Business

Catalyst launches new five-year strategy with focus on inclusive innovation

Pictured at the launch of Catalyst’s impact report and five-year strategy are (from left) Helen McCarthy, chief executive of pHion Therapeutics, Catalyst chair Ellvena Graham and Catalyst chief executive Steve Orr
Emma Deighan

ENTREPRENEUR support firm Catalyst will back 1,000 individuals from under-represented groups and help 10 scale-ups break into the US.

The move is part of the not-for-profit organisation's five-year-plan which was launched yesterday.

The 1,000 individuals from under-represented groups participating in its programmes will produce 50 new products as part of the plan, it said.

It will also support 15 Northern Ireland firms under 10 years old to reach market capitalisation of £100 million.

Catalyst also revealed for every £1 invested into its entrepreneurship and growth initiatives, £41 was generated in economic impact and return on investment for the participants and their businesses.

Those figures came from independent research into Catalyst's performance over the past five years.

The impact report also found that companies that participated in the programmes reported a 187 per cent increase in their combined workforce from 2017-2021.

Over the next five years the company will also identify and support the development of 100 prominent role model entrepreneurs that come from innovative start-ups and represent diverse gender and socio-economic backgrounds.

It will also support 20 new sustainable start-ups founded by females and/or non-university graduates in the next 12 months and 10 NI scale-up businesses to successfully enter the US market in the next year.

To support its sustainability drive it will raise £100m in funding for new buildings and development at its campuses and reduce carbon emissions by 65 per cent.

Steve Orr, chief executive of Catalyst, said: “As a we look forward to the next 10 years, we want to build on the success we've had by making innovation more inclusive and ensuring that everyone in our society has the opportunity to access employment in innovation driven enterprises or experience benefit from new innovations developed in Northern Ireland.

“We have set ourselves some stretching targets, but we believe we have to think big if we want Northern Ireland to be competitive globally.”

Ellvena Graham, chair of Catalyst, said the goal is to make it easier for entrepreneurs to innovate.

She said: “The board believes that with a new focus on inclusivity and sustainability, there is a huge opportunity for Catalyst to make even more of an impact in the future.”

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