Enterprise Ireland approves ERNACT's Innovation-as-a-Service proposal

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Increase the uptake of Industry 4.0 solutions to combat Brexit in the Border Region
22 June 2020 - ERNACT  project
ERNACT are very pleased to announce the success of their recent Innovation-as-a-Service (IaaS) proposal to  Enterprise Ireland's Border Enterprise Development Fund (BEDF). IaaS aims to increase competitiveness and innovation in SMEs in the Border Region, by increasing their use of disruptive technologies (including Industry 4.0) in manufacturing operations.

Colm Mc Colgan, ERNACT General Manager, stated that “This project is really exciting because it revolutionises the business model for introducing new technologies into SME’s. Using a combination of virtual reality and sophisticated collaboration software, manufacturing solutions being developed in Ireland’s universities and institutes of technology can be brought very quickly to local SMEs through the growing network of digital innovation hubs in the Border Region”.

He congratulated the vision of Enterprise Ireland in piloting this new approach - on top of being the first national enterprise agency in Europe to recognise the importance of digital innovation hubs in facing changing global work and innovation trends.

The project will mobilise up to 12 hubs and nine universities/institutes of technology to target 120 manufacturing SMEs in the Border area over the next three years. It can also make a major contribution to realising the strategic plan, just released on 17 June by the Northern and Western Regional Assembly, to allow the West and Border regions to compete economically with Dublin. 

ERNACT’s Chairperson, Councillor Michael Cooper, welcomed the fact that the project “will bring all of the border region’s 3rd level resources to bear on the challenges posed by Brexit to SMEs, including Ulster University and North West Regional College in Derry”.

Jose Manuel San Emeterio, ERNACT project manager for the INTERREG Europe-supported DEVISE project - which identified the need for IaaS and carried out the necessary research - believes the project can provide a model for the EU’s Digital Innovation Hub (DIH) initiative – The DIH initiative is aiming to better connect local innovation hubs to European level competence centres (or centres of excellence) cross Europe.

Commenting on the announcement with Highland Radio, Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh TD stated that Donegal County Council and ERNACT have been preparing over a long number of years positioning the county for new digital technology opportunities. “ERNACT has been around since 1991, it has been really ambitious and creative in terms of future plans for technology and the Internet of Things and, certainly, this funding will help now specially the time as we prepare for the consequences of Brexit and as we prepare for the outcome and fallout from COVID19”.

To find out more about the IaaS project model, please watch our short project video at

Click here to email  Ianire Renobales at ERNACT for further information

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