IBEC to host free Athlone event to showcase innovation in the region

IBEC will host a free business seminar in the Hodson Bay Hotel Athlone on Wednesday, May 4, to show how local companies have used State supports and worked with higher education institutions to grow their business through research, development, and innovation.

The event, entitled ‘The Innovation Imperative’, is part of a series of events taking place around the country to show how companies can engage in research, development, and innovation.

Speakers at the event will include: Glenisk director, Gerard Clearly; Bord Na Mona’s director for innovation, Hugh Henry; Ericsson’s head of cloud enablement for Western Europe, Robert Heffernan; Athlone Institute of Technology’s dean of faculty of business and hospitality, Eoin Langan; Maynooth University’s vice president for research, professor Bernard Mahon; and broadcaster Sinead Ryan.

IBEC’s senior innovation policy executive, Conor Minogue, said: “There are many great companies in and around Athlone and across the Midlands using new technology and cutting edge innovation to improve how they work. But we need to ensure that all companies have the skills and support needed to get ahead.

“The ability to innovate is essential for all companies regardless of size, sector, or business activity. It is through innovation that businesses create a competitive advantage, enhance their productivity, and increase profits. It also underpins the growth and dynamism of a region. Innovation comes in many shapes and sizes. It extends beyond science, technology, and product development to firms that try new ideas, technologies, and business models to help them increase market share.

“While Ireland has taken great steps over the last 16 years to become a more knowledge and innovation-intensive country, internationally we have some way to go. A high proportion of Irish companies still do not undertake any R&D activities. In 2013, for example, just 100 companies accounted for 70 per cent of all business R&D spend.

“The IBEC event in Athlone is an opportunity for companies across the region to meet with their peers, learn how to collaborate with higher education institutions, and avail of State supports. Participants will also get insights on how HR practices can help embed a company-wide culture of innovation within a business.”

The event takes place in the Hodson Bay Hotel from 11am to 1pm on Wednesday, May 4. Book your place by visiting www.ibec.ie/insightseries

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