Sep 23, 2004

Local companies will be briefed about European sources of finance for new technology and bright ideas at a one-day seminar organised by the Innovation Relay Centre (IRC), part of Invest NI, in Belfast next month.

The seminar is free to local companies and is being held on 6 December in the Ramada Hotel, Belfast. It will signpost sources of expert advice for small to medium sized enterprises available through the IRC in Northern Ireland, part of a European Commission-funded network to support companies and research centres with innovative technologies.

Prof Fabian Monds, Invest NI Chairman, will chair the seminar’s morning session, which will be addressed by Dr Uffe Bundgaard-Joergensen, a leading European expert on how SMEs can access funds to turn bright ideas into commercial success. He is also a founder member of Gate2Growth, a European Commission-backed internet service that promotes business innovation and entrepreneurship.

Urging companies to take advantage of the seminar and IRC’s services, Tracy Meharg, Invest NI’s Managing Director of Innovation and Capability Development Services, said: “As the need for new ideas becomes increasingly important because of the pace at which technology is reducing the life of products, the ability to finance and manage innovation becomes an essential requirement.

“Thus Invest NI’s strategic focus on encouraging the commercialisation of innovation by individual companies and research centres includes a commitment to help in pinpointing finance that best suits their needs.
“This seminar will show companies how the IRC network can help them find a broad range of advice and support, including providers of venture and seed capital funds, from European sources,” she added.

Other keynote speakers include Richard Hadden, Manager of the Invention and Innovation Programme at NESTA (The National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts), the largest source of seed investment for early-stage businesses in the UK. Ian Coulter of Belfast-based Tughan Solicitors will cover legal aspects of innovation, such as intellectual property and patent rights.

Dr Hugh Cormican, Managing Director of Andor Technology, Belfast, and Colin Walsh of Crescent Capital, Belfast, will also present a case study of how this technology-led company used venture capital to achieve faster growth in international markets.

Nigel Carr, Invest NI’s Innovation, Research and Technology group, will outline funding for innovation available through Invest NI.

Companies wishing to attend should contact: Marshall Addidle on (0)28 9262 3181, e-mail

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