Minister Breen issues call for competitive challenges at SBIR conference

Pictured: Niall O’Donnellan, Enterprise Ireland; Minister Pat Breen; and Maria Gavin, SBIR Ireland

SBIR facilitates collaborations between innovative SMEs and public sector



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13 September 2017 | 0

Ten new Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Ireland Competitive Challenges were launched by Enterprise Ireland at an event today.

Expressions of Interest specific to public bodies will open in October with Enterprise Ireland co-funding up to €500,000 per challenge.

This year, Enterprise Ireland has successfully managed the launch of seven SBIR Challenges, including a call to find solutions to wildlife activity around Dublin Airport’s runways and a call by Irish Rail to develop a preventative warning system against railway bridge strikes.

The competitive challenges are aimed at driving collaboration between Irish public-sector bodies and innovative SMEs to identify solutions to specific public-sector needs.

Expressions of Interest specific to Irish Public Bodies will open in October 2017 with Enterprise Ireland co-funding up to €500k made available to cover up to 10 Challenges.

Speaking at the event, Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, the EU Digital Single Market & Data Protection Pat Breen said: “The SBIR process is a fantastic initiative, facilitating competitions that enable innovation-led businesses to connect with public sector bodies to provide ideas and solutions to challenges facing the public sector. This allows for improved efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of public services that provide greater value for money outcomes. SBIR is particularly suited to small and medium businesses and I welcome the opportunities this offers to SMEs. The SBIR initiative, which observes best practice procurement processes, also supports and complements the Government’s research, innovation and enterprise agenda”.

SBIR Challenges are both diverse and rich in nature, spanning a wide variety of sectors which will ultimately benefit citizens’ needs.

In 2017, SBIR Challenges have included: A real-time passenger feedback solution for Cork Airport; incorporating escalation alerts and capturing business inputs. and SMART Dublin (covering the four Dublin local authorities), a series of initiatives for low cost-gully monitoring and illegal dumping in the Dublin Region; and the development of innovative warning, prevention, pre-emptive and smart bridge strike systems for Irish Rail.

Julie Sinnamon, CEO, Enterprise Ireland, said: “Supporting businesses to start, innovate and scale is a key focus for Enterprise Ireland and through initiatives like SBIR Ireland, we are supporting collaboration between small business and the public sector with the purpose of driving business development and innovation.

“This has been an exciting and busy year for SBIR, a process which is internationally proven to facilitate innovative SMEs with early stage ideas to address challenges that are faced by the public sector. By supporting collaborations between SMEs and the public sector, we are harnessing innovative ideas and developing unique solutions which will ultimately have positive economic and societal benefits, not only here in Ireland but internationally as well”.

For more information on SBIR Ireland, visit

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