Interreg InnoCom Project

Carlow County Council recently participated in an international exchange with CCI Hauts-de-France, a significant initiative aimed at fostering collaboration, sharing best practices, and exploring opportunities for economic development and innovation. The delegation from Carlow County Council, including representatives from the County Carlow Chamber of Commerce, Industry & Tourism, and SETU, engaged in a series of meetings, presentations, and site visits from 7th to 8th February 2024.

InnoCom is a €1.5m EU-funded project under Interreg Europe, and partners are working to remove obstacles that keep SMEs from accessing support offered by regional and municipal governments, making communications between institutions and SMEs less bureaucratic and more user-friendly.

Speaking about the project, Kieran Comerford, Head of Economic Development & Enterprise, said, “Engaging in EU projects is not just a strategic move; it's a passport to innovation, collaboration, and growth. Businesses that embrace these projects open doors to diverse markets, foster cross-border partnerships, and navigate the future with a global perspective, reaping the rewards of shared expertise and collective progress.”

The main program took place at the Hauts-de-France Regional Council on 8th February, featuring a comprehensive agenda covering regional characteristics, good practices in European affairs, and economic development initiatives. Highlights of the agenda included presentations by key Hauts-de-France officials, such as the Vice President and Deputy General Director, Erwin SIWERIS from Interreg Europe, and various project officers from the European Affairs Directorate.

Key sessions included an overview of Hauts-de-France territorial and institutional characteristics, European Affairs Directorate's "Good Practices," and stakeholder experiences, with a focus on communication strategies. Stakeholder sectors, including NORLINK – Transports and Logistics Federation, and territorial approaches by SOFIE Agency – Economic Development Agency and DAMPE – Dedicated Regional Council Team, were also covered.

Carlow participants also engaged in a stakeholder site visit to EURATECHNOLOGIES – a startup incubator and accelerator, and CITC – European Digital Innovation Hub. These visits allowed the Carlow delegation to witness firsthand the innovation and technological advancements in the Hauts-de-France region.

Speaking about the visit, Brian Ogilvie, Head of Research and Commercialisation Support at South East Technological University, said, “It's great to see these spaces and to bring this learning back to Carlow. Innovation hubs serve as the beating heart of progress, fostering an environment where creativity converges with collaboration. These hubs are not merely physical spaces; they are dynamic ecosystems that fuel the spirit of exploration and experimentation. By bringing together diverse minds, skills, and perspectives, innovation hubs become catalysts for transformative ideas and solutions.”

As part of the program, the delegation visited CCI Grand Lille – Chamber of Commerce and Industry, gaining insights into direct support to SMEs, and Carlow Chamber met privately with CCI Grand Lille. Speaking about the visit, Brian O’Farrell, Chief Executive with County Carlow Chamber, said, “Global success is not merely a destination but a journey fueled by the power of international connections, and as a Chamber, we are keen to develop, embrace, and increase the level of connections internationally with County Carlow companies and utilize them as a catalyst for job creation and development in our County.”

Commenting on the visit, Cllr. Andrea Dalton, Cathaoirleach of Carlow County Council said, “I am delighted to hear the outcome of this visit as part of the InnoCom project. For us as a Council, EU funding serves as a catalyst for progress, empowering initiatives that might otherwise remain dormant. It is not merely financial support; it is an investment in the collective prosperity by fostering innovation, sustainability, and cross-border collaboration. EU funding propels us towards a future where shared resources pave the way for shared success.”

The visit was attended by Brian O’Farrell, County Carlow Chamber, Chief Executive of County Carlow Chamber, Colin Duggan, Vice President of County Carlow Chamber, Brian Ogilvie, Head of Research and Commercialisation Support at South East Technological University, Melissa Doyle, Business Advisor, Stacey Phelan, EU Project Coordinator, and Kieran Comerford, Head of Economic Development & Enterprise.

The InnoCom International Group will visit Carlow in September 2024.

For further information, contact Kieran Comerford on 086-8252037 or via email at

InnoCom Project