Taking the First Step

Innovation in our country


Innovation is one of the current key issues on European level: According to the aims of Lisbon Strategy, companies need to be encouraged to develop systemic approaches, new skills and competencies linked to the process of innovation. Further training on how to "DO" innovation is needed for SMEs in all partner countries, as most of the training offers addresses the tertiary education. Whereas multinational companies are supported by specialists (R&D, Innovation assistants, etc.), SMEs are adversely affected by the challenge of implementing a suitable Innovation Strategy. Due to its widespread effect, innovation is an important topic and information is easily accessible. But why is it – especially for small businesses – so difficult to put "innovation" into practice? We assume that there is a dangerous gap between the knowledge you need and the concrete action to "Do" innovation. This is exactly the point of departure for 2inno.eu– DO Innovation now!


In Ireland there are several National Bodies and Associations involved in the representation and promotion of SMEs interests. The most important are:


ISME [isme.ie] is the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association, an independent representative association for Small and Medium Enterprises and currently has in excess of 8,750 members. The body promotes itself as being independent of big business, big banks and government and one that gives voice to the issues facing SME owner managers. It runs a variety of training courses from its members.


SFA [sfa.ie] is the Small Firms Association, a national organisation exclusively representing the needs of small enterprises (i.e. those employing less than 50 employees) in Ireland. The SFA is funded directly through subscription fees from its 8,000 member companies. It meets with Government and interacts with key decision-makers at all levels to ensure that the economic environment is conducive to small business establishment and development.


Chambers Ireland [chambers.ie] is Ireland's largest business organisation with a network of Chambers of Commerce in every major town and region in the country. The benefits of membership include networking events as well as seminars, workshops and conferences at which experts present stimulating ideas and the latest thinking on business development.


Innovation is frequently marketed as a driver of growth for the whole economy as well as the key issue for enterprises seeking to enhance their competitiveness. But why is it often so difficult for a business to successfully put innovation in to practice?The principal reason is that it´s always a risk finding the right ideas, developing them into products and services before attempting a success launch into the market. If you run a small or medium sized business, you know that you must constantly renew but you do not always have the resources, the know-how or the willingness to take this risk.


2inno.eu has been developed to address this problem. The programme has been designed for the owner/manager or management teams of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and enables even the smallest businesses to introduce and implement practical innovation processes. The 2inno methodology – outlined below – has been jointly developed by 6 project partner institutions across Europe.


© 2inno National Report Ireland