Press Release

Committee Calls for Executive to Help Drive Innovation

Session: 2012/2013

Date: Monday, 26 November 2012

Reference: ETI 04/12/13

The Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment put forward a motion in the Assembly today that called on the Executive to promote awareness of the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI). 

The SBRI is a way for Government and business to work together to develop innovative solutions to problems and to bring those solutions to market.

Chairperson of the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, Patsy McGlone MLA said: “Considering its widespread use in other regions, I am quite surprised at the lack of uptake of the Small Business Research Initiative by Government departments here.

“The concept of SBRI represents a ground-breaking way of thinking for public sector procurement – Government has a problem, Government invites companies to find solutions to the problem, and companies propose solutions.  But the real gem in this whole process is that Government will provide 100% funding for initial research to develop those solutions, if it believes that an idea may have potential. 

“The Committee is very excited about the potential of the SBRI, as it is a largely untapped resource.  The initiative is particularly well suited to micro businesses and small and medium sized enterprises, and as almost 98% of businesses here fall under that category, it is a very appropriate fit for this region.”

Mr McGlone concluded: “The Committee’s motion today is significant progress towards actively promoting and raising awareness of the initiative.  I strongly urge members to support the motion and call upon the Executive to take action.” 

Notes to Editors:

The SBRI is a means of Government procurement by which public sector organisations procure solutions to specific problems rather than tendering for products or services.  The SBRI is administered by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) which is an NDPB established by the Westminster Department for Business, Innovation & Skills.  Through the SBRI, the TSB provides support for businesses to develop innovative solutions to problems within Government and to bring appropriate solutions to market.  Intellectual Property remains with the company which can often be in a position to avail of wider export opportunities resulting from the end product.

Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment Membership:

Mr. Patsy McGlone (Chairperson)
Mr. Phil Flanagan (Deputy Chairperson)
Mr. Stephen Agnew
Mr. Gordon Dunne
Mr. Paul Frew
Mr. Alban Maginness
Ms. Maeve McLaughlin
Mr. Stephen Moutray
Mr. Robin Newton
Mrs. Sandra Overend
Ms. Sue Ramsey

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