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Vital initiative aims to produce commercial successes

By Clare Weir

Engineering, technology, new media, agri-food and IT experts are invited to help 140 good ideas become commercial successes.

In just six months, the £2.56m Vital initiative has built a database of proposed innovations, which are currently being assessed.

The Vital project – a partnership between Dundalk Institute of Technology, Queen's University Belfast and Dublin City University – operates across Northern Ireland outside greater Belfast and in the Republic's six border counties.

It will provide assistance with fast-tracking the product idea or technology to market by matching the idea with another experienced business or entrepreneur.

Vital is now bringing a series of workshops to Drogheda, Monaghan, Newry and Portadown.

The workshops are designed to share information with local businesses and explain how entrepreneurs can access the ideas bank and progress development.

Vital director Kieran Fegan said it has created a pool of evaluated ideas and technologies and is actively seeking firms and entrepreneurs in the border areas who might be in a position to bring them to market.

"We are encouraging business people from mainly engineering, technology, new media, agri-food and IT backgrounds to join us at the workshop and find out more about how we can help match them to good ideas," he said.

"Vital is also interested in hearing from those with good ideas who might want to submit their idea to the project for evaluation and match consideration.

"Vital offers a very viable progression route for those with a good idea who don't believe they are best placed to take it to market."

Sinead Cahill from Queen's University in Belfast said: "This is an entirely new approach to pump-priming the Northern Ireland and border county economy and we are appealing to SMEs, seasoned entrepreneurs and individuals with a successful track record who might be looking for new ideas to get involved.

"Availing of this project opportunity is a way for local SMEs and entrepreneurs to get their hands on great new ideas and generate profits."

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