Small businesses in Waterford encouraged to access innovation funding

Small companies from across the region are being encouraged to put innovation at the very top of their business agenda.

To help make this a reality, Richie Walsh, Head of Enterprise with Local Enterprise Office Waterford is highlighting the new Agile Innovation Fund from Enterprise Ireland which can give local companies rapid access to innovation funding.

The new measure has been introduced by Enterprise Ireland and can help clients of Local Enterprise Office Waterford respond more quickly to market opportunities and challenges, including those posed by Brexit.

Offering fast-track approval and a streamlined online application process, the new Agile Innovation Fund will allow companies, including small companies, to access up to 45% or 50% in support for product, process or service development projects with a total cost of up to €300,000.

Responding to the export challenges and opportunities presented to companies, the new fund is designed to help companies develop new products, processes and services for new market opportunities, enabling exporters to respond quickly and maximise export performance.

Highlighting the fund to local companies, Richie Walsh, Head of Enterprise with Local Enterprise Office Waterford said: “The new Agile Innovation Fund is targeted at small companies with short product life cycles, which need to develop products rapidly. There’s a streamlined online application process for clients of Local Enterprise Offices, with fast-track approval. What will make this fund very appealing to small businesses in our county is that it can help fund areas like the development of prototypes, consultancy services and even staff salaries, where eligible.”

Investment in innovation by Irish companies has been found to be a key factor in driving their global performance. A survey of 2,000 Enterprise Ireland clients in 2016 found that those who availed of innovation supports (specifically capability, funding and collaboration support) reported on average a 67% growth in global sales.

Julie Sinnamon, Enterprise Ireland CEO said: “Investment in innovation delivers for small businesses. Enterprise Ireland has designed and tailored this new fund to precisely meet the needs of Irish companies, including small companies – substantial financial support for innovation, localisation and product development, a streamlined online application and a fast-track approval process. Enterprise innovation is a key differentiator in competitive markets and Enterprise Ireland’s Agile Innovation Fund will assist companies in their innovation agenda.This fund, which is open to clients of Local Enterprise Offices, will enable many Irish companies to respond quickly and effectively to the challenges posed for their business by Brexit.”

More information around the new Agile Innovation Fund is available through Local Enterprise Office Waterford here or by visiting