Belfast Telegraph

A bespoke initiative that keeps companies on track

By Bernard Toal

In these recessionary times, all businesses need to be at the top of their game to survive.

They must develop products and services that satisfy customer demand, have efficient and effective internal business processes and systems, be able to promote themselves to their target market, and they must provide customer support that will keep the customers satisfied and returning for more.

All of this can seem daunting for the small business owner in particular, who is often juggling the day-to-day problems associated in running the business. How can they identify in what areas they need support? How do they prioritise that support? Who can provide the necessary expertise? How can they ensure that they embed that learning into the business? This is where iFactory comes into play.

Unlike traditional mentoring programmes, iFactory has developed the concept of the innovation agent. The innovation agent is the face of iFactory.

The agent will carry out the initial innovation analysis of the business, work with the client to develop and prioritise the innovation action plan, identify and provide the best support available. Most importantly, they work with the business owner after each individual support intervention to ensure that any new knowledge gained from that support is adopted.

This makes iFactory a very bespoke programme.

Over 150 SMEs have participated on iFactory over the last four years, receiving over 13,000 hours of direct mentoring support. We are delighted that their efforts are now being recognised and we know that many of them will continue on their innovation journey and go on to be extremely successful.

Belfast Telegraph