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CIT and County Council launch innovative Scale Cork

Thursday, 7th November, 2019 8:45am

Cork will be the home of Ireland’s first scaling programme for SMEs who are in the medtech, agritech and digital health sector it was announced this week.

Cork County Council and the Rubicon Centre at CIT have teamed up to launch Scale Cork, a nine month programme starting in January 2020. It is supported by Cork County Council through its economic development fund and operated by the Rubicon Centre at CIT.

Scale Cork will be the first scaling programme of its kind to be provided by a campus incubator. This programme will use the expertise developed in the Rubicon Centre to provide group training and one to one mentoring to six SME companies in Cork who wish to scale beyond their current capability with a view to increasing sales, developing exports and building relationships with FDIs in the region.

This programme follows on from the successful 2018 Cork County Council incubator programme, Bridge to Masschallenge Cork which was for life science start-ups.

The programme is open to companies with more than 10 employees who might have some of the following characteristics: profitable with potential to increase profitability, turnover greater than €500,000, some IP in the business or potential to exploit same and the potential to grow sales by 20 per cent per annum.

Company owners should be open to change and mentoring and should be looking to employ new staff to support new sales growth. It is also envisaged that a key part of this programme is to provide the opportunity for SMEs to benefit from access to networks in the region.

Sharon Corcoran, Director of Economic Development, Enterprise and Tourism, Cork County Council said: “This is a unique offering; currently no other incubator in Ireland is providing such a programme. The actual cost to the companies taking part will be small. Companies will be supported by teams of mentors who will devise a development plan with the founders of the company and then provide implementation supports on-site. Participants also attend training one day a month in selected modules such as finance, strategy, marketing, sales and innovation.”

Ms Corcoran advised that “Scale Cork provides a significant opportunity to simultaneously connect FDIs and SMEs in a collaborative innovation and supply chain relationship, develop an innovation and competitiveness framework to scale companies within Ireland and incubating export potential, all supported within an incubation structure”.

Paul Healy, Rubicon General Manager said: “The programme has a number of innovative elements which companies wishing to scale will find attractive including: in-house innovation management assessments to assess a company’s innovation and competitiveness management processes, access to the Rubicon Scaling Toolkit, network building and market visits to encourage internationalisation and development of innovation.

“The programme includes the development of a virtual incubator - the Rubicon has a learning and development platform in place to facilitate distance learning and virtual networking. This is a key innovative feature to support small companies to scale while the programme will be commercial in focus, companies can if required, access product development supports provided by CIT gateways.”

Mentors will include Irish, British and American industry professionals who will give a wider international perspective to the programme.

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