BUCANIER To Boost Irish SMEs With €2.9m Innovation Support Package

A €2.9million EU-funded initiative was today launched in Wexford to provide specialist support to 120 small businesses in the food and drink, life sciences and renewable energy sectors.  The ICT, manufacturing, business services and creative industries will also benefit from the initiative which is designed to help Irish and Welsh SMEs boost trade through the design and development of new products and services.


BUCANIER To Boost Irish SMEs With €2.9m Innovation Support Package


BUCANIER (Building Cluster and Networks in Innovation Enterprise and Research) will see Institute of Technology Carlow, Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) and Wexford County Council work as a collective with Pembrokeshire County Council, Carmarthenshire County Council and Swansea University Medical School in Wales for the benefit of 120 small businesses in Ireland and Wales. The rationale behind BUCANIER is the successful partnering of higher education institutions and public bodies to bring about innovation and greater productivity for small businesses along the Irish seaboard.


Small businesses, individuals and researchers in the food and drink, life sciences and renewable energy sectors in counties Wicklow, Kildare, Waterford, Carlow, Kilkenny, Wexford, Cork, Tipperary and Kerry will benefit from the initiative in addition to their counterparts along the west coast of Wales. BUCANIER is funded through the European Regional Development Fund as part of the Ireland-Wales cooperation programme.



By August 2020, the BUCANIER programme aims to see: 120 SMEs supported; 15% full-time equivalent employment increase in supported enterprises; 60 new-to-firm products introduced amongst supported enterprises; six new-to-market products introduced amongst supported enterprises and two new or enhanced cross-border networks delivered.


BUCANIER plans on delivering on its objectives through: applying design-based innovation to bring new products and service ideas close to the commercial market; business mentoring; innovation master classes and special events; and creating new networks between Wales and Ireland for the benefit of same sector enterprises. BUCANIER also intends to increase the number of cross-border collaborative research, development and innovation (RD&I) clusters and networks between research institutions and SMEs.


The launch of BUCANIER, which took place at Wexford County Council offices, was attended by all the project partners.


Tom Banville, Head of Enterprise at Wexford County Council, commented during the BUCANIER launch, “Wexford County Council is delighted to be involved as a partner in the BUCANIER project as it links with the Local Enterprise Offices’ mission to promote entrepreneurship and develop existing small business to drive job creation and to provide accessible high quality supports for business ideas.”


Speaking at the BUCANIER launch, Brian Ogilvie, Head of Research and Commercialisation Support at Institute of Technology Carlow commented, “Institute of Technology Carlow is excited to be involved in this Ireland Wales project which will deliver supports to 120 enterprises.  The importance of BUCANIER to regional development stems from the opportunities which cross-border collaborations facilitate to address shared challenges in both countries. It is through these valuable relationships, connections and the sharing of expertise that sustainable solutions, through innovation, are built to assist economic and societal development”.

Commenting on the BUCANIER launch, Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) CEO, Jim O’Toole said: “As Ireland’s Seafood Development Agency, BIM is delighted to partner on BUCANIER, a project that links with our focus on driving innovation across Ireland’s €1.15 billion seafood industry. The seafood sector employs over 14,000 men and women, many of whom work in or support small to medium seafood enterprises. This extensive project allows these businesses access to a variety of expertise and financial supports that will drive innovative opportunities and support to coastal communities and the wider industry”.


About Institute of Technology Carlow
Since its founding in 1970, Institute of Technology Carlow has generated over 50,000 graduates. It currently ranks as the 4th largest of Ireland’s 14 Institutes of Technology with more than 8,000 students and 800 staff. Institute of Technology Carlow provides higher educational programmes, and research and enterprise development opportunities, through centres in Carlow, Wexford, and Wicklow. The Institute offers more than 80 taught programmes to Level 10 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) and boasts the second-highest percentage of postgraduates in the IoT sector. Institute of Technology Carlow has the highest percentage of Lifelong Learners in the higher education sector, which reflects its commitment to providing higher educational opportunities for all.


About BIM:
Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), the Irish Sea Fisheries Board is the Irish State agency with responsibility for developing the Irish Sea Fishing and Aquaculture industries. BIM provides commercially relevant and innovative services to the Irish seafood industry that drive growth opportunities, add value, enhance competitiveness and create jobs in a sustainable, natural resource based industry for the benefit of coastal communities. www.bim.ie


About Wexford County Council:
Wexford County Council is one of 31 local authorities in Ireland and serves a population of just under 150,000 citizens. The Council delivers more than 190 different services on a daily basis across 45 locations throughout County Wexford. Its principle services include housing and community, roads and transportation, urban planning and development, amenity and culture, and environment. These are delivered through the broad headings of policy development, policy implementation, service delivery and regulation.


About the Ireland Wales programme:
The Ireland Wales 2014-2020 European Territorial Co-operation (ETC) programme is a maritime programme connecting organisations, businesses and communities on the west coast of Wales with the southeast coast of Ireland. The programme is one of a family of ETC programmes which provide opportunities for regions in the EU to work together to address common economic, environmental and social challenges. The Ireland Wales programme focuses on seeking solutions to shared challenges on both sides of the Irish sea, to improve the economic and sustainable development priorities of Wales and Ireland. The overall value of the programme is €100m, utilising €79m from the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

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