The Donegal Local Enterprise Office hosted a unique conference for local and international food businesses in Letterkenny on the 27th September 2016. The conference marked the launch of NICHE, a European project which aims to develop innovation in the food industry in seven European regions where food has been identified as key for jobs and economic growth.
Experts on innovation such as Nils Dulfer from the Improve European Innovation Management Academy and James Burke from James Burke Associates explained the importance of innovation and what steps food businesses can take to start developing a strategy for innovation, and the support available on the national food landscape.
Attendees including food businesses and agencies from the six partners in the NICHE Project: Romania, Derry and Strabane, Finland, Estonia, Crete and Poland, also heard how Donegal businesses have grown and sustained their businesses through innovation. The businesses that spoke were Island Seafoods from Killybegs, Kinnegar Brewing in Rathmullan, Algaran Seaweed Products in Kilcar and the Nvolve Group in Letterkenny.
Collaboration was also noted as being key to enabling innovation in the food sector. Talks from Dr Seán Duffy, head of the School of Tourism at LYIT and Eve-Anne McCarron from The Food Coast demonstrated how collaborations between the public and private sector has delivered results in Donegal.
A key aspect of the NICHE project is to identify, exchange and learn from experiences gained by the partners involved. At the conference attendees received a booklet of good practice case studies showcasing innovation in the food sector from each of the partner regions. During the conference a number of these good practices were presented to the audience. This was followed by a group discussion to identify the key element of innovation in the case study, the learning outcomes and how they could be applied in the other partner regions.
If you would like to learn more about the NICHE Project and about improving the level of innovation in your business contact Patrick Devine on 074-9160735 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.