Harnessing Creativity – Innovative Project Supporting Business and Creative Professional Throughout The Region of Leitrim, Fermanagh & Tyrone

A unique Harnessing Creativity Project in the border counties of Leitrim, Fermanagh, Tyrone and surrounding Counties was launched in Carrick on Shannon on Friday March 15th. It represents part of a €2 million investment in the creative industries in the region.

Leitrim County Enterprise Board and the Irish Central Border Area Network (ICBAN) unveiled details of two major projects, Harnessing Creativity and a new €1.2m state of the art Technology Enterprise Centre due to open to in Carrick on Shannon next summer. Both initiatives  aim to exploit the wealth of creative talent in the region. They are being funded through the European Union’s INTERREG IVA programme managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).

Harnessing Creativity is a cross-border project that will be delivered by Leitrim County Enterprise Board in partnership with the Irish Central Border Area Network (ICBAN), Leitrim County Council, Fermanagh District Council, Omagh Enterprise Agency, Tyrone Donegal Partnership and the Leitrim Design House.

Harnessing Creativity will offer a range of supports and encourage collaboration between creative and mainstream businesses in County Leitrim and the wider Central Border Region.

The €799, 880 cross-border Harnessing Creativity project was launched  at the Dock Arts Centre in Carrick on Shannon by Cathal Gaffney the two time Oscar-nominee and CEO of animation company Brown Bag Films.

“The Creative Economy is an important part of our economy, it plays to our strengths and has international appeal with real economic value” he said. “I believe that the Harnessing Creativity project is a brilliant example of networking creativity with business, where left brain meets right brain and where the creative and economic potential of the border counties is harnessed. These partnerships will put a focus on the abundant talent in this region and will ultimately be a catalyst to create jobs”.

The project will benefit 200 creative sector businesses including sole traders and SME’s and at least 100 businesses from the broader economy.  It will deliver 70 master classes, 140 training and mentoring workshops, two regional showcase events and  a travelling exhibition which will run until May 2015 and be a showcase for participants.

Joe Lowe CEO of Leitrim County Enterprise Board revealed that this project combined with a new Technology Enterprise Centre would bring the total funding for the sector in the region to €2m. The 7,500 sq. ft. Enterprise Centre will be geared towards those working in the technology and creative sectors.

“We are at the threshold of a significant change in the way we can do business” said Mr Lowe. “Harnessing Creativity comes at an ideal time to contribute to making that change happen together with the skills and talents of the people of the region”.

Project coordinator Anna-Marie O’Rourke explained that the project would facilitate collaboration between for example, artists, writers , animators, sculptors, furniture designers and photographers with those in more mainstream sectors including architects, engineers and carpenters . “Mentoring will be provided by creative professionals who will guide, inspire and help advance projects from idea exchange to product development,” she explained.

As well as availing of marketing, mentoring and advice from experts in their areas,  participants of the Creative labs part of the project will also receive a budget of €1500 each to fund such expenses as specialist equipment, materials or workspace.

Lorraine Mc Court of SEUPB welcomed the development. “This EU-funded initiative will help to establish a network of businesses which can support each other by offering much needed services; thereby consolidating a solid base for the creative sector throughout the region. This will make it more attractive for investors, clients and suppliers alike.”

Speaking at the launch, Shane Campbell, Chief Executive of ICBAN said: “The Harnessing Creativity Project enables us to work together in strengthening the creative sector within the Central Border Region.  ICBAN are delighted to be the Lead Partner on this project as we strive to make this region smart and internationally competitive and a good place to do business in.”

For further information contact Jill Stronge on 028 8224 9494 or by email at jill.stronge@omaghenterprise.co.uk.

Photos of the launch on Facebook.