EU support helps Northern Ireland SMEs to succeed

Each year, on Europe Day, we highlight the contribution of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to companies throughout Northern Ireland.

Europe Day is an annual celebration of peace and unity in Europe and designated as 9 May each year.

As an Intermediary Body for the ERDF we administer programmes, part funded by the EU, to support companies.

The European Sustainable Competitiveness Programme 2007–2013, has now drawn to a close and has helped to promote investment in research and technological development and encourage enterprise and entrepreneurship right across Northern Ireland.

We have supported over 2000 companies through many programmes including the Management Information System (MIS) Programme, Grant for Research & Development and the Design Service Programme.

European Sustainable Competitiveness Programme success stories

There have been numerous success stories of companies who have received support through these programmes which focussed on small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). It has helped businesses to grow and improve their productivity and capability, supporting the sustainability of the Northern Ireland economy.

“We have sought funding to support a number of initiatives across employment, marketing and new product launches in the UK and internationally, which have helped the overall growth of our company. Johnny Choda, Vita Liberata

Vita Liberata received support through our MIS Programme which Johnny Choda, CEO of Vita Liberata said “Vita Liberata has been working closely with Invest NI to enhance existing systems and processes including investment in our I.T. and information systems to support the fast growing international elements of our business.

“This has all contributed greatly to the building of an infrastructure to support our growth to date and ongoing international business development. Invest NI has been instrumental in supporting us, not just financially, but with advice and input along the way.”

Ocean Veg Ireland received support through our Grant for R&D. Kate Burns, Managing Director of Ocean Veg Ireland said “The support from Invest NI through their Grant for R&D has been critical to the success of our ongoing business strategy. Creating our innovative and fabulous ready to use kelp noodle products has taken a year of research and development, but now we are poised to go to the market with an up scaled model for kelp production that provides product consistency, increased volume and retains organic and authentic provenance.”


See.Sense. based in County Down, also received support through our Design Service. Irene McAleese, Co-Founder of See.Sense. said “We specialise in bike lights with intelligent sensors. Invest NI’s Design Service was incredibly important in helping us to engage with our customers, not only in terms of how they use the product but also the look and feel and how they ultimately perceive our product.”

New EU Investment for Growth and Jobs Programme

Invest NI is managing some £170m under the EUIGJ programme which represents a significant investment in the Northern Ireland economy.

The new EU Investment for Growth and Jobs Programme (EUIGJ) commenced on 1 January 2014 and will run until the end of December 2023. Under the EUIGJ, we will be responsible for administering ERDF funding to address Northern Ireland’s key development needs. The funding will focus on strengthening research, technological development and innovation, enhancing the competitiveness of SMEs and supporting the shift towards a low-carbon economy.

The main areas of support to SMEs will be through assistance for research and development, our Design Development Programme, through equity and loans made available through our Access to Finance Strategy and local council activity.

For further information on the EUIGJ or other EU funding please contact the EU Support team, Tel 0800 181 4422.