Economic prosperity and wellbeing relies heavily on new businesses being created particularly those that embrace technology and offer high value products and services. Such businesses need training, support and guidance in their early stage of development. Innovation, which is the ability to create new economic value and generate social benefit plays a key role in shaping an economy whether local or regional, thus ensuring its vitality and resilience against unforeseen factors – as for example experienced recently in the steel industry.
The InnoTech Centre recognises the importance of innovation to large and small businesses as well as individuals in driving regional growth. Last year, the College secured the prestigious accolade of Investor in Innovations from the UK Institute of Innovation & Knowledge Exchange – an award that demonstrates the impact of the college’s innovation initiatives on students and local employers.
The Institute of Innovation and Knowledge Exchange (IKE) is the UK’s professional body for innovators responsible for developing, delivering and accrediting innovation practices. The College is the first organisation in Northern Ireland to achieve this standard and now sits with an elite group of companies and academic institutions across the UK who have shown an embedded commitment to innovation.
South West College, have also been selected by the Institute of Innovation & Knowledge Exchange as one of their national bases in the UK. The development of ‘IKE NI’ is an extension of SWC’s investors in innovation status and reinforces College commitment for innovation leadership and excellence. One aspect of this will be to deliver innovation training to companies across Northern Ireland both accredited and non-accredited via innovation workshops. This initiative aligns with new Northern Ireland Industrial Strategy ‘Economy 2030’ and the Programme for Government which both highlight a commitment to strengthen innovation capacity throughout the region supported by the introduction of a new Investors in Innovation accreditation.
The Institute of Innovation & Knowledge Exchange will be formally launched at an event in South West College Dungannon on the 8th November