Leslie Morrison, Chief Executive of Invest Northern Ireland today presented 21 local individuals and companies with almost £1 million to help them test the technical feasibility and commercial viability of innovative new products and services.
The projects recognised by Invest NI came from a diverse range of sectors including medical, energy, food, automotive and construction.
The support was provided as part of the SMART Awards, a UK-wide initiative which is delivered locally by Invest NI.
Now in its 18th year, SMART is recognised as one of the premier sources of funding for small firms and individuals in Northern Ireland, as it enables local innovation and creativity to be exploited for commercial gain in local and global markets.
Presenting the awards, Leslie Morrison, Chief Executive of Invest NI said: “The future wealth and strength of our economy depends upon those businesses which choose to focus on innovating for growth in global markets.
“Many of the necessary ingredients for business success can be found in the small firms that dominate our economy in Northern Ireland and crucially, these businesses are becoming more aware that in order to prosper they have to make innovation an integral part of their forward strategy.
“SMART provides targeted assistance for smaller firms and individuals, ensuring that these key contributors to our economic wealth and prosperity can not only take their ideas forward but that they can be commended for and supported in their endeavours.”
Invest NI is now seeking applications for the 2007 Smart Awards and the closing date is Friday 1st December 2006.
For further information or to apply, visit www.investni.com/smart or contact Paul Malcomson of Invest NI on 028 9069 8836.