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500 SMEs now engaged with The Innovation Exchange

500 SMEs engaged to solve the biggest digital innovation challenges for Irish businesses 

  • The Innovation Exchange members have responded to 25 innovation challenges from companies such as Glanbia, Bord na Móna, Ryanair and ESB
  • New corporates joining the innovation marketplace are InterSport Elverys, Uisce Eireann, BWG Foods and Ireland West Airport

Dublin, Monday, July 3rd: The Innovation Exchange, the initiative of Skillnet Ireland that facilitates collaboration between Irish scaling technology companies and large corporates to drive digital transformation, is halfway to its goal of enlisting 1000 companies.

The marketplace for innovation, where large corporates facing innovation challenges are connected with ambitious solutions providers with the skills to solve challenges and fast-track innovation, has, to date, facilitated eight deals between members.
Figures released today report that nine innovation challenges have been published and 21 pitches to its corporate members have been facilitated in the six months to the end of June 2023. This brings the total to 25 innovation challenges and 80 pitches to collaborate since the programme was launched in February 2022. There are currently 13 further deals in the pipeline, adding to the eight already completed.

The Innovation Exchange was set up to overcome the barriers to corporate innovation in Ireland with the goal to have 1000 companies engaged by 2025. Over 500 scaling technology companies have joined the marketplace for innovation during its first 18 months, demonstrating a significant appetite for the initiative.

The Innovation Exchange offers solutions providers (SMEs) a qualified sales pipeline as well as a host of other benefits including market intelligence, access to decision-makers and the capability to sell to large businesses. In the year to date, over 400 training days were delivered to SME members. Training provided by The Innovation Exchange is specifically tailored to help ambitious SMEs sell, pitch, negotiate and navigate complex procurement processes.

The Innovation Exchange has attracted several new corporate members so far in 2023, including InterSport Elverys, Uisce Eireann, BWG Foods and Ireland West Airport. This brings to 32 the number of corporate members publishing challenges via The Innovation Exchange, including Glanbia, Bord na Móna, Ryanair, ESB and Exertis. In the first six months, The Innovation Exchange has facilitated challenges in digital engagement, sustainability, IoT, automation, logistics, data analytics and accessibility.

The Innovation Exchange has also expanded its national footprint by onboarding several regional innovation hubs in the last quarter, including Platform 94, Ludgate Hub, RDI Hub and the Mill Drogheda making The Innovation Exchange more accessible to companies across the country. Over 25 technology solutions providers have joined The Innovation Exchange as a result of the regional partnership initiative.

Conor Carmody, Director of The Innovation Exchange commented, “The Innovation Exchange is building an ecosystem that is driving digital transformation. Our primary aim is to work with 1,000 companies by 2025 and only 18 months in, we are already facilitating the talent development of over 500 companies by offering structured learning in the areas of sales, marketing and commercial disciplines while supporting new business development, revenue generation and sales.

We facilitate successful deals between SMEs and large corporates and as part of this, we are de-risking the engagement for our corporate members who to date have brought 25 digital transformation challenges to us including AXA, Expleo, Elverys, IBM and most recently Irish Water. The bottom line is that we want more businesses to reach out to us with their problems. We have a growing bank of innovative solutions providers that are becoming increasingly skilled at overcoming the hurdles of working with large, process-driven organisations.”

The Innovation Exchange is designed to drive innovation and competitiveness in the economy. It was launched in February 2022 to facilitate collaborative innovation in Ireland. It is a marketplace where large corporates facing innovation challenges are connected with ambitious solutions providers with the skills to solve challenges and fast-track innovation.