Skillnet Ireland has announced the partnership of The Innovation Exchange, with the RDI Hub (Research Development Innovation Hub) based in Killorglin, Co. Kerry. The Innovation Exchange is Ireland’s innovation marketplace connecting large companies facing digital transformation challenges with technology companies that can fast-track the solution.
As the newest regional channel partner of The Innovation Exchange, the RDI Hub is a world-class centre for design-led, digital innovation located in Ireland’s South West. It focuses on digitisation, ideation and commercialisation of innovation and research in the Digital, AI, Data and related technologies’ sectors. The RDI Hub is also part of the Fexco’s Innovation division and operates as a not-for-profit public-private partnership with Munster Technological University and Kerry County Council.
There are currently six companies signed up from Kerry; one corporate, Astellas, as well as five SMEs; Graphite Note, Quodos, Galarus, Salaso and Turtle Transformation. Cork-based, RDI hub member Perkforce is also signed up.
The initiative will allow globally ambitious tech SMEs located in Kerry the unique opportunity to pitch to, and collaborate with, large companies looking to access innovation as part of a diverse and curated community of startups and scaleups. As a part of this collaboration, the RDI Hub will bring both corporate entities and scale-up businesses situated in Kerry together as members of The Innovation Exchange, expanding its growing community.
Attending the launch, Norma Foley TD, Minister for Education and TD for Kerry, said: “Ambition in any field should be limitless, but for it to be limitless we must ensure that the right supports are in place. Today we launch The Innovation Exchange, an initiative of Skillnet Ireland. It gives an opportunity to provide a level of support which will be a catalyst for so many businesses to go further and to go beyond; there is great insight here, being provided by the experts. The spirit lauded by this new initiative and development is that together we can go further and further; limitless opportunity, limitless abilities being celebrated and given an opportunity to advance.”
Speaking at yesterday’s announcement, Paul Healy, Chief Executive, Skillnet Ireland said: “Today we see the Innovation Exchange developing its footprint in Kerry as part of our drive for a nationwide expansion of this successful programme. The Innovation Exchange is serving an important role in promoting innovation and economic growth in Ireland by building deep links between SMEs and large corporations, encouraging ideation and facilitating the development of new business projects between these sectors. We encourage local SMEs and larger companies with a presence in the South West to join the programme and take advantage of the many benefits it offers.”
The aim of the Innovation Exchange is to establish a nationwide footprint by onboarding up to 10 regional channel partners throughout 2023. Earlier this year The Innovation Exchange announced its partnership with the Galway Technology Centre, which supports innovative, global trading companies in the ICT sector. The expansion of The Innovation Exchange, which currently has in excess of 350 participants, will offer even more SMEs access to the programme’s benefits, including an instant sales pipeline, market intelligence and the capability to sell to large companies
Conor Carmody, programme director of The Innovation Exchange commented on today’s news: “We are thrilled to be collaborating with RDI Hub, as we continue to bring our offering to SMEs and corporates across Ireland. Our main focus is to showcase the amazing talent and capabilities of the companies in the region, while also helping them to scale their businesses. We see this partnership with Skillnet Ireland as an opportunity to expand our network and leverage RDI Hub’s resources and expertise to support our members and drive their success.”
Liam Cronin, CEO of RDI, said: “The ethos at the RDI Hub is all about making connections for start-ups, scale-ups, SMEs, corporates, and enterprises to create, digitalise, innovate, and scale businesses for future economies. The Innovation Exchange is a perfect partnership for us as it supports the key focus of the RDI Hub of creating new jobs, products, and services in the Southwest. This is a fantastic opportunity for agile companies to innovate and solve specific problems for large corporates, and for corporates to gain fresh perspectives on their business challenges.”
Bertie Murphy, Chief Strategy Officer Fexco and RDI Hub Board Director, said: “This new partnership between the RDI Hub and the Innovation Exchange creates a brilliant opportunity for innovation between SMEs and scaled businesses. This reinforces our vision at Fexco for the RDI Hub as a key enabler of innovation. We have already achieved success at the RDI Hub in creating an ecosystem that has generated exciting new technologies, services, and jobs. This announcement provides an opportunity for the RDI Hub to further build on that success and, in addition, facilitate the ability of SMEs to introduce innovative and transformative ideas and services to larger corporations in the region.”
Skillnet Ireland has committed €5 million to fund The Innovation Exchange which is designed to address the barriers that exist for scaling companies when selling to large companies and multinationals. The programme will support over 1,000 companies between 2022-2025.
Scale-ups and corporates in the Kerry region are being encouraged by The Innovation Exchange to sign up at www.theinnovationexchange.ie.