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Economy NI launches new Innovation Accreditation Programme

The Department for the Economy has today launched a new Innovation Accreditation Programme for local businesses.

The programme aims to highlight the importance of innovation for business growth and create more awareness of the value of innovation, as well as demonstrating how to innovate. The ultimate goal is to increase the number of Northern Ireland businesses successfully engaging in innovation activity.

Launching the Programme, Noel Lavery, Permanent Secretary at the Department for the Economy, said: “Innovation is vital if we are to continue to grow our local economy. We want Northern Ireland to be one of the most innovative regions in the UK, reflecting the ambition set out in the draft Programme for Government and the Department’s Innovation Strategy 2014-2025.

“This new Innovation Accreditation Programme for Northern Ireland will help achieve that vision by supporting businesses to invest in innovation and improve their global competitiveness. I am confident it will be recognised as a differentiator, setting companies apart from their competitors.”

Invest NI’s Director of Innovation, Research & Development, Dr Vicky Kell, said: “If we are to create a more competitive, higher value Northern Ireland economy we need to significantly improve our rates of successful innovation. The Innovation Accreditation Programme will help support Northern Ireland businesses to foster a culture of innovation. Innovation adds value and so will help their businesses thrive.”

The new Accreditation Programme consists of a unique Northern Ireland Innovation Certification Scheme, as well as an Internationally Recognised Innovation Accreditation from Sweden-based company i360. The NI Innovation Certification Scheme recognises any business that is on the innovation journey, awarding them a bronze, silver, gold or platinum level certificate relating to their current innovation maturity.

“In introducing this Accreditation Programme, Northern Ireland is the first country to offer a regional innovation certification to help companies progress on their innovation journey. Some companies may ultimately progress to the Internationally Recognised Accreditation, enabling them to benchmark themselves against, and learn from, some of the world’s leading global brands in over 30 countries,” continued Vicky.

Having achieved platinum status certification at the regional level, Newry company STATSports is the first business in Northern Ireland to also successfully complete, and achieve, the full i360 Internationally Recognised Accreditation.

Gillian Kelly, Head of Business Partnering of STATSports, said: “We are delighted to achieve the i360 Innovation Accreditation. Innovation is at the core of everything we do at STATSports and this accreditation process has enabled us to benchmark ourselves to the world’s most successful innovators, but more than anything, the accreditation process has given us our innovation success plan for the future, which is so important for the continued growth and success of STATSports.”