Business Innovation

Overview

The aim of the Business Innovation Offer is to incentivise and support companies to invest in the implementation of new or significantly improved production methods, service delivery or organisational methods in order to increase their competitiveness on global markets.

What is a Business Innovation project?

An eligible Business Innovation project will involve;

  • implementing a new way of working for the company, and,
  • a visible step up in terms of new production or delivery capability or business practices.

The project must involve some level of innovation and risk and should not be focused on routine operational changes or responding to changes in regulation.

Are there examples?

Examples of the Implementation of a new production or delivery method could include;

  • design, installation and/or configuration of a new production or delivery process or system
  • development (or non-routine customisation) of software systems for a new production or delivery method
  • significant automation of previously manual production or delivery systems in order to scale

Examples of the Implementation of a new organisational method could include;

  • Implementation of innovation or continuous improvement systems across an organisation
  • Implementation of new product or service development methods where there is Customer / Supplier / Partner co-design and co-creation
  • Implementation of significantly new business models or value propositions

A Business Innovation project could include a combination of activities spanning any of the above examples.

Am I eligible?

You are eligible to apply if your company is an Irish based manufacturing or internationally traded services company which can show adequate cash resources to implement the proposed project.

Start-up (HPSU) companies are not eligible to apply. A company will normally be considered a HPSU for 5 years from the time it first receives financial support from Enterprise Ireland, or until it exceeds a turnover threshold of €1m whichever is the earlier. However, a HPSU client may be eligible for RD&I grants if it meets the following conditions;

  • has achieved sustainable revenues of €500,000 and;
  • is EBITDA positive in the previous accounting period or for at least the previous nine months prior to application and;
  • can demonstrate sustainable future EBITDA and;
  • in the previous 6 months and during the course of the business plan the company has not raised external finance in the form of equity (subject to no double funding).

Enterprise Ireland funding to support companies is provided against an agreed company growth plan. Please contact your Agency Adviser or the Enterprise Ireland Client Relationship Team to discuss your project and see how Enterprise Ireland can work with you to ensure your company gets the most from any financial support.

What costs are eligible?

Costs that can be supported relate to the implementation of the new process, delivery or organisational method and may involve technical as well as non-technical staff. Eligible costs may include;

  • Salary costs for the time staff are working on the project
  • Overheads costs (calculated at 30% of the above salary costs)
  • Reasonable external consultancy costs
  • Materials costs for materials only used for the project

Ineligible activities include;

  • Sales or Business Development activities
  • Routine business operations
  • Training (this may be supported separately – contact Enterprise Ireland for details)

Some additional terms and conditions apply – for more information, please refer to the Business Innovation Reference Document

What is the maximum funding level?

The maximum grant rate for Business Innovation is 50% of the eligible costs, up to a maximum grant of €150,000. These limits apply to both SMEs and Large companies. Note that support for Business Innovation for Large companies is de minimis funding. Consult your agency advisor for more information.

How do I apply?

A business innovation grant may be applied for through one of three different routes;
- as an Agile Innovation project
- as an RD&I project, or 
- As part of the Operational Excellence Offer where the Business Innovation project may be combined with Training support and/or Capital Investment support. 

The details of the application process depend on the route chosen, but in all cases, there will be a requirement for a high-level business plan, a project plan, project costs workbook and company financial information. Templates for these are available on the appropriate web pages.

In order to be eligible for project support, the beneficiary MUST submit an application to Enterprise Ireland for support BEFORE any work on the project starts. Only expenditure incurred AFTER a valid application is submitted (or after the call close date in the case of RD&I projects) can be considered for funding support.

More Information

If you have been approved Funding, details on the Claims Process is available here

Contact Us

Clients of Enterprise Ireland and Údarás na Gaeltachta should contact their Agency Adviser. If you are not a client of Enterprise Ireland, please contact your local Enterprise Ireland regional office.