Challenge owner, Facilitator
Established in 1987, WESTBIC is the official EU Business & Innovation Centre operating in the Border, Midland & Western (BMW) Region of Ireland, with office locations and service points spread across the territory. With a team of fourteen personnel and access to a talent pool of experts to assist with service delivery, the organisation has thirty years of experience in providing applied innovation services, tailored business advice and support to innovative enterprise, rural enterprise projects and social innovation and social/community enterprise projects, from concept to commercialisation, through its network of offices located throughout the region.
WESTBIC provides a focused range of development services including:
• Animation work to promote, encourage and support new and existing entrepreneurs
• Tailored support for early-stage innovative enterprise including training, feasibility studies and research assistance, mentoring, business and financial planning and access to finance
• A similar range of animation, training and support services tailored to suit the needs of rural enterprise as well as social / community enterprise projects
• Delivery of a range of applied innovation support services, aimed at improving the competitiveness, scaling-up and levels of innovation in micro-enterprise including innovation training and ICT ’step-up’ programmes, internationalisation support, seed funds, incubation and other supports
• Support for incubation and enterprise space development throughout the region, including animation of the development process and technical support in incubation project delivery
• Support to partner intermediaries through assistance with project planning, service delivery, research and evaluation work, at regional, national and international levels
• Analysis and development work on behalf of a range of development agencies, intermediaries and the community and voluntary sectors.
WESTBIC carries a portfolio of over 500 innovative enterprises, exporting and creating high-value jobs, including many rural enterprises, as well as support for over 100 social innovators/enterprises. WESTBIC is also the largest manager of community enterprise space in the region and also provides strategic development support to a number of community enterprise centres.
One of WESTBICs major strengths is its networks and effective partnerships at regional, national and international levels. WESTBIC is an active member of the Association of EU BICs in Ireland, and the European Business & Innovation Centres Network (EBN) with over 200 approved EU-BICs. Through WESTBIC’s involvement in a range of international projects, these are used as a conduit for the transfer of innovation practices, technology and international market opportunities and for added-value programme delivery through the identification and implementation of international best practice to complement core service delivery in the region.