DUNGANNON-based Woodmarque, a specialist joiner and manufacturer for the commercial sector, has been elevated to Exemplar status by InterTradeIreland.
The award recognises exceptionally high levels of innovation and collaboration between a company, a graduate and an academic institution as part of InterTradeIreland’s 'Innovation Boost' programme.
It was the only business from Northern Ireland to receive the accreditation, joining CBE in Co Mayo, KORE in Co Cavan, ITS in Co Cork and Midland Steel in Co Laois.
Between them, the five companies have reported sales of more than £300,000 and savings of close to £900,000 during their Innovation Boost projects (details at www.intertradeireland.com).
Combined, the five SMEs have anticipated sales of upwards of £1.5 million and savings of over £2 million, over the next three years.
InterTradeIreland assistant director Alan Morrow said: “Woodmarque’s success is a great example of what the Innovation Boost programme is about - giving firms the tools to boost their business though innovative collaboration.”
“Covid-19 has caused issues for many firms, but innovation is way you can unlock growth. You can also directly address challenges in your business by harnessing programmes like Innovation Boost to help you solve problems. It can even help you to anticipate future obstacles and mitigate them.”
Through the Innovation Boost initiative, Woodmarque employed graduate Sean McKenna and benefitted from the services and support of the University of Limerick. Together this innovative collaboration set about finding uses for wood waste, a by-product of Woodmarque’s work.
Woodmarque managing director Ronan Quinn said: “We’ve been in business for 40 years and know our industry inside and out, specialising in hotels and apartments and projects including the Chelsea Waterfront in London and the North Wall Quay in Dublin.
“But this is the first time we have ever worked with someone in academia. It’s been eye opening, in terms of applying innovative research to industry. It brings together the best of both skill sets and helps take an idea and actually turn it into reality.”
Ronan adds, “Having a dedicated graduate, partly funded by InterTradeIreland was invaluable, as it gave us extra manpower and skills to take full advantage of the project. I would recommend Innovation Boost as it gives you the opportunity to meet customer need and helps to future-proof your business.”