Firms to be given the chance to enage with border county entrepreneurs

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The partnership behind a new business ideas bank created for entrepreneurs in the border counties and Northern Ireland is hosting a series of consultations with the aim of exploring viable commerical business proposals.

The €2.56m VITAL initiative funded by the EU’s INTERREG IVA Programme is a partnership between Dublin City University, Queens University Belfast and Dundalk Institute of Technology.

It has already identified over 60 innovations and technologies which have been assessed by technology and commercial teams contracted by VITAL.

Kieran Fegan, Director of the VITAL project based in Dundalk Institute of Technology said the consultations will provide an unusual opportunity for existing SMEs and experienced entrepreneurs to consider innovative business ideas which have been assessed by experts.

“We are hosting a short series of one-to-one consultations for entrepreneurs and companies who are genuinely interested in the ideas we have assessed.

“We have business cases, fast track to market support and a priming capital fund of €5,000 to €15,000 per project which successful matches can apply for,” says Mr Fegan.

“The priming capital can be used for prototype development, market visits, product trials and so on,” he says.

The VITAL initiative became operational in October 2013 and has already built a sizeable data base of ideas and technologies with which it aims to encourage business people to embrace and commercialise.

“We are encouraging business people with an interest in mainly engineering, ICT, agri-food and renewable greentech backgrounds to make contact,” says Mr Fegan.

Dermot Short, MD of new company, EazyICE Ltd, says: “Initially when I registered with VITAL, I told the project manager that I was looking for a new business opportunity.

“VITAL and I discussed a few potential business ideas and one which caught my interest was a very innovative product for the fishing industry.

“A meeting was arranged with the inventor and it has all taken off from there.

“I have now set up a new company and with further assistance from VITAL we have been carrying out a feasibility study and market research and are now preparing ambitious plans to commercialise the technology.

“I am currently seeking VITAL assistance with the cost of the prototyping through its priming capital fund”.

VITAL facilitates the matching process and can then provide assistance with fast-tracking the product idea or technology to market.

To see what opportunities are on offer and to book in for a one-to-one consultation please go to, email or contact Kieran Fegan on 00353 (0) 87 417 4681

The consultations will be held in:

Queens University on March 3

Dublin City University on March 10

Dundalk Institute of Technology on March 12

The Clarion Hotel, Sligo on March 31