American general, George S Patton said; “Accept the challenges so you can feel the exhilaration of victory”. And this is exactly what InterTradeIreland’s Challenge programme does – it challenges CEOs and MDs of SMEs to look beyond their comfort zone, helping them to innovate, diversify and take their business to the next level and reap the rewards.
Alan Morrow, Innovation Manager for InterTradeIreland, explains: “Since 2012, we have helped more than 90 companies transform the way they do business by exploiting a highly profitable route to significant growth through the Challenge programme. We help companies across the island transform their innovation process, creating viable and profitable new products and services, in a matter of months. It is proving extremely effective for past participants who are using a method which is currently in use in over £5bn worth of innovations in active development across the world.
“This year we are hoping to work with up to 25 ambitious SMEs who will benefit from around £20,000/€22,000 worth of intensive mentoring support and assistance through the Challenge Programme to help deliver seriously ambitious growth. Getting involved is free and the process starts with a one-to-one briefing session to confirm relevance.”
Initially eligible companies are invited to take part in hands-on workshops where they learn and apply a rapid commercialisation process to business ideas. They will then take on the ‘challenge’ by applying new learning, tools and techniques to their own company situation. Companies will then be asked to submit a growth plan and compete for the intensive in-company mentoring and support.
In the final stage of the programme the mentors guide companies through the delivery of their plan. This consists of up to six days of one-to-one assistance on their premises at a pace that works for them. The goal is to develop an effective business plan to incorporate innovation at the core; create up to 70 additional ideas that can be developed in the future and to learn and apply a rapid commercialisation process to ideas using techniques that minimise time, money and risk. This creates a strong culture of innovation and improves innovation management in the company.
Bangor-based Whale Pumps has successfully undertaken the Challenge Programme and Richard Bovill, Engineering Director is full of praise for what he learned. He explained; “Challenge has helped us select winning ideas much earlier in the innovation process. As a result, we now have a plan to launch six new products in the next three years that will increase turnover by around 30%.” Watch more by clicking here or visiting https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tewWg0MvJZ4&t=38s.
What are you waiting for? Take up the Challenge and find out more by clicking here or visiting http://www.intertradeireland.com/challenge/