Time and again when visiting prospective clients, we hear the refrain “We’re too busy at the moment to start a lean programme” or, just as likely “It’s not in this year’s training budget”. These responses are true, because personnel in every dynamic company, working in a challenging marketplace, will always be busy. But this is the problem – if you have process efficiency issues, you are busier than you need to be, addressing failure demand. Failure demand is defined as work that has to be done because something that should have worked, didn’t.
The availability of funding, to invest in information systems, or boost the training budget, is a great incentive to step back from the business ‘busyness’ and re-charge your continuous improvement programme. If you are eligible, an external resource will support and coach personnel as they learn smarter and more customer friendly ways of delivering value to customers. This impacts significantly and positively on customer service and the bottom line. Check out the following funding avenues. The list is not exhaustive, and you are advised to contact your local funding body representative to discuss options and eligibility.
- IDA GRANTS
1.1 Research and Development (R&D): Companies can avail of financial incentives to carry out in-house R&D projects and collaborative projects with third-level institutes and industrial partners. There is also a 25% tax credit available for companies engaging in R&D.
1.2 Capital Grant: The level and availability of support is dependent on location and size of the company. This grant also covers investment in software applications.
1.3 Training Grants: Available across the country to develop the competitive capabilities of companies already located in Ireland.
1.4 Lean/Green: This is designed to encourage clients to adopt Lean business principles to increase performance and competitiveness that will sustain and grow its operations in Ireland. Support is also available to client companies to introduce good Environmental management practices through its Lean/Green business offer. This offer is aimed particularly at IDA SMEs (fewer than 200 employees)
Cordatus Consulting Limited, trading as Lean Ireland is a registered Lean consulting advisor with the IDA. For details see www.idaireland.com/how-we-help, and to check your eligibility for any of the above, please contact your local IDA representative.
- ENTERPRISE IRELAND GRANTS
2.1 High potential Start-up: The High Potential Start-Up (HPSU) team provides hands-on support and advice to entrepreneurs and early stage companies that are considered by Enterprise Ireland to have an innovative product, service or technology, and have the potential to achieve international sales and create employment. for support and investment.
2.2 Operational Excellence Offer: This latest funding scheme is designed to aid Irish companies (both SMEs and large) looking to evolve and expand, and become more competitive in the global market. The application of the funding is broad. There are 3 categories – Capital Assets (Equipment, Software Licenses), Business Innovation (Salaries, Overheads, Consultancy, Testing, Materials, etc.) and Training (including travel & subsistence).
2.2 Lean Business Offer: Similar to the IDA programme this suite of initiatives is designed to encourage clients to adopt Lean business principles to increase performance and competitiveness that will sustain and grow its operations in Ireland and exports abroad. Support is also available to client companies to introduce good Environmental management practices through its Lean/Green business offer.
2.4 Established SME funding: A variety of grants are available include Market Research and Internationalisation Supports, Supports for Product, Process or Services, Development including RD&I Funding, Supports to Enhance and Develop your Management Team, Productivity and Business Process Improvement Supports and Company Expansion Packages.
For details see www.enterprise-ireland.com/en/Productivity/Lean-Business-Offer/, and to check your eligibility for any of the above, please contact your local Enterprise Ireland representative (https://www.localenterprise.ie/Find-Your-Local-Enterprise-Office/).
- UDARAS NA GAELTACHTA GRANTS
For companies in Gaeltacht areas, Údarás can provide a range of financial incentives in the form of grant assistance to assist varied business needs. Support incentives include:
3.1 Feasibility Study Grant
3.2 Research and Development Grant
3.3 Capital Grant
3.4 Training Grant
3.5 Consultancy Services Grant
3.6 Development of Market Research Skills
3.7 Innovation Voucher Initiative
3.8 Online Trading Scheme
3.9 Lean/Green service offer, similar to Enterprise Ireland and the IDA.
For details see www.udaras.ie/en/forbairt-fiontraiochta/cunamh-airgid/, and to check your eligibility for any of the above, please contact your local Údarás representative.
- LOCAL ENTERPRISE OFFICE (LEO) GRANTS
Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) provide a range of financial supports designed to assist with the establishment and/or growth of enterprises (limited company, individuals/sole trader, cooperatives and partnerships) employing up to ten people.
4.1 Feasibility Study Grants
4.2 Priming Grants
4.3 Business Expansion Grants
4.4 Technical Assistance for Micro Exporters
4.5 European Globalisation Fund
4.6 New Agile Innovation Fund
4.7 Lean/Green service offer, similar to Enterprise Ireland and the IDA.
For details see www.localenterprise.ie/Discover-Business-Supports/Financial-Supports/, and to check your eligibility for any of the above, please contact your local LEO representative
Cordatus Consulting Limited, trading as Lean Ireland is a registered Lean consulting advisor with Enterprise Ireland, the IDA, Údarás na Gaeltachta and LEO. .
The Skillnets network around the country has been a wonderful source of supplementary funding for lean six sigma and supply chain training and development. These include, and are not limited to
- BioPharmaChem Skillnet
- CILT Skillnet
- First Polymer Training Skillnet
- ICBE Advanced Productivity Skillnet
- Irish Medtech Skillnet
- ITAG Skillnet
- Lean and Green Skillnet
Please see https://www.skillnetireland.ie/all-networks/ for a complete listing of Skillnet networks.
6. R&D FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES & TAX CREDITS
There is a variety of funding opportunities and structures available to companies be thesaech and process improvement training. y small or large, including:
6.1 In-Company R&D
6.2 Collaborative R&D
6.3 Start-up Company R&D
6.4 EU R&D Funding Programmes
6.5 R&D Tax Incentives. R&D Tax Credits are worth approximately €700m per annum to 1,500 companies in Ireland. The credit is calculated at 25% of qualifying expenditure and is used to reduce a company’s Corporation Tax. Revenue provides guidance here: www.revenue.ie/en/companies-and-charities/reliefs-and-exemptions/research-and-development-rd-tax-credit/index.aspx
6.6 Knowledge Development Box
6.7 Manunet is a network of development agencies whereby each agency uses its own funding programmes to support international collaborative projects performed by companies in the manufacturing sector. MANUNET supports innovation-driven, close-to-market research and development projects in manufacturing. It aims to encourage cross-border value chains that emerge from advancing technologies. Contact the IRDG at http://www.irdg.ie/funding-support/ for advice on R&D funding.
7. INTERTRADE IRELAND
InterTradeIreland has been helping small businesses in Ireland and Northern Ireland explore new cross-border markets, develop new products, processes and services and become investor ready over the last 20 years.
7.1 Acumen sales and marketing programme
7.2 Elevate, specifically aimed at Micro-Enterprises
7.3 FUSION provides financial support to help you get the specialist skills
7.4 Seedcorn competition
7.5 Business Angel investment
For details see www. intertradeireland.com/corporate-information/about-us/ and to check your eligibility for any of the above, please contact your local InterTrade Ireland representative.
8. INVEST NI
As the regional business development agency, Invest NI’s role is to grow the economy of Northern Ireland, by helping new and existing businesses to compete internationally. Some funding programmes include:
8.1 Capability development
8.2 Innovation and R&D
8.3 Start ups with export potential
For details see www.investni.com/ and to check your eligibility for any of the above, please contact your local Invest NI representative.
So, the big question – “Am I eligible?” All of the funding opportunities come with terms and conditions. There’s no magic wand, and the application process can sometimes be off-putting (who likes paperwork?), however it is well worthwhile. The funding typically gives a scaled percentage of your actual investment, in redesigning your business model to increase competitiveness, and enhance your market position so you grow further in new markets. Also, there is typically a cap on the amount of funding that can be claimed from the agencies over a defined period of time. Your local representative will be able to help you out.
The above is only a sampling of funding and is not designed to be exhaustive. If you know of any other sources that may help companies, please post in the comments section below. I wish you well with your funding research and application process.
© Bernie Rushe, BSc, CPIM, Dip SA, MSc, Black Belt