Mobile World Congress

Mobile innovators went worldwide at Mobile World Congress

Six Irish technology innovators showcased their products and services at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona (MWC22) earlier this year.

All exhibited on the Ireland Pavilion, the prestigious country stand supported by Enterprise Ireland for the duration of the event, which ran from 28th February to 3rd of March.

A further cohort of seven companies attended the event as visitors, also with the support of Enterprise Ireland.

World’s largest

All had good reason to be there.

“Mobile World Congress is the largest mobile event in the world, bringing together the latest innovation and cutting-edge technology,” says Gillian Baker, Development Adviser Digital Technologies with Enterprise Ireland.

“In 2020 it was one of the first major trade events to be shuttered as a result of the pandemic. Last year it held a scaled back version, which is why its return earlier this year, as one of the first major industry events to take place since the advent of Covid, created enormous excitement.”

Global scale

With industry leaders from around the world attending MWC22, it was only fitting that Ireland’s strength in this sector should be showcased too.

“The six Enterprise Ireland-supported companies which exhibited on the Ireland Pavilion stand were already successful in the mobile communications space, highlighting Irish capability on a global scale,” she explains.

“These Enterprise Ireland-backed companies provide products and services that cover a broad spectrum of the rapidly changing demands of mobile technology and the wider communications sectors. With over 1500 exhibitors at Mobile World Congress, it was an opportunity for them to get in front of their market and showcase their capability, raise brand awareness and gain exposure on a world stage.”

Facetime

After the challenges of the past two years, when business relationships had to be maintained or developed remotely, exhibitors were keener than ever to meet in person, says Baker.

“They were excited to get back out there in front of their business partners, to resume face-to-face business, to network and to gain exposure to potential new partners,” she says.

Enterprise Ireland supported attendees to ensure they made the most of the commercial potential such major in-person events offer.

“All scheduled back-to-back meetings over the duration of the exhibition, to ensure they maximised every opportunity the show afforded them,” she explains.

As well as providing access to its deep network of international contacts, Enterprise Ireland’s sectoral experts were on hand at to support client companies.

Six of the best

Among the companies featured at The Ireland Pavilion at MWC22 were established Enterprise Ireland client companies such as Benetel, a provider of leading-edge radio solutions for 5G disaggregated RAN and 4G/LTE Small Cells. It works with leading vendors, partners and open initiatives such as the O-RAN ALLICANCE.

Cubic Telecom develops IoT connected software solutions to the automotive, agriculture and transport manufacturing industries. Its platform, PACE, is used by leading companies around the world including Audi, Microsoft and CNH Industrial.

Druid Software, a core cellular network software company and a leader in 5G & 4G Cellular technology will be there too. Its RAEMIS platform is used by internet service providers and enterprises for mission critical environments all over the world.

Also present was Endeavour Technology, the global leader in IoT and 5G service assurance whose nSpire product is a leading-edge state of the art SaaS platform that ensures continuously reliable connectivity for customers around the globe.

Exhibiting alongside them were early-stage Enterprise Ireland clients in the mobile technology space, Ringotel and Software Radio Systems.

Ringotel’s platform turns any VoIP phone system into a cutting-edge unified communication solution without changing existing infrastructure and setup, enabling its clients to add conference communications functionality to their phone system in less than 10 minutes.

Software Radio Systems develops open software for mobile radio wireless networks. Its high-performance software radio solutions for 4G and 5G, with complete UE and RAN applications, support the creation of new mobile services. 

Value added visits

“In addition to the six Enterprise Ireland client companies taking space on the Ireland Pavilion, seven more attended Mobile World Congress as visitors,” says Baker.

“For these client companies too it was an unrivalled opportunity to meet with both new and existing partners, to showcase their latest offerings and to benchmark against the best available in the global marketplace.”

All in all, the event provided enormous value to exhibitors and visitors alike.

“We live in a connected society. Mobile connectivity solutions are already across all industries and all verticals. The advancement and roll-out of 5G will be transformative because, from smart cities to industrial IoT, the possibilities are endless,” adds Baker.

Leading the travel sector back to profitability

Irish TravelTech: Leading the travel sector back to profitability

 

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on virtually every sector, but for those in the travel industry, the past two years have been particularly difficult. However, 2022 is proving much more positive, thanks to the success of the large-scale vaccination programme. As a result, people are once more venturing back into the world, booking holidays both home and abroad. And with many seeing a boost in savings during lockdown, there is a significant appetite to splash out on luxury holidays and accommodation.

 

In fact, we are already seeing an upturn in the travel industry, with airlines, hospitality and travel companies reporting strong demand as restrictions lift. And with travel operators looking to return to profitability as quickly as possible, this means plenty of opportunity for Irish companies working in the TravelTech space.

 

“While travel trends in 2021 were mainly restricted to domestic and short-haul, in 2022, we are seeing the return of more long-haul travel, and a renewed focus on multi-generational travel as families reunite,” says Karole Egan, Senior Development Adviser for TravelTech at Enterprise Ireland

 

“We are also seeing a transition towards experiential travel and epic destinations, with people who accumulated savings over the lockdowns using these resources to create unforgettable memories. In addition, we are seeing a growing link between business and leisure travel, with people increasingly adding vacation days to business trips.”

 

As the world races towards Net Zero, a key challenge for travel operators is sustainability, especially for airlines. “Consumers are more likely to consider the green credentials of their service providers,” Karole explains. “In response, airlines including Ryanair and Aer Lingus have launched programmes to allow passengers partially or fully offset their carbon footprint. Another Irish company leading the way is fintech and business solutions provider Fexco, whose PACE platform analyses actual and predicted CO2 emissions in aircraft.”

 

Facing the challenges of Covid-19

To help answer some of these challenges, Enterprise Ireland has supported many Irish TravelTech companies during the pandemic as they worked to future proof their platforms with an enhanced focus on customer experience. 

 

“Many even came up with solutions to help travel companies navigate through restrictions during the pandemic itself,” says Karole. “For example, Irish company Daon pioneered the world’s first widely adopted digital wallet for Covid-19 credentials with its VeriFLY product. And, American Airlines turned to Dublin company LetsGetChecked to develop its new pre-flight Covid-19 testing programme in an attempt to restart international travel.

 

“However, as we now move into the recovery phase, hotel operators are facing a number of challenges as they attempt to return to profitability. For example, many are facing a significant talent challenge, as many employees chose the lengthy lockdowns as an opportunity to retrain. Automation is a key trend in improving efficiency without affecting the quality of service. Direct booking using automation gives guests a personalised service and reduces costs for the business. Irish innovators working in this space include Arvoia, Revenista and P3 Hotels.”

 

In addition, several Irish companies are offering solutions to help airlines around the world return to profitability. “Analytics, optimisation and ancillary revenue are key,” says Karole. “Irish companies leading the way with these solutions include Datalex, CarTrawler, Inflight Audio and Planitas.”


 

Success stories

 

Despite the fact that the travel industry is only in the early stages of recovery, already many Irish TravelTech companies have brokered deals with some of the biggest names in the sector – proving once again Ireland’s great reputation for providing innovative and exciting solutions.

 

“There have been several big announcements recently,” says Karole. “For example, in August 2021, Ryanair signed a license agreement with Optifly, a supplier of next generation schedule optimisation software. The airline recognised how Optifly’s scheduling software could support the company’s ambitious plans to grow traffic to 200 million passengers per annum over the next five years.

 

“Having successfully driven ancillary revenue across the global airline industry for over a decade, Irish TravelTech leader CarTrawler recently announced a key partnership with Uber. This will allow Uber users across the US to browse and select rentals using the Uber app.

 

“Finally, in December 2021, Datalex, a market leader in airline digital retail technology, announced a deal to support Virgin Australia deliver on its transformation strategy. Virgin will use Datalex’s software to help grow their revenue and enhance customer experience.”

 

These are just a few of the leading Irish TravelTech companies currently making waves in the global sector. Ireland’s excellent reputation as a hub of technology innovation will mean that there will be plenty more exciting announcements as the industry continues to recover.

Karole Egan is a Senior Development Adviser for TravelTech at Enterprise Ireland. For further information contact her at karole.egan@enterprise-ireland.com

Irish Aviation House at Dubai Airshow

How innovative Irish companies are leading the world in aviation

Every industry has been affected by the twin challenges of Covid-19 and Brexit, but it’s fair to say that one of the industries affected the most by the pandemic, in particular, is aviation. Eighteen months of grounded fleets, changing restrictions, lockdowns and reduced capacity took its toll on the industry resulting in redundancies, closures and mass disruption.

But travel remains a necessity in today’s business world, and thankfully things are finally looking up for global aviation. Mass vaccination programmes and the easing of restrictions mean that people are once again travelling abroad, and there has even been reports of pent-up demand in both business and leisure travel. While virtual platforms kept the business world ticking over during the pandemic, there appears to be a general realisation that these could never replace the power of face-to-face meetings – thus resulting in a big increase in air transit activity once restrictions were eased.

But while some semblance of normality has returned, it’s fair to say that the pandemic has resulted in huge changes for the industry.

“Companies and stakeholders are now looking for innovative solutions to substantial challenges in many areas,” says Alan O’Mahony, International Market Advisor in the Middle East and North Africa.

“With a strong and growing ecosystem that covers virtually every area of the sector, Irish companies can now offer a compelling package of solutions for every challenge faced by global aviation companies.”

 

A proud tradition

It’s no surprise that Ireland is leading the way once more as aviation enters a new age. Our long and proud history in aviation dates way back to when pioneering aviators Alcock and Brown landed in Ireland after the world’s first transatlantic flight. We also introduced the concept of duty free shopping to the world at Shannon Airport in the 1940s. Most significantly, Ireland’s Guinness Peat Aviation launched the concept of aircraft leasing in the 1970s – today Ireland commands around 60% of the global leasing market, with more than 50 aircraft leasing companies with a presence in Ireland.

 In more recent years, the concept of low-cost flying was pioneered by Ryanair in the 1990s, turning the airline into Europe’s largest by passenger numbers. We have also produced some of the most important people in global aviation today, including Alan Joyce, Chief Executive of Qantas Airways; Willie Walsh, Director General of IATA; and Michael O’Leary, CEO of Ryanair.

 Today, Ireland is home to a thriving ecosystem of 250 aviation and aerospace companies that spans all aspects of the sector, from maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) to simulation training.

“These companies have proved their resilience and flexibility by producing solutions to some of the most serious and urgent issues faced by the global aviation industry today,” explains Alan. “These include travel tech solutions, such as the world’s first widely adopted mobile health passport, VeriFLY from Daon; technical textiles, such as anti-microbial carpets from aircraft interior experts Botany Weaving; and training and development, such as simulator training for pilots and crews from Simtech Aviation. In addition, Irish MRO operators such as Atlantic Aviation Group, Dublin Aerospace and Eirtech Aviation Services have made acquisitions of facilities in Ireland and the UK to increase their capacity for international business and take advantage of the impending sharp rebound in air travel.”

 

Irish Aviation House at the Dubai Airshow 2021

To demonstrate our strong offerings in aviation’s new dawn, Enterprise Ireland launched the Irish Aviation House at the Dubai Airshow in November, the only international airshow to be held in 2021. This world-class show is known for facilitating thousands of face-to-face meetings, commercial deals and new partnerships. For example, the 2019 Dubai Airshow achieved an order book worth a staggering $54.5 billion.

The Irish Aviation House was a new collaborative concept that brought together the best of Ireland’s aviation and aerospace ecosystem under the one roof. It was designed to showcase the strength of Irish aviation stakeholders in every area of the industry, such as MRO, aircraft interiors, training & recruitment, technology, aerospace manufacturing, drones and, of course, aircraft leasing.

“Our aim was to build stronger ties between Irish aviation and aerospace companies and global aircraft lessors headquartered in Ireland,” says Alan. “We have an incredibly strong complementary offering, which along with our traditional strengths, makes up a truly compelling offer for international airlines and aviation stakeholders. Even before the show, the Irish Aviation House attracted a lot of attention from leading airlines and companies in the Middle East and worldwide.”

The Irish Aviation House proved to be the perfect showcase for innovative Irish companies in the world of aviation; a showcase that was strengthened even further by Enterprise Ireland’s hosting of a symposium event in conjunction with IATA at the Dubai Airshow, which was attended by Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar. Attendees included CEOs from some of the world’s biggest airlines, including Emirates, Fly Dubai, Egypt Air, Kenya Airways and Kuwait Airways.

Showcasing such innovative talent in the Irish aviation industry in Dubai cements Ireland’s reputation in global aviation – a reputation that we intend to nurture and grow right into 2022.

 

 

SPEEDIER breaking down barriers to energy efficiency for SMEs

“Horizon funding enables you to carry out high quality, robust research that can influence policy, and policy can change behaviour”

Dr Pádraig Lyons, Head of Group, International Energy Research Centre, and coordinator of SPEEDIER

Case Study: SPEEDIER

The European Union’s Energy Efficiency Directive has set an ambitious target of a 32.5% improvement in energy efficiency by 2030. With small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) responsible for approximately 13% of Europe’s total energy demand, their contribution to achieving the target is vital.

However, little of this potential has so far been realised with studies estimating that only 25% of SMEs in Europe have undertaken an energy audit. The reasons cited range from lack of time, resource, in-house expertise and finance, to the low priority given to energy efficiency compared to other business needs.

To address these barriers the SPEEDIER (SME Program for Energy Efficiency Through Delivery and Implementation of EneRgy Audits) project was established. Funded by Horizon 2020 and led by the International Energy Research Centre (IERC) in Cork, the project developed an integrated approach to energy management for SMEs, providing information, capacity building, energy auditing, financing, implementation of energy efficiency solutions and monitoring of impacts.

Dr Pádraig Lyons, Head of Group, IERC, and coordinator of SPEEDIER, explains how it differs from other energy efficiency supports.

At IERC we’ve done a number of projects in this space and are learning about the challenges that SMEs are facing. One of these is the difficulty getting finance for decarbonization projects. So we came up with the SPEEDIER concept which is essentially a self-funding approach to becoming energy efficient.” says Lyons

The model developed is a novel funding mechanism, which builds from no-cost energy conservation activities up to higher cost activities, using the savings from each to finance the next level of investment.

“This approach creates a revolving energy efficiency fund for the business, removing any barriers relating to lack of finance, and providing an external source of expertise via the SPEEDIER consultants,” says Lyons.

 

The advantages of collaboration

SPEEDIER involved nine partners across four countries – Ireland, Spain, Italy and Romania – testing the concept in different contexts from hotels to office blocks and across a range of manufacturers.

One of the benefits of this kind of European-wide collaboration is the information we could gather across a broad range of SME types and a wide geographical area.” 

That has enabled us to draw conclusions about how we can move SPEEDIER forward post project and how it should be tailored to different sectors and countries”, says Lyons.

Although the project was hampered by the Covid pandemic, which restricted the implementation of the SPEEDIER service across businesses and meant some targets set at the start of the project had to be revised, Lyons considers that it was a success.

“It’s less about ticking boxes to say we involved this number of companies or trained that number of consultants and more about generating interest in the concept, validating and evaluating the concept and getting companies on a path. And we’re seeing a lot of interest in the SPEEDIER approach.”

 

Focus on the learning

As coordinator of SPEEDIER, Lyons, who took over the reins mid project, is realistic about the administration that comes with involvement in a Horizon project.

“There is a lot of reporting required and as project coordinators that fell to us at IERC. It’s challenging but that’s the reality of being part of a project with this level of funding. And of course, as the coordinator you have ultimate responsibility for the project so that can be an added pressure.

“Having said that, the substantial funding that’s available from Horizon projects enables you to carry out robust research where the findings are backed up with strong evidence. That kind of research can influence policy, and policy can change behaviour. That’s really important. I believe that there is no use completing a research project and then writing a report that just sits on a shelf. Turning results into information that somebody can actually use is the vital part of any research project.

“Horizon 2020, and now Horizon Europe, offer great opportunities to carry out high quality research if you make the time and space to get involved. But you need to stay focused on the learning as well as the deliverables and objectives set out at the start of the project. It’s the learning that can be commercialized, drive policy change and create the changes that are needed.”

Horizon Europe has a budget of over  €95 billion and one of its core aims is to tackle climate change in line with the European Green Deal and boost to the EU’s competitiveness and growth through excellent research, innovation and collaboration. Enterprise Ireland provides a number of supports for institutions and businesses who are interested in participating in a Horizon Europe project.

Learn more about SPEEDIER, or for information on applying for support from Horizon Europe, the successor programme to Horizon 2020, please contact HorizonSupport@enterprise-ireland.com or consult www.horizoneurope.ie.

 

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Insights into the Commercialisation of Diagnostice webinar

Insights to the Commercialisation of Diagnostics

Enterprise Ireland UK in collaboration with Roche Diagnostics, the world’s largest biotech company and the world leader in in vitro diagnostics, examined the route to commercialisation, market access and economic modelling in this Insights into the Commercialisation of Diagnostics webinar.

Global Recovery. Irish Opportunity

International Markets Week 2021: Green agenda and digitalisation key areas for growth  

Global Recovery - Irish Opportunity

It’s been said many times that exports are crucial to Ireland’s recovery in the post-pandemic world – and Enterprise Ireland is committed to ensuring that Irish companies take advantage of the many opportunities around the world to increase their business and bolster our economy as a result.

A crucial event in the Enterprise Ireland year is International Markets Week, and this year, for the second year running, it was held as a virtual event over five busy days in October 2021.

“When Covid hit, we decided that the event was too important to miss, particularly in the context of a global pandemic,” explains Anne Lanigan, Regional Director, Eurozone, at Enterprise Ireland. “This is a time when it’s even more important for our clients to keep their exports going, so we decided to go onto a virtual platform, with our market advisors available for a full week.

“The market advisors are the boots on the floor, the people who can introduce client companies to potential buyers, so it’s a very practical week for people who want to do business.”

This year, the theme of the event was Global Recovery. Irish Opportunity, recognising that the global economy is experiencing significant disruption – but while this disruption brings challenges, there are also significant opportunities.

“Enterprise Ireland client companies enjoyed excellent overall export growth in 2019 of 8%,  with particularly strong growth in the Eurozone and North America of 15% and 16% respectively,” says Anne

 “In 2020, these figures stabilised, which was a very good result in the context of a global pandemic, but now we need to get back to 2019 levels of growth.”

Opportunities for Irish companies lie in many areas, including the green agenda and digitisation. Throughout the world, companies are investing in green and digital strategies and governments are putting stimulus packages in place to drive a recovery based on a green and digital future. This investment represents huge opportunity for innovative Irish companies.

“The current disruption in global supply chains also poses significant opportunity,” says Anne. “The drive by manufacturers in developed economies, in particular, to strengthen the reliability of their supply chains so that they are more easily accessed from a geographic and an administrative perspective, creates the opportunity for Ireland to embed themselves in these new supply chains. Ireland’s location on the edge of Europe puts us in a key position to capitalise on this move towards regionalisation of supply chains.”

 

Finding opportunities

It’s clear from this year’s International Markets Week that Enterprise Ireland client companies have recognised the importance of building a robust strategy to take advantage of these growth opportunities. A total of 710 Enterprise Ireland client companies registered for the event, booking a total of 1,663 meetings with market advisors from across the world.

To get an indication of how companies were faring as the world’s economy recovers from the challenges of Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic, Enterprise Ireland conducted a survey of the participants ahead of the event. The results were positive: 56% of businesses indicated that they have seen an increase in exports in 2021 compared to 2020, with only 11% reporting a decrease. And, 91% of companies expect sales to increase again in 2022. In terms of trends, the survey revealed that 80% of businesses viewed digitalisation as vital over the next 12 months, while 63% said that advancing their sustainability agenda was a priority.

These results proved accurate throughout the event, which was officially launched by Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar, and Enterprise Ireland CEO Leo Clancy. Lydia Rogers, country manager for Enterprise Ireland in Canada, reported a real hunger in Irish companies to take advantage of the many opportunities out there. “I met many client companies at various stages of their export journey, from those accelerating their international growth and diversifying into new global markets to ambitious start-ups keen to explore the export opportunities in Canada. The week proved that Canada is a very attractive market for Irish companies in many sectors, including cleantech, consumer retail, engineering, life sciences, fintech and BPO, and a large proportion of digital technologies companies.

“In addition, Canada was also identified by many client companies as an entry point and as a lower-cost gateway into the wider North America market.”

And, as predicted, the green agenda and digitalisation opportunities were noted by Lydia as strong trends for Irish companies looking to Canada for growth. “Our team met many companies with innovative digitalisation solutions across travel tech, retail tech, ed tech, digital health, fintech, HR & talent tech, and IoT. There were also many SMEs with innovative solutions in areas including cleantech, mobility, smart energy and environment. Consumer retail was also a significant area of interest – a sector that experienced growth in 2020 despite the challenges of Covid-19. All in all, it was clear from this year’s International Markets Week that Irish companies have recognised Ireland and Canada make great business partners and are ready to reap the rewards from this vibrant and welcoming country.”

 

View the virtual launch event from Enterprise Ireland’s International Markets Week 2021 below:

 

 

 

 

 

John O Carroll Eblana Photonics

Eurostars support invaluable for SMEs developing new products

John O'Carroll

“Eurostars funding is invaluable to small businesses as it reduces the risk involved in developing new technologies.

Eblana Photonics, lead partner on TLPON Eurostars project

Key Takeouts:

  • Dublin company, Eblana Photonics, led a small consortium whose aim was to develop novel photonic integrated circuits (PIC) for optical communication applications.
  • The project was part funded by the European Union’s Eurostars research and innovation programme which is aimed at R&D-performing SMEs.
  • The TLPON project has opened new doors for Eblana to develop PIC-based laser products for telecom and spectroscopy.

Case Study: Eblana Photonics

Dublin-based Eblana Photonics, which specialises in the design and production of advanced lasers for communications, sensing and measurement, has long appreciated the value of collaborative projects. Over much of its 20 years in operation it has drawn on the support of European funding programmes to enable it to target new markets with innovative products and establish itself as a provider of world-class technology.

Recently the company completed a project, TLPON, funded under the European Union’s Eurostars programme. Eurostars is a large international funding programme for SMEs that want to collaborate on R&D projects to create innovative products, processes or services for commercialisation.

The main goal of TLPON was the development of novel photonic integrated circuits (PICs) for optical communication applications, with the new NG-PON2 application being the primary target. NG-PON2 is a telecommunications network standard mainly for higher speed fibre to the home networks.

“TLPON was about developing a multi-channel laser approach to increasing the speed and capacity of networks to meet future bandwidth demand, which is rising because of the use of Netflix and similar media and also the increasing resolution in 4k and 8k devices,” explains John O’Carroll

 

Building the European consortium

Eblana Photonics put together a strong consortium that included Dublin City University (DCU), Foton Institute and Orange Labs, the last two based in France.

“We were able to build on our close relationship with DCU. I talked to them about this project and they were interested as it’s an area they were researching as well. Through DCU’s links with one of the French partners, Foton, we were able to bring them on board and they and in turn brought Orange Labs in as the fourth partner.

“Once we had identified the consortium, we contacted Enterprise Ireland and got great advice on what to focus on in the proposal to qualify for the Eurostars programme,” says O’Carroll.

 

The benefits of collaboration

Eblana’s experience of device manufacturing married with the other partners’ research expertise and systems knowledge created a highly effective consortium. This was underpinned by the fact that the partners’ roles within the project complemented each other, and members of the consortium had successfully worked together in the past.

“Having access to the experience of DCU and the international partners was invaluable. For example, we got feedback from Orange Labs on the requirements of an end user and we benefitted from DCU’s characterisation and device packaging expertise and from Foton’s electronic circuit design and device characterisation capabilities.”

 

Commercial application

As the project progressed, however, the NG-PON2 standard was overtaken by other standards.

“When we started TLPON there was a lot of interest in the market for next generation optical networks, and it looked like it was going to be widely applied. But during the project, some other standards came into force and the market went in a different direction,” explains O’Carroll.

“However, the research wasn’t wasted as we were able to modify it and select elements of it to apply to our products roadmap. Before TPLON we didn’t have PICs in our product range, but afterwards we were able to use the research learning to integrate a laser with a modulator.  And if NG-PON2 gains traction within the next couple of years we can turn our attention back to that and develop products in that area.”

TLPON has been transformative in developing Eblana’s capabilities in the area of photonic integration and has presented new opportunities for the company to develop PIC-based laser products for telecom and spectroscopy.

Why Eurostars?

The technologies developed with the support of EU funding have been instrumental in helping Eblana Photonics target new markets with new and innovative products over the years.

“Most of our current product portfolio has been developed with the help of a European research project; the company has benefitted immensely. As with TLPON, what we developed in the projects didn’t necessarily always end up as the commercial product, but the learning led to new products for us because we were able to look for other applications for the research,” says O’Carroll.

“Particularly in the early days of the company when we didn’t have a big R&D budget, the opportunity to be involved in EU projects was invaluable. It would have been difficult for us to risk developing something ourselves that we might not get a return on. So EU programmes such as Eurostars are of great benefit to small businesses.” explains O’Carroll

“On a personal level it’s also very rewarding, particularly for people like myself who come from a research background, as it allows you to work on projects that are outside your day-to-day job and keep up to date with new research.”

Eurostars is primarily a programme for R&D-performing SMEs.  Although universities and research organisations can take part in a project, the main project partner must be an SME.

Companies that take part in Eurostars projects typically see an average of 15% annual turnover increase, while almost 70% of them enter new markets or gain market share.

For advice or further information about applying for Eurostars support please contact David Flood or consult the Eurostars website.

 

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Large ship with containers in port

Customs – Country of Origin

When it comes to customs, the country of origin of a product is critically important. And to all intents and purposes, the world is divided in three – EU member states and preferential and non-preferential countries.

 

Preferential Countries

Goods of EU origin travel freely within the EU, with no customs to deal with. Preferential countries are those with trade agreements with the EU, and all other countries fall into the non-preferential category.

Exports to and from preferential countries are subject to the rules of the trade agreement. For Irish exporters, this means proving that the goods involved are of EU origin. Importers must establish that the goods are of preferential origin, i.e. that they came from the country with the trade agreement.

 

Non-Preferential Countries

Normal WTO rules apply to non-preferential countries. This means first establishing the origin of the goods in question and then looking up the EU TARIC site to get the code for the goods and finding the relevant tariffs and other rules such as anti-dumping or quota restrictions which might apply.

Origin is essentially the economic nationality of the goods being traded. In some cases, this is easily established. These are instances where products are what is known as wholly obtained in a country. This means they have been entirely produced in that country without any goods from other countries being utilised in the end product.

 

Value-Added Rule

This would normally apply to fruit or vegetable products or basic cuts of meat. Spanish strawberries or Dutch tomatoes would be examples.

Things get a little more complicated with prepared consumer foods like frozen pizzas or other ready meal products like lasagne. The increasingly complex and globalised supply chains involved in the manufacture of such products can call into doubt their country of origin. So, a pizza manufactured in the EU, but with many of its ingredients sourced from countries outside the EU, could present an interesting case.

Origin in these cases is determined by where what is known as substantial transformation has taken place. This is decided by the value-added rule which, broadly speaking, means where most value has been added. In the case of the Irish manufactured pizza or ready meal, if the value of the finished product is significantly greater than the sum of its third country ingredients, it is deemed to be of EU origin.

 

Certificates of Origin

Certificates of Origin are required for goods being exported to countries with trade agreements with the EU. Certificates may also be required for other countries depending on the destination e.g. certain Arabic countries. Many large exporting companies have an Approved Exporter for Simplified Origin Procedure status with Revenue, and this allows them to self-certify their exports to countries with EU preferential origin status.

Companies without this Approved Exporter status have to apply for a EUR 1 certificate from Revenue for each consignment of goods to preferential countries. For newer preferential agreements with Japan and Canada, EU exporters can simply register in the REX system, without applying to Revenue for Approved Exporter status. They can then declare their exports to Japan and Canada as having EU preferential origin by means of a statement on origin placed on an invoice or other commercial document.

Where the goods are destined for a non-preferential country, a Certificate of Origin can be obtained through Chambers Ireland or one of its members.

For further information, go to a customs broker for advice or to your local chamber of commerce. If you are still in doubt after that, you will find further information on the Origin section of Revenue’s website or contact the Revenue Commissioner’s Origin and Valuation Unit.

Paul McCloskey, Tyndall Institute

LEDLUM, a shining light in LED efficiency  

LEDLUM

Horizon 2020 was about putting together the right consortium that could do cutting-edge research and also produce something that can be commercialized in the near future.

Paul McCloskey, Head of Integrated Magnetics group at Tyndall National Institute

Key Takeouts:

  • Tyndall Institute played a key role in a recently completed project that aimed to significantly reduce the size and weight of LED drivers while increasing their lifetime expectancy.
  • The ambitious 3.5-year project received €4.1m from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.
  • The outcomes included near-market LED driver prototypes with 40% volume and 59% weight reduction, a research prototype with a volume of just 12% of current best in class, and significant advancement in the field of magnetics on silicon.

H2020 Case Study: LEDLUM

As the world faces the imminent impact of climate change, there has never been a greater focus on environmental issues nor a greater sense of urgency. While governments debate macro issues, some researchers are looking at small concerns that can have a big impact. One of these is LED drivers.

LED light bulbs are much more energy efficient and environmentally friendly than traditional bulbs. They can last up to 20 times longer than standard forms of lighting, so fewer bulbs need to be manufactured, they can be up to 80% more energy efficient than conventional bulbs and they contain no toxic elements that require specialist disposal.

The fly in the ointment, however, is the LED AC/DC converter, known as a driver, which is not only much less reliable than the bulbs themselves but also bulky and difficult to integrate into the light fitting.

This driver was the focus of LEDLUM, a Horizon 2020-funded project involving seven European partners drawn from business and academia, and over €4 million in EU funding. LEDLUM’s objectives were to make major improvements to the volume, weight, lifetime and size of the driver to create a more environmentally friendly product.

Among the partners was Tyndall National Institute in County Cork, which brought its expertise in the area of magnetics on silicon to the table. Paul McCloskey, Head of Integrated Magnetics group at the Institute, led the ‘passive components’ work package. He explains how the consortium took a pragmatic approach to achieving the project’s aims.

“Horizon 2020 projects are a combination of research that pushes the boundaries and the development of something that companies can commercialise.” says McCloskey

Within LEDLUM there was initially a little built of tension between those two objectives as the companies in the consortium were more focused on the commercialisation of a product and the universities on pushing the science. So as a consortium we came up with the idea of having two tracks. The development track aimed to get close to something that businesses could use in the near future to create a product, while the research track had a lower level of technology readiness and an emphasis on demonstrating how the challenging goals set might ultimately be achieved. I believe the project delivered on both.”

LEDLUM’s outcomes included the development of near-market LED driver prototypes with 40% volume and 59% weight reduction, a research prototype with a volume of just 12% of current best in class, and significant advancement in the field of magnetics on silicon.

“Horizon 2020 is a way of getting involved with companies that will ultimately use the science in a real-world application.” says McCloskey

One of the outcomes of this project was the licensing of Tyndall’s magnetics on silicon technology. We’ve developed a capability and reputation in this area over many years. Through LEDLUM we further developed the technology and were able to transfer it to one of the biggest silicon foundries in the world with the production scale up at a facility in Europe. That’s a major achievement for us. That’s tying our research into a real-world product,” says McCloskey.

 

Competition and support

Running from 2021 to 2027, Horizon 2020’s successor, Horizon Europe, has a €95 billion funding pot and the triple aim of developing scientific excellence, tackling global and industrial challenges and supporting innovation and inclusivity across Europe. And like Horizon 2020, it is a highly competitive arena.

“There are a lot of organizations chasing this funding. But Ireland performs above average in terms of winning this type of EU funding and Tyndall is one of the most successful institutes. We’ve been involved in these kinds of projects for many years as our research depends on securing this type of funding,” says McCloskey

To help research institutes and businesses to secure Horizon Europe funding, Enterprise Ireland regularly gives talks highlighting what Horizon calls are coming up, how to go about getting involved and how to build a consortium. They also fund travel costs associated with building the consortium and offer support to write the proposal.

 

Advantages of collaboration

Horizon 2020, and now Horizon Europe, is about putting together the right consortium that can do cutting-edge research and also produce something that can be commercialized in the near future.

“That opportunity for collaboration is hugely important. You get the chance to work with other universities and businesses throughout Europe. When you talk to companies you hear what the real-world problems are; understanding that is a terrific insight for a researcher. Overall, I found the LEDLUM project to be an enjoyable and instructive process,” says McCloskey.

For advice or further information about applying for Horizon Europe support, please contact HorizonSupport@enterprise-ireland.com or consult www.horizoneurope.ie

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A person gathering market intelligence by analysing graphs and statistics on a sheet of paper

Using market intelligence to inform your export plan

The saying that ‘knowledge is power’ is certainly true of successful exporting. Companies must use market intelligence to understand their customers’ requirements, cultural considerations, market trends and what competitors are doing, in order to succeed.

Insights gained from high-quality market research are essential for good business decisions for companies with the ambition to grow, export and, indeed, survive. While successful products and services are built on sound market research, a continual process of keeping up-to-date with business intelligence is required, which can be time-consuming and costly.

 

Market Research Centre

That is one reason Enterprise Ireland’s Market Research Centre is such a valuable resource. It is the largest repository of business intelligence in Ireland and contains thousands of world-class market research insights, available to Enterprise Ireland supported companies.

Reports include company, sector, market and country information, which help businesses to explore opportunities and compete in international markets. We use databases from blue-chip information providers such as GartnerFrost & Sullivan, Mintel and others, which provide authoritative, verified information that is independent and reliable. Some of these reports cost tens of thousands of euro individually, so the value of accessing the service is immense.

 

Using market intelligence to assess new markets

The Market Research Centre is staffed by information specialists who help clients locate the most appropriate sources of knowledge for their requirements. The specialists can track down niche market intelligence that is not available through internet research and can also facilitate access to industry analysts to provide bespoke briefings that deep-dive into subject areas.

While the UK and European markets remain vitally important for exporters, increasingly diversification into more distant markets is a strategic option. Critical to all such business decisions is access to authoritative market research.

 

Using insights to make an impact

An example of how the centre helps companies to explore opportunities in overseas markets is workforce travel company Roomex. Over the last two years, the company has targeted the UK and Germany and is now looking at the huge potential of the US market. Information specialists helped the company gain valuable insights by providing access to global company, country, market and sector data which helped the Roomex to analyse their target customer and competitor base.

Enterprise Ireland’s research hub offers access to extensive predictive research on future trends, which is invaluable for companies interested in innovation. Knowledge of what might impact a market next provides an opportunity to develop new products or solutions. There are huge opportunities arising from disruptive technologies, such as driver-less cars, but also risks to companies which are not looking ahead.

 

Growing your business using market intelligence

Companies which are serious about exporting, growing and future-proofing their business should put continuous research at the heart of their strategy.

If your company is considering expanding into new markets the Market Research Centre’s extensive resources and expertise should be your first port of call.

Contact the Market Research Centre today.

COGNIPLANT team

COGNIPLANT optimising production plants in the process industries

COGNIPLANT team

“Horizon 2020 helps us to look 10 years into the future and enables us to tap into the huge R&D capability across Europe.”

Eoin Keane, Energy Specialist, COGNIPLANT Horizon 2020 project

Key Takeouts:

  • Aughinish Alumina (AAL), part of the RUSAL group and one of the world’s major producers of aluminium and alumina, is taking part in a project to develop an innovative approach to the advanced digitization and intelligent management of production plants.
  • The COGNIPLANT project has received €8.5m in funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.
  • AAL helped to define the requirements for the design of the COGNIPLANT solution and its County Limerick facility is currently testing and demonstrating the solutions identified by the COGNIPLANT consortium.

H2020 Case Study: COGNIPLANT

A global shortage of raw materials, increasing energy prices and environmental concerns have made the goal of improving the performance and energy efficiency of process industries a European imperative.

Among many initiatives tackling the issue is the COGNIPLANT Horizon 2020 project. Using the latest developments in advanced analytics and cognitive reasoning, coupled with the digital twin concept (a computer model that simulates the operation of the plant), it aims to design a monitoring and control solution that will significantly improve the performance of production plants and reduce CO2 emissions.

The COGNIPLANT consortium involves 14 partners from universities and businesses across Europe including four production sites that are testing and demonstrating the technology. One of these is County Limerick company Aughinish Alumina (AAL), part of the RUSAL group and one of the world’s major producers of aluminium and alumina.

The best-in-class company has the reputation of being forward-thinking and innovative and has set itself ambitious carbon reduction targets. Taking part in the COGNIPLANT project was an opportunity to help develop the technology that will contribute to it achieving those targets.

“The COGNIPLANT solution is aligned with the decarbonisation goals of the company where advanced process control techniques are used to minimise energy usage,” explains Eoin Keane, AAL’s Energy Specialist

“Currently there are hundreds of sensors installed on the plant relaying information into a central data storage system. The operations teams and engineers review this information continuously to ensure the process is running smoothly. The goal of COGNIPLANT is to make this intelligence available 24/7 to the control room operator so that they can make informed decisions when the wider team is not available.”

The COGNIPLANT consortium includes expert modellers who are using the data and expertise gathered from the test sites to identify opportunities to optimise the plants. It’s an iterative process, which over the next 12 months should culminate in a packaged solution for process industries.

 

The Horizon advantage

Having been involved in Horizon 2020 projects before, AAL was aware of the benefits of pan- European collaboration.

“We’ve done Horizon 2020 projects in the past and benefitted immensely from them, including building up relationships with experts across many disciplines. When this opportunity arose, which is looking at energy-intensive industries, the co-ordinator of COGNIPLANT, Ibermática, asked us if we wanted to come on board and we were keen to get involved,” says Keane.

“Being part of COGNIPLANT gives us the opportunity to develop detailed and insightful models of the process beyond what is currently available to us. The modellers bring in expertise from many different areas that we would otherwise not be able to access.”

The sharing of knowledge between the partners in the consortium is a valuable aspect of the Horizon experience, even when it does not directly relate to the core project deliverables.

“We’ve been able to share our knowledge and experience of sensors with the lime plant in Italy which was installing a particle-size sensor and we’ve also shared our experience of data handling. We’re building connections with other industries too, for example, the group of researchers in Munich who are working in the field of chemicals in heavy industry. We’re thinking about building on that connection in the future around decarbonization and climate action goals. Horizon Europe will be the route we’ll go down to develop actions in this area,” says Keane.

On a personal level, Keane feels he has greatly benefitted from the opportunity to network with people from other disciplines and backgrounds, to get an insight into what other companies across Europe are working on and see the synergies around climate change.

 

Navigating the Horizon environment with Enterprise Ireland’s support

Identifying the best-fit Horizon project, negotiating the consortium build and keeping on top of pan-European developments can be challenging, but AAL has found Enterprise Ireland’s help to be invaluable.

“Enterprise Ireland helps to identify suitable matchmaking events for us to attend, which help in forming a consortium. They are also available to answer any questions or offer support when needed.” explains Keane

 At the moment they are helping us with the next round of calls for Horizon Europe, pinpointing future projects around climate change and the circular economy. These are areas where you need to think outside the box and that’s why Horizon is so important to us; it allows us to tap into the huge R&D capability across Europe, which is very exciting. Horizon really helps us to look 10 years into the future.”

For advice or further information about applying for Horizon Europe support, please contact HorizonSupport@enterprise-ireland.com or consult www.horizoneurope.ie

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Dr Michael Maguire, CEO AVECTAS

AVECTAS leading the way in non-viral cell engineering technology

Dr Michael Maguire, CEO AVECTAS

“Horizon 2020 was all about scientific excellence; this project allowed AVECTAS to further develop our pioneering SOLUPORE® technology within a structured framework.”


Dr Michael Maguire, Chief Executive of AVECTAS

Key Takeouts:

  • AVECTAS, a spin-out company from Maynooth University, has developed a game-changing approach to engineering cells for use in immunotherapy.
  • AVECTAS received €2m from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme via its SME Instrument.
  • This support along with that of investors was key to enabling AVECTAS to progress the commercialisation of its SOLUPORE® platform including completing successful preclinical studies.

H2020 Case Study: AVECTAS

Case Study

Cellular immunotherapy is an exciting new approach to treating cancer that offers hope to millions of people worldwide as it has the potential to cure the disease without the harsh side effects of treatments such as chemotherapy.  It involves editing genes outside the body, in effect arming them to attack and kill cancer cells when they are infused back into patients.

Generally, viruses are required to re-engineer cells but AVECTAS, a company headquartered in Dublin and with locations in Canada and the USA, has developed a novel, non-viral gene editing approach that has multiple benefits over alternatives.

“At AVECTAS we’re looking at the next generation of cancer therapy products, including complex gene editing that will address the treatment of solid mass tumours.” explains Dr Michael Maguire, CEO of AVECTAS

“We have developed a cell engineering platform, SOLUPORE®, which works by temporarily making the cell membrane permeable to allow cargo such as mRNA, RNPs and plasmids into the cell.”

The key difference between our platform and competing technology is the gentleness. Currently, cells that are being modified are typically from a patient who may be ill and the cells may be fragile. Our approach minimises stress to cells so they function extremely well when reintroduced to the patient.”

As well as delivering benefits to patients, the SOLUPORE® gene editing process is a shorter, simpler and much more cost-effective one than other processes currently available, offering the potential to deliver life-changing treatment at an affordable cost.

 

Support for commercialisation

Having developed the SOLUPORE® platform, the next step for AVECTAS was scaling the process and aligning it to regulatory compliance to enable commercialisation. To achieve this, the company applied for support under the SME Instrument of Horizon 2020 and received additive funding of 2m.

The SME Instrument supports innovators to commercialise ground-breaking concepts that could shape new markets or disrupt existing ones in Europe and worldwide.

“This support was absolutely fantastic for the company at the stage we were at and for our ambition. It was as much about validating what we were doing as about the grant, as AVECTAS has always been very well supported by our investors,” says Maguire.

Horizon 2020 is all about scientific excellence. The objectives and deliverables that were part of the project provided a structured framework and a discipline that was valuable to us. In addition, we felt trusted, supported and part of something bigger.”

As a result of the SME Instrument support, AVECTAS achieved a number of progressive strategic objectives. “The SME Instrument enabled us to accelerate our discussions with government agencies, academic institutes, regulatory bodies and other companies in the formation of a national strategy. There are very progressive efforts now across industry, academia and the funding community to join up the thinking around cell therapy and for Ireland to do the same in this field as we’ve done in biotechnology where we’re now a world player. It’s exciting to see what will come of that.”

 

Persistence pays

Maguire is keen to encourage other companies to take advantage of the support available through Horizon Europe (Horizon 2020’s successor) but stresses that it should be viewed as additive rather than core funding.

“I feel strongly that companies need to have solid investment and avoid being dependent on grants such as Horizon funding. That’s not the right way to run a business and it can take you down avenues that don’t align with your company strategy. Additive funding such as Horizon Europe can allow you to accelerate progress but shouldn’t be the only source of finance,” says Maguire.

There is also much to be learned from the application process itself which hones focus and delivers fresh perspective.

“We made a number of applications for this funding before being successful and we learnt from the feedback on each of them, including how the outside world views your business. I would encourage people to be persistent and don’t get dispirited if the first or second applications are unsuccessful.”

AVECTAS has benefitted from a range of Enterprise Ireland support since its set-up and also got assistance with preparing the Horizon 2020 application.

Recently it has secured further funding through the Disruptive Technology Innovation Fund run by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment. It is partnering with Bluebridge Technologies and NIBRT to expand its Solupore® platform to manufacture next-generation allogeneic products that can be produced at scale for large numbers of patients. The allogeneic approach uses cells from donor tissues rather than the patient’s own cells.

The project will take AVECTAS further towards commercialising an advanced, large-scale, digitalised cell engineering platform optimised to manufacture ‘off-the-shelf’ cell-based therapies for cancer treatment.

For further information about applying for support from Horizon Europe, the successor programme to Horizon 2020, please contact HorizonSupport@enterprise-ireland.com or consult www.horizoneurope.ie.

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