Smart ECO Hub Launched

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The East Border Region and Louth Local Authorities are delighted to support the launch of a new strategic business development initiative called the Smart ECO Hub. The vision of the Smart ECO Hub is to create a network of innovating companies to foster vibrant low carbon innovation so that it can become a key driver of sustainable business growth in the north east of Ireland both north and south of the border. The Smart ECO Hub is governed by East Border Region Ltd., and managed by Louth Local Authorities under Michael A. Curran, Director of Cross Border Economic Development. It is further supported by the University of Ulster, South Eastern Regional College, Southern Regional College, Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT), Centre for Competitiveness and the Councils of the Metropolitan Area in Belfast (COMET).

Louth Local Authorities, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, DkIT and local business have actively been supporting research into the European Energy Clusters and as a result of their findings in conjunction with East Border Region they have secured almost €1 million in support under the European Union’s INTERREG IVA Programme. Governments on both sides of the border have also supported the Smart ECO Hub. Speaking on behalf of the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Minister Fergus O’Dowd TD stated:

“This project epitomises one of the key priorities for the Department of Communication, Energy and Natural Resources. By encouraging greater co-operation between firms operating within different regions we will be able to enhance their collective ability to compete at a global level. Innovation lies at the heart of this approach and must be supported in order for businesses to grow and prosper in today's challenging economic landscape. Companies across Europe have been capitalising on the benefits of these clusters, now it's Ireland's time to seize the opportunities and become drivers of innovation.

I am also delighted to see that the Smart ECO Hub is a natural extension of the Living Lab concept which is based in Louth and has proved to be so successful in the development of age-friendly products and services on a European stage. Adapted to energy, it will give the region a unique opportunity to accelerate into a competitive advantage in a growing sector."

Chairman of East Border Region Councillor Jackie Crowe welcomed the innovative new project, “I am delighted to see the Smart Eco Hub project come to fruition. This is the first time East Border Region has worked with such a varied range of stakeholders, bringing together our Educational Institutes and our colleagues from the COMET grouping of Councils. I look forward with interest to the roll out of the project and the further opportunities which may develop as a result of the Smart Eco Hub project”.

The Smart ECO Hub has also been supported by leading organisations and companies within the low carbon industry sector of the North East coast. Speaking at the launch of Smart ECO Hub Sean O’Driscoll, Chairman and CEO of Glen Dimplex, said:

"Now is the time for businesses to come together and drive our economy. Ireland needs Jobs. This initiative provides access and insight into the other Europeans clusters whose member companies are excelling within the low carbon sector. I would encourage local businesses to join the Smart ECO Hub, as this network offers businesses a helping hand to innovate and develop strategic collaborative partnerships. The Smart ECO Hub has the resources, the expertise and the backing of both public and private players".

The Smart ECO Hub is modelled on European best practice and the team was excited to launch in Dundalk on 25 October last. For further information on Smart ECO Hub please Tel: 00353 42 938 5722 or email info@smartecohub.com

This project is part financed by the European Union’s INTERREG IVA Cross Border Programme managed by the Special EU Programmes Body.

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Background Information: -

About SEUPB / INTERREG IVA:

The Special EU Programmes Body is a North/South Implementation Body sponsored by the Department of Finance and Personnel in Northern Ireland and the Department of Finance in Ireland. It is responsible for managing two EU Structural Funds Programmes PEACE III and INTERREG IV designed to enhance cross border co-operation, promote reconciliation and create a more peaceful and prosperous society. The Programmes operate within clearly defined areas including Northern Ireland, the Border Region of Ireland and Western Scotland.

• The INTERREG IVA 2007-2013 Programme is worth €256 million and aims to address the economic and social problems which result from the existence of borders. It has two distinct priority measures to create co-operation for a more prosperous and sustainable cross border region.
• For more information on the SEUPB please visit www.seupb.eu

About EBR:

• East Border Region Ltd (EBR) is a Local Authority led organisation which comprises ten Local Authorities namely; Newry and Mourne, Down and Banbridge District Councils, Armagh City and District Council, Craigavon, Ards and North Down Borough Councils in Northern Ireland and Louth, Monaghan and Meath County Councils in the Republic Of Ireland.

• EBR was established in 1976 to promote innovative, cross border economic development in the areas of agriculture, Industry, Commerce and Tourism and to improve the living conditions and employment prospects of those living in the region. EBR was awarded the role of Implementing Body in the Ireland/Northern Ireland INTERREG IIIA Programme 2000-2006 and as a result successfully implemented approximately €25 million to genuine cross border projects across the region. At present EBR has been successful in securing approximately €15 million from the INTERREG IVA Programme. EBR is a truly democratic, representative, transparent, multi skilled cross border organisation.

• For more information on EBR please visit www.eastborderregion.com

This project is part financed by the European Union’s INTERREG IVA Cross Border Programme managed by the Special EU Programmes Body

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