contract with Henderson’s to supply our products into their warehouse which would then be distributed into Spar shops.  This gave us a platform to get our products across Northern Ireland and reach a larger range of people on the same weight loss journey as Connor.


How has the InterTradeIreland Acumen programme helped?

The InterTradeIreland Acumen programme has assisted by enabling us to get a proper sales team, crucially with the relevant knowledge to get us into areas such as the South of Ireland. We would not have been able to do that on our own. 

From this, we now have a contract with Barry’s group, with deliveries down to their warehouse daily.  This would not have been possible without the help of the Acumen programme. It is helping us grow our business.


What would you say to any business thinking about applying?

I would suggest that they make sure they are ready to make the next step. It is not an easy journey - growth can be painful, but with the help and support from InterTradeIreland it can be made easier. Take all the advice and guidance on board.


Are you prepared for Brexit? 

Brexit is the great unknown. Of course it is a worry, especially for companies in the food preparation industry. We don’t know yet how it will impact on costs.

However, businesses can’t afford to stay still. We just take it day by day and focus on growth. The important thing is that now we have built up relationships with companies in the South. We will wait and see what happens next.

Tech firm at the cutting-edge wins new customers

A Galway company that counts Oracle and Intel among its customers has developed its deep knowledge of hardware acceleration through a collaboration with Queen's University -  creating new revenue streams and winning new contracts in the process. 


InterTradeIreland - CreVinn Teoranta (FUSION)



Manufacturing NI Summit

An event for manufacturing leaders to learn, network and connect.

What business content do you really want?

We're not promising the world in your hands, as the picture suggests.

However Business Achievers do want you to have more control over content on their website. If you answer their survey you may even win a £50/€50 voucher.

Insect Farmer raises €1M
From The Irish Independent

A County Meath "Fly farmer" that breeds the insects on an industrial scale  has raised close to €1M from the Halo Business Angel Network.

GDPR Statement

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Upcoming Events
13th March, Dundalk, Brexit-The future for Border Business
11th March, Cork, Innovation Imperative Masterclass
Are you up for the Challenge - CDE Enviro from Cookstown are!

SMEs across the island are being encouraged to follow the example set by Cookstown-based CDEnviro to complete InterTradeIreland's six-month Challenge Programme and transform their approach to innovation. Just six months after completing the programme in March 2018, CDEnviro has created a new strategic innovation department and has a pipeline of 46 viable business concepts.  

About the company


CDEnviro delivers integrated solutions for clients’ waste in terms of landfill diversion, wastewater recycling, environmental remediation and the generation of energy from waste.  Just six months after completing the programme in March 2018, CDEnviro has created a new strategic innovation department and has a pipeline of 46 viable business concepts.   The company has plans to undertake its largest ever research and development (R&D) project to create pioneering solutions for companies affected by changing landfill waste classifications.  CDEnviro intends to bring its solution to market in 2019.  


Their experience of Challenge


Sean Dobbs, strategic innovation lead for CDEnviro, outlines the benefits of participating in the InterTradeIreland Challenge Programme:

“We have always been an ambitious company.  CDEnviro has a long track record of creating unique, innovative solutions, reflected by our multiple patents.  We believe zero waste is achievable. However, to get there we as an industry must take on and find a solution to the seemingly unsolvable issues, something we are proud to say we have a strong track record of.  We do this by working with our most valued asset, our customers, who typically bring us their biggest needs and go on to partner with us to co-develop solutions, to yield truly world class results.  We have been looking at new sectors and niche markets since 2015. However, given the higher level of risk we knew that while we had the ideas and skills to disrupt these industries and bring solutions, we didn’t feel that our process to vet ideas was as reliable as it could be. The Challenge Programme helped us to integrate our skills and creativity across the business and really structure this validation process that has proven crucial to unlocking these higher risk opportunities.


The senior management team immediately saw the benefits of participation in the Challenge Programme and the program has embed key skills at the core of the business.” 

InterTradeIreland’s Challenge Programme is aimed at ambitious SMEs and allows business leaders 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. 


InterTradeIreland support


Alan Morrow, InterTradeIreland Challenge Programme manager, explains:

“Challenge companies experience a transformative change in innovation culture, management capability and performance as the programme is focused on embedding best practice in innovation management at the core of participating businesses.

“Only 25 companies are taken through Challenge each year and interested, innovative firms are welcome to register their interest for our upcoming briefing session in November 2018. Following application and acceptance onto the programme, participating firms attend workshops to clearly define their innovation priorities and receive intensive in-house coaching support to progress these into new products. There are no costs for SMEs to take part and the benefits that can be reaped are immense. 


“Challenge leaves SMEs with a proven, adaptable and repeatable innovation process that allows them to commercialise ideas quickly with less cost and reduced risk, enabling a reboot of current processes, ultimately generating a growth pipeline.

“We are delighted that CDEnviro has truly seized the Challenge ethos by proactively making changes that have led to the creation of new roles and processes thus enriching innovation across the business. Undertaking their largest ever R&D project is testament to their growth ambitions and impact that the Challenge Programme wields.”


CDEnviro and the future

Discussing the future for CDEnviro Mr Dobbs says: “The support from InterTradeIreland was excellent. We have an ever growing pipeline of ideas and concepts, which currently sits at almost 50.   To be able to quickly and efficiently research and either validate or discredit any and all opportunities, and having confidence that we are solving the biggest problems first is an exciting prospect for the entire team and a very strong capability to have.  

“We are opening up new markets for the business thanks to our major new R&D project. By researching and reviewing forthcoming changes to legislation, in terms of the classification of materials as waste, we found that many currently don’t have a treatment solution because certain materials haven’t previously been classified as waste. We have been able to create an innovative process to manage and treat waste within these new categories, resulting in this material being diverted from landfill, which is something we are very proud of. 


“These changes will have a significant impact on businesses across many sectors and as industry pioneers we aim to be first to market with our technology. This R&D project marks a multi-million-pound investment for the business, which we are hopeful of securing a level of funding to support.  We are looking forward to having the first part of our solution in market in early 2019 and are excited about the growth this project will provide the business and the significant boost in  employment for the local economy, that comes with a project of this scale.”


How to get involved in Challenge

InterTradeIreland’s Challenge Programme is open to the senior management teams of financially viable companies with between 10 and 250 employees which are currently exporting or considering exporting and who are serious about growth through innovation. Find out more at www.intertradeireland.com/innovation/challenge 


Mr Dobbs concludes: “As well as positive impacts right across CDEnviro, I personally found the Challenge Programme very beneficial. The InterTradeIreland team has been a great support and they don’t just provide training and leave; they are happy to go above and beyond, maintaining the relationship with individuals and companies with whom they work. 


“I would recommend that other business leaders should consider the Challenge Programme to increase innovation outputs. CDEnviro is always evolving, and the Challenge Programme has helped us to continue to do so.”

H2020 Collaborative Projects- the benefits to one local NI SME

'Collaborative Projects like those funded by Horizon 2020 can be hugely beneficial to SMEs not just because of the funding and support but also because of the network you join' Austin Tanney, Analytics Engines, Belfast (MIDAS H2020 project)

MedTech syndicate leads €1.1M investment in Ostoform
Ostoform to bring its patented technology for stoma patients to market in Europe and the US



How a simple blood test for men, could save a life
From Health News Ireland

InterTradeIreland is helping to facilitate cross-border cancer research. You can read Eddie's story to find out about clinical trials available to patients.

Ken Nelson receives his MBE

Congratulations to InterTradeIreland's Chairman Ken Nelson who received his MBE from Prince Charles in a ceremony in Buckingham Palace.

See you in September

There will be no ezine next month. Enjoy August, and see you in the autumn.

Get the Shifts- Tinder for the hospitality business
From RTE news

Get The Shifts is  based in Shannon, Co. Clare. A participant on InterTradeIreland's Elevate Programme, the business is now planning to recruit 700  staff across the island.

Tell us about a turning point in your business?
SME in the spotlight

Colm Gribben remembers very clearly his first project in the Republic of Ireland. His company Viltra, based in Newry Co. Down, was tasked with solving the waste water problems for the new visitor centre at Fanad lighthouse in Donegal. It turned out to be a crucial juncture for the business.

Colm Gribben remembers very clearly his first project in the Republic of Ireland. His company Viltra, based in Newry, was tasked with solving the waste water problems for the new visitor centre at Fanad lighthouse in Donegal. It turned out to be a crucial juncture for the business.


“It really is an iconic site, when you step off the plane at Dublin airport, you see the picture of that lighthouse. What you don’t realise it that all the landscape around it, means you have to be very creative when it comes to wastewater management. We designed and installed a bespoke system. All our skills came in. That’s when we got the reputation as real problem solvers across Ireland” says Colm.


A Crucial Decision

Viltra has been in business for 13 years. Their clients in Northern Ireland now include the National Trust. However, at one point, it was touch and go. The property crash had a big impact on the business. “We were in survival mode. I realised that if we were going to keep going I had to look elsewhere. We looked at new technology and new markets. I vowed that we would never be reliant on one market again. Diversifying was key for us” says Colm.


Funding up to 50% for a sales person

Colm applied to InterTradeIreland’s sales and marketing programme, Acumen. Under the programme his company was eligible to get 50% funding towards the salary of a sales person to grow his business cross-border.  “Having a guy out on the road for us in the South, made a huge difference. He built a database of architects and engineers, he was knocking doors and then one day, we got an enquiry about Fanad lighthouse. Now 25 to 30% of our turnover comes from Ireland and I’m confident it will grow” adds Colm.


“If you have the chance to do the Acumen programme, what’s stopping you? Right from the beginning, when you first start to talk to someone about Acumen, you are learning. The application process and the advice the consultants gave me as part of the programme was a big help. It was like I had 10 people working for me. I learned an awful lot about my competitors and the market I was trading into.”


If you would be interested in taking part in Acumen to grow your business, gain new customers and new sustainable income, you can find out more at www.intertradeireland.com/acumen



Find out more about Colm's journey below.

InterTradeIreland - Viltra (Acumen Programme)



Open Innovation Workshop & Platform launch for SMEs - Oct 24th - Belfast

An open innovation master class for SMEs and the launch of the All Island Open Innovation Platform (AIOIP).

Take the HSA’s online Chemical Usage Survey and be in with a chance to win an iPad

The Health & Safety Authority is inviting all companies using or trading products containing chemical to participate in its survey.

The aim of the survey is to establish the general levels of awareness and knowledge among Irish companies of EU chemical legislation. In light of the UK vote to leave the EU, the survey will also gather information on the potential impacts this may have on the trading of chemicals between the UK, Northern Ireland & Ireland.


It will also help identify aspects where companies may need more support to achieve regulatory compliance when the UK exits the EU in 2019. Businesses and workplaces using or trading products containing chemicals are invited to complete the survey and be in with the chance of winning an iPad. Click here to begin https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NBRWJFC





Getting Ireland Brexit Ready - Monaghan

FREE event for SMEs with an interest in the business, agri-food / fisheries and tourism sectors.

Venture Capital Conference: March 7th, Dublin

The 2019 InterTradeIreland Venture Capital Conference will be taking place in Croke Park, Dublin. SAVE THE DATE.

The 2019 InterTradeIreland Venture Capital Conference will  take place on March 7th, in Croke Park, Dublin.


The focus of the conference will be the "Fundamentals of Securing Investment" and is expected to bring a capacity audience of more than 300 delegates; that will include entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, business angels, other investors and start-ups seeking funds. 


With VC funding at record levels, this is the perfect time to secure capital .Tech firms on the island raised close to a record €1bn last year. In addition, since the onset of the credit crunch in 2008, more than 1,450 SMEs have raised venture capital of €3.6 billion.

More details including registration, will be in next month's ezine.  It may be wise to save the March 7th date in your calendar now.


6th December - Equity Advisory Clinic - Galway
Venture Capital Conference 2019- 7th March 2019

Steve Collins founder of Havok and Frontline Ventures Partner confirmed as keynote speaker. This year's theme is Securing Seed and Growth Funding in Ireland and the UK. Each year this conference attracts a large crowd so register your place now.

28th February, Funding Advisory Workshop, Athlone
28th February, Galway, Market Access to the UK for Life Sciences
7th March, Belfast, Tendering In The Public Sector Construction Market