Belfast Telegraph

Cross-border scheme to boost business launched in Newry

A new scheme aiming to trawl, assess and screen more than 600 business ideas from a range of sources in cross-border areas was launched yesterday at Narrow Water Castle near Newry.

The £2.56m Vital cross-border initiative, funded by INTERREG IVA Programme and the Northern Ireland and Irish governments, will focus on Northern Ireland (outside the greater Belfast area) and the six border counties of Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Louth, Monaghan and Sligo.

The scheme aims to screen and assess an initial 600 ideas. This number will be reduced through further testing to 160 commercially viable ideas before reaching a final shortlist.

Kieran Fegan, director of the Vital project, said: "The Vital scheme targets the border areas because of the need for economic pump-priming. It is a process of sourcing, screening and assessing ideas for an ideas repository and we aim to start with a crop of more than 600 ideas. Following a rigorous triage we will then have 30 viable projects."

The ideas will come from a wide range of sources including inventors, industry, markets, third level sector, patent databases, employees and managers, licensing opportunities and international opportunities.

The Vital initiative will then provide assistance with fast-tracking where appropriate, the route to market through one-to-one mentoring, consultancy, access to market knowledge and priming funding if required.

Belfast Telegraph