Local companies benefit from Invest NI innovation vouchers to drive growth
Companies in the North West have benefitted from Invest Northern Ireland’s Innovation Voucher Programme to drive business growth.
An Invest NI Innovation voucher offers SME’s up to £5,000 to tap into expert research and advice at a college or university in Northern Ireland or ROI.
With the support of the Invest NI innovation voucher we’re not only investing in new product and service offerings but reimagining our own internal processes which is helping us to drive global sales.
Mark Nagurski, CEO, Makematic
Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI’s Director of Innovation, Research & Development said: “Now more than ever, it’s important for businesses to seek opportunities to innovate, to help drive business growth and resilience.
“During COVID-19, businesses like Indian restaurant Saffron used our innovation vouchers to work with experts at North West Regional College who helped it to develop a new sauce range and diversify into the retail sector. This range is now being sold in supermarkets in the Republic of Ireland. An innovation voucher also enabled education specialist Makematic to work with Ulster University to explore innovative options for content and delivery of specialist training. As a result, the company has achieved significant international sales of its educational video and animation content, helping teachers and students learn in new ways."
Invest NI has committed a further £4.5million to support innovation voucher projects over the next five years.
Vicky continued: “These are only a few of the successes. We want more local businesses to build for the future by recognising the many benefits of engaging in innovation and take advantage of the full range of Invest NI support on offer. I would encourage businesses in the Derry City & Strabane District Council area to get in touch and see how we can support you to grow your business.”
Now more than ever, it’s important for businesses to seek opportunities to innovate, to help drive business growth and resilience.
Dr Vicky Kell, Director of Innovation, Research & Development, Invest NI
Speaking about the benefits of the Innovation Voucher Programme, Mr Suki Nagra of Saffron said: “We have completed two innovation voucher projects with the team in Foodovation at North West Regional College. The vouchers enabled us to develop a range of ready meals and retail sauce recipes, scale up production, and ensure enhanced food safety measures as well as undertaking shelf life assessments. This expertise helped us to develop and launch a new product range; our first step into the retail sector. We have already experienced strong sales and won our first ever Great Taste Award in 2020 for our new Makan sauce.
“We are currently working on another innovation voucher, which is going to help us expand our retail offering with anticipated demand set to increase our retail sales by over 150 per cent. Despite the impact of COVID-19, the innovation vouchers have made our business much more resilient. We are very excited about what the future holds.”
Despite the impact of COVID-19, the innovation vouchers have made our business much more resilient. We are very excited about what the future holds.
Mr Suki Nagra of Saffron
CEO of Makematic, Mark Nagurski said: “We’re constantly looking at how we can develop better solutions for our clients and partners to help them make better educational videos – and connect them to audiences in unique ways.
“With the support of the Invest NI innovation voucher we’re not only investing in new product and service offerings but reimagining our own internal processes which is helping us to drive global sales.”
Invest NI’s Innovation Voucher call opened for applications on 18th January 2021 and will close on Friday 5th February 2021 at 3pm. To apply go to www.investni.com/innovation-vouchers