Kilwaughter Minerals success showcased at Larne innovation workshop

Pictured, left to right, are: Chris McDowell, Director, Kilwaughter Minerals Ltd; Dianne Dundas, Co-innovate Innovation Manager; Esther Baird Co-Innovate Programme Manager and Ken Nelson CEO , Local Economic Development Company Ltd. (LEDCOM).
Pictured, left to right, are: Chris McDowell, Director, Kilwaughter Minerals Ltd; Dianne Dundas, Co-innovate Innovation Manager; Esther Baird Co-Innovate Programme Manager and Ken Nelson CEO , Local Economic Development Company Ltd. (LEDCOM).

A very well-attended Co-innovate Programme workshop for local businesses has been hosted by LEDCOM in Willowbank Business Park.

Co-Innovate aims to increase the numbers of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) involved in research and innovation across the border region of Ireland, Northern Ireland and parts of western Scotland.

The five-year €16.6 million project is funded under the EU’s INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body.

The special speaker at the Larne workshop, who provided a local case study highlighting how innovation has impacted positively in business, was Chris McDowell of Kilwaughter Minerals Ltd. Established since 1939, its market leading K Rend product makes it the UK’s largest independent silicone render manufacturer.

Driven by market requirements and the emerging opportunities presented through the development of new technology, Kilwaughter Minerals Ltd. is committed to providing new innovative products and currently holds ISO 9001, ISO 14001 AND OHSAS 18001 accreditations.

Innovation across all aspects of the business has been the corner stone of the company’s success throughout its 78-year history and continues to be a key driver for ongoing business success.

Ken Nelson CEO of LEDCOM said: “This is a very positive development for SMEs locally. Supporting SMEs is a key strategic priority for LEDCOM and it’s crucial we continue to encourage and nurture innovation.

“Initiatives like Co-Innovate are central to this goal, providing one-to-one help and mentoring for smaller companies to help embed a culture of innovation in their businesses. We are particularly grateful that Chris McDowell of Kilwaughter Minerals Ltd., a local company with a long track record of growth through innovation, participated in our seminar and shared valuable lessons with local businesses.”

Match-funding for Co-Innovate has been provided by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation in Ireland, the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

Dr Andrew McCormick, Permanent Secretary for the Department for the Economy, said: “I’m a firm believer in the power of innovation to act as a catalyst for economic growth and prosperity. With Co-Innovate, we have a unique opportunity to drive innovation capacity among our small and medium enterprises.

The Co-Innovate Programme offers support including free workshops, individual business health checks, detailed innovation audits, sectoral networks, project management placements and one-to-one expert mentoring.

Neil Ryan, Co-Innovate Programme Director, said: “Every company’s innovation needs are different so each company’s journey through Co-Innovate will be unique. Over 1,400 businesses will receive support at Co-Innovate workshops over the next number of years. These workshops are aimed at demystifying innovation and helping firms understand how it can drive their company’s growth and profitability.

“Companies who complete our workshops and subsequent assessments will be selected to take part in advanced programme supports. These advanced supports are designed to help develop detailed innovation delivery plans: bringing ideas to fruition.”

For more information visit co-innovateprogramme.eu