It’s ICE Work If You Can Get It…

A Co Tyrone firm is reaping the rewards of a new cross-border enterprise programme which aims to increase participant company turnover by tens of millions, generate 300 new jobs and take nearly 40 companies into new export sales.

The Innovation for Competitive Enterprises (ICE) Programme was developed and is being led by the Regional Development Centre at Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) in partnership with the University of Ulster, the University of Glasgow and Glasgow Caledonian University.

The programme is operating in the six border counties of the Republic of Ireland and in Northern Ireland and Western Scotland.

The scheme provides innovation assistance to help with the development of new products and processes which in turn leads to increased turnover and jobs growth.

Omagh-based Telestack Ltd participated on the ICE programme and underwent a review of the entire process from sales handover through engineering design, production to delivery, site assembly and commissioning.

The company, established in May 1999, specialises in the complete in-house design, manufacture, installation and commissioning of mobile bulk material handling systems.

Telestack managing director Adrian McCutcheon said that business processes were re-engineered and the organisation was restructured slightly, with positive results.

“Telestack have benefited immensely from participation on the ICE programme by using it as a vehicle to strategically plan the business using a framework of structured sessions to support company growth through thinking differently,” he said.

An independent evaluation of the ICE scheme completed during 2012, at a time when a first cohort of 30 companies had completed the programme, found that 103 new jobs had been created or existing jobs safeguarded, and 13 of the 30 companies had increased export sales.

Other benefits included 34 new products being developed, 10 licensing and technology transfer opportunities were realised, 23 companies entered new markets, and 25 companies achieved increased sales.

If ICE continues this performance with the second and third SMEs it is on track to create or safeguard 300 jobs and help nearly 40 companies increase their exports.

A very upbeat ICE programme manager, Kieran Fegan, said: “We’re blowing the targets away. We are absolutely delighted and the companies are even more delighted with the progress they are making.”