Data2Sustain – helping to create a smarter more connected region.

Pictured at the March monthly meeting of the Northern and Western Regional Assembly (NWRA) are the Cathaoirleach of the NWRA John Naughten, Elected Members of the NWRA, Director of the NWRA Denis Kelly, and Mike Conroy Director Data2sustain

A new European Digital Innovation Hub (EDIH) has been established in the Northern and Western region to help SMEs apply cutting-edge technologies and digital skills to their businesses.

With €5.4 million in funding, the initiative will support regional SMEs and Enterprises over three years and also work in collaboration with a network of three other EDIHS nationally and over 200 across the European Union.

The EDIHs offer a portfolio of free services to help companies become more competitive through the adoption of digital technologies.

Businesses that engage these one-stop-shops for firms with digital challenges will be able to access an ecosystem of expertise to support innovation projects, consultancy services, business model development and funding support.

They will also be able to access applied digital research, expertise, and solutions from the region’s universities and technology centres– including the Atlantic Technological University and University of Galway – through several channels, and technology transfer centres.

Data2Sustain can be used by public sector bodies to access the same expertise and services.

Mico-Enterprises, SMEs and public sector agencies can access the hub through a region-wide network of contact points including Local Enterprise Offices, Universities and Údarás na Gaeltachta, the Northern and Western Regional Assembly (NWRA) or directly through its website – giving it one of the largest footprints of service provision in the country.

Denis Kelly, Director of the Northern and Western Regional Assembly, stated:

“The majority of Irish small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) have little knowledge of the requirements of digitalisation and are hesitant to embark on their own digital innovation projects. We are enabling businesses to gain better access to data or use solutions powered by artificial intelligence. The programme also invests to ensure that our regional talent can get the right skills to actively participate in the labour market. The aim is that everyone in the region – citizens, businesses and public services – can benefit from market-ready technological solutions.”

Explaining the concept of the EDIH, Northern and Western Regional Assembly Cathaoirelach John Naughten, said:

“This new hub, called Data2Sustain, will support SMEs across all sectors, as well as the public sector and not-for-profit in their digital transformation.

While broad in brief, there is a special focus on Business Operations, the circular economy and sustainability and utilising digital and data centric innovation with regard to energy consumption and low–carbon emissions.

What is really thrilling is that members of this new EDIH can use any of the other 200 innovation hubs across Europe. This means, for example, that a company in Roscommon can avail of research in Denmark that might assist its business with a technology such as Blockchain or Robotics.

Similarly, a company in France, could access our region’s new EDIH for essential research or knowledge at Atlantic Technological University or the University of Galway to help advance its business, service, or product. The hub is a coordinated cadre of organisations with complementary expertise, with a not-for-profit objective.”

The new EDIH will drive digital transformation for businesses across a broad range of sectors, including Agri and Bio-based Food, Marine and Aquaculture, MedTech and Lifesciences, Manufacturing and Engineering, Construction, Tourism, Retail and Public Services.

Mike Conroy, Director Data2Sustain said

The Data2Sustain program provides an excellent mechanism to access dedicated digital leadership, backed by a coordinated ecosystem of relevant sectoral expertise, with a compelling funding model, to carry out projects to the benefits of the region’s enterprises. Please reach out to any of our regional partners or directly via the website to explore how we can assist.

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