Digital Process Innovation (offer under Agile Innovation Fund)

The aim of the Digital Process Innovation offer is to incentivise and support companies to invest in the implementation of new or significantly improved digital production methods, digital service delivery or organisational methods that will increase their operational effectiveness, leading to greater productivity and competitiveness.

Under Ireland’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) (2021-2026), projects supporting the digital and climate transition of enterprise are being funded through the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility. This offer covers projects that will support the digital transition of the company, driving increased adoption and diffusion of digital technology or projects that will accelerate decarbonisation of the enterprise sector.

What is a Digital Process Innovation project?

An eligible Digital Process Innovation project will involve implementing a new way of working for the company that leads to an increase in quality, speed, dependability, or flexibility of the company’s operations.

The project must be innovative and involve some risk of failure and must not be focused on routine operational changes or responding to changes in regulation.

Projects should include:

  • The introduction of new or significantly enhanced digital or automation technology systems for company operations and/or,
  • The introduction of new or significantly enhanced digital experience for customers (digital products or services), including new digital business models and/or,
  • The implementation of new production methods for enhanced sustainability including significantly reduced waste, emissions, or increased materials reuse in terms of circular economy practices.

The level of innovation is considered relative to the current state of the company rather than the state of the art in the industry. The aim is to support a step-change in the company capability and operational effectiveness.

Are there examples?

Examples of process innovation in manufacturing environments could include (but are not limited to) implementation of:

  • New digital production, manufacturing or planning systems – e.g., Enterprise Resource Planning / Manufacturing Execution Systems / Supply chain / Sales & Order Planning
  • New systems for automated or semi-automated data capture to improve operational effectiveness – e.g., machine data capture, sensors, touch-based operator panels.
  • New automated manufacturing or production processes – e.g., collaborative robots
  • New systems for automated inspection or quality management – e.g., Artificial Intelligence based visual inspection
  • New systems for faster changeover speeds to increase flexibility.
  • New processes to get the best out of equipment and systems – e.g., OEE, TPM practices.
  • New systems for materials handling – including circular economy projects.

Examples of process innovation in non-manufacturing environments could include (but are not limited to) implementation of:

  • Significant automation of previously manual processes to scale – including robotic process automation.
  • Implementation of new information management systems to inform and drive the business – including Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Advanced visualisation systems.
  • Design and implementation of automation in digital customer service or support systems

Examples of the Implementation of new organisational methods could include:

  • Implementation of digital innovation or continuous improvement or visual management systems across an organisation
  • Implementation of new product or service development methods where there is Customer / Supplier / Partner co-design and co-creation.
  • Implementation of significantly new digital business models
  • A Digital Process Innovation project could include a combination of activities spanning any of the above examples.

Am I eligible?

All established, registered, Irish based manufacturing or internationally traded services company that are trading with positive EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization). For companies who are not EBITDA positive contact your Business Adviser in the LEO.

Client companies of the Local Enterprise Offices are eligible to apply if they employ 5 or more full time staff, are in business for 2 years or more and are trading internationally in manufacturing or in an eligible services industry.

Applicants must be able to show adequate cash resources to implement the proposed project.

What costs are eligible?

Costs that can be supported relate to the implementation of the new process, delivery or organisational method and may involve technical as well as non-technical staff. Eligible costs may include:

  • Salary costs for the time staff are working on the project.
  • Overheads costs (calculated at 30% of the above salary costs)
  • Reasonable external consultancy costs
  • Materials costs for materials only used for the project.

Note that the eligible costs do not include capital equipment. The primary costs supported are staff time for a core team to implement the new methods as well as external consultancy where required.

What activities are eligible?

Eligible activities can include:

  • Staff time in design, specification, development, configuration or implementation of new production, delivery, or organisational methods
  • Consultancy time for design, specification, or implementation of the process innovation(s)
  • Specialised training where required for staff as part of the implementation (non-routine)

It is important that the team defined in the application are people who will dedicate a considerable proportion of their time to the project to implement what will be a significant step up for the company in terms of operational effectiveness.

The project must involve some level of innovation and risk and must not be focused on routine operational changes or responding to changes in regulation. Ineligible activities include:

  • Sales or Business Development activities
  • Routine business operations
  • Outsourced IT installations – such as installing new accountancy systems.

It is important that the company staff are a key part of the design and implementation of new processes or systems so that there is an increase in the capability of the company because of the project.

What is the maximum funding level?

The maximum grant rate for Digital Process Innovation is 50% of the eligible costs, up to a maximum grant of €150,000. These limits apply to both SMEs and Large companies. Note that support for Digital Process Innovation for Large companies is de minimis funding. Consult your agency advisor for more information.

Grant Rates & Support

Small Companies

Medium Companies

Large Companies

Maximum Grant

Digital Process Innovation Projects50%50%50%€150,000

How do I apply?

Please contact your Local Enterprise Office Executive who will support you to make an application.  Find your Local Enterprise Office