Enterprise Minister, Arlene Foster, has presented the 100th Invest Northern Ireland Innovation Voucher to Craigavon based Access Needs Ltd.
Invest NI’s Innovation Voucher initiative was launched in June 2008. Small enterprises can apply for Innovation Vouchers, up to a maximum value of £4,000, which they can redeem against the cost of practical advice and expertise on specific operational projects, to help take the business to the next level.
Access Needs, which supplies bespoke portable and semi-permanent access ramps, intends to use the voucher to exploit business opportunities within the Republic of Ireland marketplace.
Presenting the voucher to Access Needs, Arlene Foster said: “Invest NI’s Innovation Voucher initiative enables small businesses to use specialist knowledge providers to explore a business problem or opportunity.
“Access Needs is seeking to build on its success to date by engaging with experts to assess the commercial opportunities for its innovative product range in export markets, initially in the Republic of Ireland.
“Invest NI has committed £900,000 towards Innovation Vouchers, which are particularly attractive to small enterprises, whether Invest NI clients or not. They enable local companies to invest for the future and maintain a strategic focus during the current global economic downturn.”
Kenny Moffett, Managing Director of Access Needs, said: “As a small company we recognise the significant potential benefits to be gained from being innovative and conducting research. We have built a strong reputation locally for both portable and semi-permanent access ramps and, with disabled access legislation and provision now commanding increased attention, there are opportunities to grow further.
“The expertise available to us under the Innovation Voucher initiative will be a strong tool in our decision making process as we seek to expand, and will help us to establish a foothold in new markets.”
The Innovation Voucher scheme will re-open for applications from 1February until 28 February 2009. Interested companies can find out more information and apply at www.innovationvouchers.com