Delegations from Spain, Slovenia and the United Kingdom enjoyed a three-day trade mission in Cork, where they got to meet with a whole host of the region’s ICT firms, spanning from SMEs to the large multinationals. The purpose of EuroTech Connect was to strengthen existing business relationships between Be Wiser partner clusters’ members through active face-to-face connections using ‘Be Wiser Connect’ and facilitated through the ‘Business Roaming Agreement’ and the EU funded FP7 project. 

In the EU, clusters are seen as a key instrument to support SMEs, and to remove typical hurdles associated with smaller firm size. International cooperation between companies can be facilitated if they are affiliated with a network or cluster.  The Be Wiser consortium partners consist of seven ICT clusters who share a common objective of stimulating ICT and Wireless and Internet Security innovation. Through the Be Wiser project, the clusters can offer a greater breadth of competence to the marketplace and can exchange successful practices. They can also achieve a critical mass to attract additional ICT clusters into the network.

The Irish Triple Helix Cluster, made up of Cork Institute of Technology, Cork County Council and [email protected], played host to six visiting SMEs, as part of the three day EuroTech Connect event.  A packed itinerary for the visitors included a private audience with Bob Savage, Vice-President and Managing Director at EMC Ireland.  This session also included an extensive tour of EMC’s Centre of Excellence site at Ovens, Co. Cork.  A second highlight included a visit to Ireland’s smartest building at One Albert Quay where the visitors heard VP and General Manager of Tyco Ireland, Donal Sullivan speak about Tyco’s journey to being globally headquartered in Cork. 

Image: Michael Loftus (Head of Faculty Engineering and Science, CIT), John Hobbs (CIT) Denis Kennelly (IBM Security) - Keynote Speaker and Dr Eoin Byrne (CIT) at the EuroTech Connect Networking Breakfast.

While globalisation in the ICT field is not new, there is a consensus that its nature has deeply changed and a new wave of internationalisation has begun. While these developments can be an opportunity, they can also put substantial challenges to a heterogeneous industry. SMEs in particular find themselves in a disadvantaged position compared to larger competitors regarding internationalisation. Be Wiser prepared an internationalisation platform to support SMEs, integrating two different tools: Be Wiser Connect and the Business Roaming Agreement.

The visiting firms to Cork for EuroTech Connect had ample opportunity to meet in person with a whole host of ICT firms operating in Cork.  Integral to facilitating these connections were the face to face ‘Be Wiser Connect’ meetings organised by Dr John Hobbs and Dr Eoin Byrne CIT.

Image: Simon Rea (B-Secur), Stuart Laidlaw (Cyberlytic), Stane Baša (Mikropis), Tomaž Bergant (ResEvo); Alberto Fernandez (Sensing & Control) and Albert Manjón Vázquez (Zolertia), presenting at EuroTech Connect - 26/05/16.

Dr Annalisa Zuccotti, CyberForum IT cluster Karlsruhe, Germany notes that “events like EuroTech Connect are proof that cross cluster collaboration works and more targeted inter-cluster connection trade missions like this should take place across Europe, we at the Clusterize team are glad that the Business Roaming Agreement (BRA) was used by CIT and [email protected] to support and facilitate new connections at EuroTech Connect”.

Stuart Laidlaw, founder and CEO of Cyberlytic, a cyber security company with offices in Belfast and London, was hugely grateful to the Irish Triple Helix Cluster for the connections they made at EuroTech Connect: “Cyberlytic has really benefited from the EuroTech Connect tour, we’ve made some excellent connections with both MNC and SME companies in Cork at a senior management and VP level and hope to develop partnerships and business opportunities over the coming months”.

Image: Adrian Condon & Simon Rea (B-Secur), Nina Sega (ICT Technology Network), Stuart Laidlaw & St. John Harold (Cyberlytic) at the Networking Breakfast of EuroTech Connect - 26/05/16.

For further information on the V-LINC analysis methodology designed by Dr John Hobbs and Eoin Byrne in the Cork institute of Technology, the Be Wiser project  and Be Wiser Connect please use the links provided. 

Tangible EuroTech Connect Outputs:

  • Twenty seven connections were made at the face-to-face ‘Connect’ event between the visiting SMEs and IT firms and Research Centres located in Cork.
  • Two NDA’s have been signed between visiting and Cork based firms.
  • Two research centres in Cork are being supplied with IOT sensor technology from Spain.
  • One visiting firm has had formal meetings with IDA Ireland re: opening an office in Cork.
  • Visiting firms and cluster managers established connections with EMC, DePuy, Janssen and Johnson Controls at a decision making CEO level.