'Smart' Companies Win Awards

Eleven companies have shared over £330,000 this year in the local Northern Ireland SMART competition. These awards, which are delivered in Northern Ireland by Invest Northern Ireland, are aimed at innovative individuals and small companies to help them develop their projects into viable businesses.

The companies, which were awarded up to £45,000, celebrated their achievements in a ceremony at the Balmoral Hotel, in Belfast. The winning projects covered a range of activities from electronics, animal health, communications technology, climate control and ICT to environmental improvements.

Arbarr Electronics Ltd, Antrim, aims to create an environmentally friendly airfield/ helipad system which will use solar power energy and landfill disposable batteries.

BHP Systems Ltd is developing a small anaerobic reactor targeted at the lower end of the market.

Hamilton Erskine is developing glass/ polycarbonate laminations for commercial protective purposes.

Innovation Technologies (Ireland) Ltd, Larne, is researching the processing of sewage sludge into an appropriate format for use as fuel for CHP.

InspecVision Ltd aims to develop an automatic inspection system for measuring the dimensional accuracy of flat opaque materials at a high speed.

Hilden Keg, developed by Hilden Brewery in Lisburn, is an innovative beer storage, shipping and dispensing system which will allow breweries to access the growing take home market with authentic draught beer.

Thermal Engineering Development (NI), Ballygawley, is developing a new low cost, environmentally friendly approach to climate control within supermarkets.

William Morris is developing the technical and commercial feasibility of a novel blood pressure monitor which employs state-of-the-art 3D sensors.

This year also saw the first Northern Irish winners of the SMART Micro competition which is open to individuals and micro companies (firms of less than 10 employees). There are three winners of this award.

Connect Software NI Ltd is developing a database for small to medium sized meat processors and butchers for meat traceability.

Damian Lenaghan is producing a prototype of a device that allows the viewing of media in storage.

John Milliken is designing an effective low cost device that determines the fat content of meat.

Speaking at the event, Mr Leslie Morrison, Invest NI chief executive, said:

“Our regional economy is dominated by small companies that have a vital role to play in wealth creation. The success of these small companies in SMART is one significant measure of the valued contribution they make to our increasing industrial competitiveness.

“It is on this kind of enterprise and innovation that our future economic and industrial strength depends; and all those who have participated in the SMART competition deserve recognition and commendation for their endeavours.”