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Competitive advantages for customers: Europe’s most innovative small and medium-sized enterprises

Innovation is crucial in competition and Irish companies are world leaders in this area. This underlines the European Commission’s 2017 Innovation Scoreboard. It highlights Ireland’s small and medium-sized enterprises as excellent innovators. Compared to small and medium-sized enterprises in other countries, Irish companies are increasingly relying on their own research and development, introducing more innovative products and creating more jobs for highly qualified companies. The innovative power of Irish companies means greater efficiency and productivity for their customers worldwide and allows them to expand their own product range.

Even after two decades of continuous investment in science and technology, the Irish government continues to focus on innovation with the Innovation 2020 programme.

Government-industry cooperation is closer in Ireland than in other Ländern.Im last year there were over a thousand projects involving companies and higher education institutions. 372 of these projects were supported by Enterprise Ireland’s Technology Gateways at the technical colleges. This, as well as state support for in-house research, as well as significant tax benefits for research and development, have ensured that innovation is central to the strategy of Irish companies.

According to the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) annual report published in July, the country ranked 10th in the world in terms of the quality of scientific research in 2016, an impressive increase of 26 places in just 13 years.

Enterprise Ireland has 14 technology centres, 15 technology gateways and 12 national SFI research centres covering cutting-edge areas such as big data, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, digital content, nanotechnology, sustainable food, smart devices and renewable energy from the sea. In these centres and gateways, scientists and engineers from universities and companies work together on solutions for the future.

The special conditions in Ireland make this mutually beneficial exchange particularly easy. Thanks in particular to Knowledge Transfer Ireland, a unique institution, the industry has easy access to the necessary research capacities.

Ireland has world-renowned industry centres, such as life sciences in Cork and medical technology in Galway, as well as Silicon Docks in Dublin, the leading technology location Europas.In these centres, large international corporations operate alongside Irish companies and there is regular exchange between universities and industry. The European Commission underlines this by the importance it attaches to technology transfer for the Irish economy.

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