Initiatives We Support

The Supporting SMEs Online Tool is a new cross-governmental guide to help small businesses know which of the over 80 Government supports could possibly fit their business.

By answering the 8 questions in the Supporting SMEs Online Tool, a small business will, in one location:

  • Find out which of the over 80 Government business supports from 27 different Government Departments, Agencies and Initiatives are available to them.
  • Get information on the range of Government supports for accessing credit.
  • Be told their nearest Local Enterprise Office to discuss the outcomes of the guide further.
  • Be able to download all these filtered results into a document for their further use.

You can check out the Supporting SMEs Online Tool here: Supporting SMEs Online Tool


The Interreg project Codex4SMEs (Companion diagnostics expedited for small and medium-sized businesses) project plans to improve healthcare by enhanced adoption of Personalized Medicine in North-West Europe. The objective is to establish a network, which supports SMEs along the value chain of Companion diagnostics (Cdx) development.

Although personalised medicine promises healthcare savings by delivering the right dose of the right drug to the right patient at the right time, the use of companion diagnostics is essential if it is to achieve the optimum effect. North-Western Europe is lagging far behind the USA in this field. The project will support SMEs along the Cdx value chain in the three phases: incubation, acceleration and growth. Partners aim to involve around 200 SMEs in the field of Cdx into the project, with the aim of increasing the Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) of their Cdx products through the support of knowledge transfer/sample access and biomarker validation.


Benefits for SMEs

Access to:

  • Sample access service
  • biomarker validation service
  • knowledge transfer service of biomarker/biobanking
  • ecosystems from 11 partners
  • transnational roadshow to venture and large pharma companies
  • business model and expert access service for business growth and scaling
  • Tailored support dependent from the product TRL levels of the SMEs


The partner organisations are:

  • from Germany, BioRegio STERN Management GmbH, Stuttgart, the lead partner
  • from Ireland, the organisations involved are WestBIC (EU Business and Innovation Centre for Irelands Border, Midlands and Western Region) and CÚRAM (the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices at NUI Galway),
  • from England, the University of Leicester, with Medilink Midlands as a regional sub-partner,
  • from France, the Medicen Paris Region cluster,
  • from the Netherlands, BOM Holding BV (technology funding body Brabantse Ontwik-kelings Maatschappij) and the Innovation Quarter, with a regional sub-partner,
  • from Luxembourg, the Integrated BioBank of Luxembourg – IBBL, and
  • from Austria, the Biobank Graz at the Medical University of Graz.

“I SEE YOU” (Initiative to foster Social Entrepreneurship Experience for Youth) is a great opportunity for young people from Europe interested in taking the entrepreneurship path in their professional life.

The project’s aim is to develop the entrepreneurship skills and competences of unemployed young people from seven European countries (Austria, Ireland, Italy, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, United Kingdom), who have an interest in creating their own social business and have an affinity for IT – one of the most important business sectors from EU.

The overall objectives of the project are:

  • To promote entrepreneurship education among unemployed youth, especially in countries with a high youth unemployment rate, which will lead to new business creation and employability and ultimately assist them in building a future for themselves
  • To create a transnational European identity among participating young people to embrace active citizenship and provide a new perspective
  • To facilitate innovative learning practices in entrepreneurship education by developing and implementing trainings, workshops and other approaches to increase the labour market relevance of young people

Ace Project

Launched in September 2013, the ACE project will develop a new, tailor-made acceleration programme – the ACE programme – to deliver targeted cross-border services to highly innovative ICT entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMEs with the potential to rapidly grow their businesses in international markets The ACE programme will provide innovative start ups and high growth ICT companies with direct assistance in finding partners, clients and financing to accelerate their move into cross border and international markets.Open calls for candidates will be launched throughout Europe in November 2013 through relevant European networks and associations.

Companies selected will be assigned a lead mentor from the partner organisation in their own country. This ‘local’ mentor will guide them through the overall ACE programme, develop an individual internationalisation action plan with them and put an internationalisation support team and package of support measures in place for them.

Unsuccessful applicants will be provided with customised feedback and encouraged to use the ACE online network to engage with other companies through the online stakeholder community and to use the online tools to prepare for internationalisation and subsequent cycles of the ACE programme.

The ACE consortium includes 15 leading incubators, clusters and living labs from across Europe (UK, Ireland, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Italy, Portugal, Finland, Sweden, Czech Republic) and is supported by EBN, the largest network of innovation based incubators in Europe and ENOLL, the European network of Living Labs.

Atlantic Blue Tech

In context of global crisis of the economy, the blue economy represents an essential stake for the future development of our maritime territories. Often considered as a resource, the ocean has also to be envisaged as a source of innovation, of growth and jobs. In this sense, marine bio-resources constitute a sector with high growth potential but still largely unexploited by businesses. These latter have to face many constraints and barriers (legal, environmental, economic and social).

The Atlantic Blue Tech project thus aims at promoting and developing at the Atlantic level and in a joint and concerted manner, the marine bio-resources’ sector. Gathering economic and innovation development agencies, local authorities and scientific organisations, the project aims at capitalizing projects and initiatives previously developed under this thematic. Project partners will identify the main obstacles to the development of the sector and will define corrective measures.

Finally, through the identification of transnational structuring projects, the project will represent an essential link to the future 2014-2020 programming period. It will also contribute to the operational implementation of the action plan recently adopted in the framework of the EU Maritime Strategy for the Atlantic region.

Halo Business Angel Network

The Halo Business Angel Network is a joint initiative between Enterprise Ireland, InterTrade Ireland and the Irish Business and Innovation Centres. The Partnership is managed in the Border, Midland and Western Region by WESTBIC.

The Halo Business Angel Network matches private investors with pre-screened investment opportunities in start-up, early stage and developing businesses. The partnership can be of enormous benefit to investors, to companies and to professional advisors such as accountants and solicitors and will be an essential part of the entrepreneurial business network for new and expanding innovative SMEs.

CINEW (Creative Industries Network European Window) aims to promote innovation in small and medium sized Enterprises in the Creative Industries. It is a networking and Innovation support service for the Creative and Cultural Industries. Working with partner regions in the United Kingdom, France, Spain and Portugal, the project will work to develop a “Creative City” as a sustainable model to support Creative Enterprises. The programme aims to achieve progress on transnational cooperation within the partner regions and promote transnational entrepreneurial Innovation Networks. The partners involved in the programme are Mayo County Council as Lead Partner, WESTBIC, CEEI Bahia de Cadiz in Spain, ADIST in Portugal, Technopole Quimper Cornouaille and Technopole Laval Mayenne both in France, and the University of Swansea in the UK.


Fiontarlann is a state-of-the-art Incubation & Enterprise Centre located in the rural Gaeltacht setting of Baile na Móna, Cill Chartha (Kilcar, Co. Donegal), 14 km from Killybegs and 39 Km from Donegal Town. Suitable for knowledge based and office businesses, this 6,100 sq ft Incubation and Enterprise Centre has a range of spaces available from shared desk spaces (The Cube) up to units of 1,000 sq ft.

Is ionad cothaithe fiontraíochta nua-aimseartha í Fiontarlann, lonnaithe ar shuíomh tuaithe Gaeltachta i mBaile Mún, Cill Charthaigh, Co Dhún na nGall, 14km ó na Cealla Beaga agus 39km ó Bhaile Dhún na nGall. Oiriúnach do ghnónna eolas-bhunaithe nó oifig bhunaithe, tá réimse aonaid ar fáil san Ionad Cothaithe Fiontraíochta seo d’achar 6,100 troigh cearnach ó deasca aonaracha (An Ciúb) suas go aonaid 1,000 tr cr.

Glórtha Aduaidh

Glórtha Aduaidh is a collaborative project between WestBIC and client company Ligid TV Productions Ltd funded by the PEACE III Programme. The Glórtha Aduaidh project will document, through the medium of TV and Radio, the issues faced by ordinary people on all sides of the sectarian divide during the Troubles in Northern Ireland and the Border Counties.

Is togra comhoibríóch í Glórtha Aduaidh idir WestBIC agus client-comhlucht Ligid TV Productions Teo maoinithe ag PEACE III. Déanfaidh Glórtha Aduaidh, trí mheán na teilifíse agus an raidió, glórtha agus scéalta faoin choimhlint i dTuaisceart na hÉireann nár chualatha\s roimhe a dhoiciméadú. Déanfaidh Glórtha Aduaidh saincheisteanna na ndaoine ar gach taobh den chríochdheighilt sheicteach le linn na dtrioblóidí i dTuaisceart na hÉireann a dhoiciméadú.

Funded by the European INTERREG IVB Programme, the GREAT Project aims to accelerate the deployment of Smart Grid in North West Europe. The project aims to encourage communities and SMEs develop and/or engage technological solutions for Smart Grid, Renewable Energy and Distributive Generation. It will also research and develop policy issues for regulatory authorities; and provide structured co-operation opportunities between the SME’s, research institutes and the technology developers.

Project partners include Údarás na Gaeltachta, WestBIC, Basildon Council (UK), East Netherlands Development Agency (Netherlands); Wittenborg University (The Netherlands), Hasselt University (Belgium); Design for Sustainability (D4S) (UK).

Galway Technology Centre

Galway Technology Centre was established in 1994 to meet the needs of the emerging cluster of ICT companies in the Galway area at that time. Since then, it has housed many hundreds of innovative start-ups and developing companies and has acquired a reputation for the provision of flexible, high quality, serviced office space with a range of integrated technologies, facilities and services. The Centre provides a complete solution to entrepreneurs seeking a high quality environment in which to grow their enterprise from concept to commercialisation and beyond.

The Centre is supported by Galway Chamber, Enterprise Ireland, Galway Local Enterprise Office and WestBIC.


IN-EUR is a Regional Initiative Project of the INTERREG IVC Programme of 3 years duration (2012 – 2014), which addresses the need for local level strategies to foster innovation and knowledge growth all over the EU.

The overall project objective is to use interregional cooperation to improve quality of innovation policy at local level through sharing, integrating and transferring methodologies for measuring innovation. Through improved innovation policy, based on information gained from a tested methodology and following a result orientated approach, local authorities can avoid duplication, gaps and subsequent waste of public resources.

Mayo Ideas Lab


  • Do you have an idea for an innovative new business?
  • Are you based in Co. Mayo, or are you considering establishing a business in Co. Mayo?
  • Would you like some feedback on your idea?
  • Would you like some guidance on where to go for support?

If so, please contact Joan Fahey on (097) 27945 or email

The Mayo Ideas Lab pilot project was established by the Economic Working Group of Mayo County Development Board, with the support of Mayo Co. Council, Údarás na Gaeltachta, WestBIC and other agencies, to explore new ways to support idea generation and the development of a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in Co. Mayo.

The project is managed by WESTBIC, and overseen by a Management Committee made up of representatives from the following partners: Mayo Co. Council, Mayo Local Enterprise Office, Údarás na Gaeltachta, Galway Mayo Institute of Technology, Innovation in Business Centre at GMIT, Mayo Education Centre, South West Mayo Development Company Ltd, and Mayo North East LEADER Partnership Company Ltd.

For further information contact Joan Fahey at or tel 097 27945.

Download Idea Evaluation Form

RaiSE – Interreg Europe

Enhancing social enterprises competitiveness through improved business support policies

RaiSE brings together six pro-active regions and one advisory partner to address the common challenge of enhancing competitiveness of social enterprises. According to the Social Business Initiative of the European Commission, social enterprises:

  • focus on social impact rather than generating profit
  • use their benefits to achieve social goals
  • are managed by social entrepreneurs in an accountable, transparent and innovative way.

Social enterprises are drivers of social change

The potential of social enterprises to generate inclusive growth and promote more and better jobs is widely recognised and RaiSE project partners will learn from each other to improve their regions business support policies.

Seven partners, with varied policy contexts, unite efforts to improve together the support that each region gives to social enterprises. The following activities will be undertaken during the first part of the project (2’5 years):

  • 6 project meetings and study visits to share knowledge.
  • 3 interregional thematic workshops on – 1) skills enhancement for market access, 2) access to public procurement markets, 3) new business models and strategies for social enterprises growth.
  • 6 regional study reports and 1 interregional analysis (developed by the advisory partner) to map the social enterprises ecosystem in each region.
  • Regional Stakeholders Group meetings to involve relevant actors in the learning process.
  • Good Practice Guide to collect the best regional examples.

Rural Innovation and Business Systems (RIBS) EU Project

The Rural Innovation and Business Systems (RIBS) project aimed to help SMEs in rural regions of Scotland, Sweden, Finland, Iceland and Ireland to address the effects of the economic downturn and strengthen their competitiveness and growth potential.

RIBS carried out a needs analysis of the SMEs and the business support community in the target regions, and looked at the development of Business Growth Programmes in the areas of SME Growth, SME Internationalisation, Entrepreneurship and Rural Clusters.

RIBS was supported by the Northern Periphery Programme project and was led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Scotland. The other participating partners included: Lulea University of Technology in Sweden, Micropolis in Finland, West Iceland Regional Development in Iceland and WESTBIC in Ireland.

Transnational Network for Social Innovation Incubation – TRANSITION – is a 30-month project that supports the scaling-up of social innovations across Europe by developing a network of incubators which brings together established partners within the fields of social innovation (SI) and innovation-based incubation (IBI). TRANSITION will also provide learning output on which scaling methodologies are most effective in a given region and the level of impact of these methodologies when transferred between regions.

About the Project:

The TRINNO Project aims to identify the necessary components of business ecosystems in participating regions to promote digital innovation in traditional sectors of the local economy.  This will lead to the development of Regional Action Plans to introduce or develop these components targeting specific measures and business sectors.  The targeted outputs are as follows:

  • Improved policy instruments, focused on business support eco-systems merging traditional sectors with innovative models and tools
  • Better targeted supports for business
  • Increased capacity amongst partners and participating stakeholders
  • Consolidated stakeholder partnerships as part of integrated business support eco-systems.

The 5 year project was approved within the Interreg Europe programme financed through the European Regional Development Fund and involves 7 partners across 5 European regions and includes WestBIC and the Northern and Western Regional Assembly as Irish project partners.

Interregional Dimension:

Interregional results will be achieved through a series of participative Interregional Learning events and staff exchanges aimed at researching best practices from which the collected knowledge will enable the project to contribute to EU external policy learning.

Local Activities:

Locally, partners are working closely with relevant stakeholder groups, engaged in Action Planning for their regions to be implemented as part of the business ecosystem. In the west and north-west region of Ireland, work is underway to support the traditional artisan food sector taking a collaborative approach across the public and private sectors, as well as investigating the potential for establishing regional innovation hubs to foster and retain knowledge enterprise in the region.

VETIP aims to enhance teaching and training practice through the transfer of innovative e-commerce resources and business methods, from the lead partner, Clevercherry, an ICT, digital and media SME, to the project’s partner institutions. As a result, this will enable Vocational Students, Entrepreneurs and Young People from local communities to improve their confidence in the use of digital e-commerce resources and not only aspire, but implement their own e- businesses start up.

The aim of the project is to transfer and adapt e-business technology e-resources into the VETIP partner organization so that they align with their current programmes and resources.