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iOTA Roadshow At Down Business Centre Helps Local Firms Get On Innovation Track
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A recent business event at Down Business Centre centred around iOTA’s innovation progamme has been hailed as a success.

Local businesses came along to learn about the benefits of  innovation as a key tool to growth.  The iOTA Road Show in  Wednesday 4 December 2013 helped business owners and managers understand what innovation in business is, why it is important, and what helps businesses can get.

Aveen McVeigh, co-ordinator of the iOTA programme, with Down District Council Chairman Cllr Maria McCarthy and Janice Symington, Down Busines Centre manager at the launch of the iOTA Roadshow promoting business innovation.

Aveen McVeigh, co-ordinator of the iOTA programme, with Down District Council Chairman Cllr Maria McCarthy and Janice Symington, Down Busines Centre manager at the launch of the iOTA Roadshow promoting business innovation.

Funded through the EU’s INTERREG IVA Programme, iOTA offers a wide-range of innovation support to local businesses under two strands, including training, road shows, innovation mentoring and advice, workshops, clinics and master classes.

As well as attracting local businesses the Road Show’s attendees included local authority representatives, business support organisations and higher education colleges.  Down District Chairman, Cllr Maria McCarthy, welcomed guests said launching the roadshow:  “The iOTA Programme is seeking to de-mystify the process of innovation and will help build innovation into local companies’ activities.  The iOTA Programme is an exceptional opportunity for potential new or existing businesses in the Down area, and within the wider East Border Region, to learn more about innovation and develop their innovation capability by accessing new skills, expertise and knowledge.

“The aim is to target as many SME’s/individuals as possible to enhance their innovation capacity and thus contribute to the competitiveness of the East Border Region.  Individuals and companies in Down looking to develop their business should be looking at iOTA”.

Check out the iOTA website

Niall Greenan of Smartbunker, with Paul   and Down District Councill Chairman Cllr Maria McCarthy.

Niall Greenan of award winning business Smart Bunker, with Paul Miller of Horizon Two Six and Down District Councill Chairman Cllr Maria McCarthy.

The iOTA Programme is about encouraging the development of new ideas leading to improved new business services or internal processes as well as new product development, thereby, adding value and generating small business growth and development.

 The project’s overarching aim is to provide a cross border programme of innovation support to potential/existing SME’s and micro enterprises throughout the East Border Region.  The structured programme of support will include initiatives under two strands, namely: Innovation Awareness Raising & Pre-Incubation Support and Innovation Awareness Raising & Support to Existing SME’s.

Janice Symington, Manager of Down Business Centre welcomed the opportunity for guest speakers Paul Miller from Horizon Two Six and Niall Greenan of Smart Bunker, an innovative storage bunker designed and developed in Castlewellan, to give some innovation advice and direction to businesses throughout the day.

The iOTA Programme is open to individuals, SME’s and micro enterprises in the following council areas in Northern Ireland – Ards, Armagh, Banbridge, Craigavon, Down, Newry and Mourne and North Down as well as Counties Louth and Monaghan in the south of Ireland and will be delivered by a cross border consortium led by Newry and Mourne Enterprise Agency.

For further information or to participate on the iOTA Programme, please contact:   Janice Symington, Down Business Centre on tel: 0044 (0) 28 4461 6416 or email:



• The Special EU Programmes Body is a North/South Implementation Body sponsored by the Department of Finance and Personnel in Northern Ireland and the Department of Finance in Ireland. It is responsible for managing two EU Structural Funds Programmes PEACE III and INTERREG IV designed to enhance cross border co-operation, promote reconciliation and create a more peaceful and prosperous society. The Programmes operate within clearly defined areas including Northern Ireland, the Border Region of Ireland and Western Scotland.

• The INTERREG IVA 2007-2013 Programme is worth €256 million and aims to address the economic and social problems which result from the existence of borders. It has two distinct priority measures to create co-operation for a more prosperous and sustainable cross border region.

• For more information on the SEUPB please visit


 About the EBR.

• East Border Region Ltd (EBR) is a Local Authority led organisation which comprises ten Local Authorities namely; Newry and Mourne, Down and Banbridge District Councils, Armagh City and District Council, Craigavon, Ards and North Down Borough Councils in Northern Ireland and Louth, Monaghan and Meath County Councils in the Republic Of Ireland.

• EBR was established in 1976 to promote innovative, cross border economic development in the areas of agriculture, Industry, Commerce and Tourism and to improve the living conditions and employment prospects of those living in the region. EBR was awarded the role of Implementing Body in the Ireland/Northern Ireland INTERREG IIIA Programme 2000-2006 and as a result successfully implemented approximately €25 million to genuine cross border projects across the region. At present EBR has been successful in securing approximately €15 million from the INTERREG IVA Programme. EBR is a truly democratic, representative, transparent, multi skilled cross border organisation.

• For more information on EBR please visit: