A very successful Open Week was held recently at inishowen innovation (ii) on St. Oran’s Road, Buncrana (12 – 16 February 2024). Over the course of the week, the ii’s doors were opened to anyone interested in finding out about the services provided in this new state-of-the-art building, which was opened officially just four months ago. Business owners, remote workers and aspiring entrepreneurs were welcomed into the hub to see the impressive facilities and hear from experts in the latest technologies, in entrepreneurial supports, digital marketing and educational opportunities.

A full schedule of 14 events was organised across the week and promoted online to encourage local businesses, entrepreneurs, and remote workers to visit the ii for the first time and participate in informative events. 

ii Advisory Board member organisations were especially helpful in providing speakers and interactive sessions during the week. 

Coaching clinics for current and future innovators were provided by Kevin and Conor from Alpha Innovation. Dearbhla Kelly with Donegal ETB provided one-on-one sessions for business owners on training needs analysis. Brian O'Malley with Enterprise Ireland and Alison McGonagle from WestBIC conducted a combined session on entrepreneurial supports and funding opportunities. Sinead and Emily with Inishowen Development Partnership (IDP) shared their enterprise and employer engagement supports, Elaine Whoriskey with Donegal County Council’s Economic Development Group presented their business and marketing activities, alongside  New Frontiers' programme opportunities shared by Geraldine Beirne and Local Enterprise Office (LEO) Donegal business supports from Steven Perry.

There were interactive technology-based presentations from ATU Donegal Dept. of Electronics and Mechanical Engineering and from Stephen Seawright of WiSAR Lab & Technology Gateway, who also shared details of opportunities to work with the Data2Sustain project. Healthy collaborative discussions arose from the 'Harnessing the Power of AI for Yourself and Your Business' session, provided by ERNACT staff and two ii-based AI experts, the 'Mastering Instagram and TikTok for Digital Marketing Success' session, provided by Outside the Box and kindly sponsored by CoLab and the 'Create a Compelling Value Proposition' workshop provided by Jacqueline McCann of Roll Innovation was very well-received. The week was rounded off with a social meetup for remote workers co-hosted by Grow Remote.

Over 60 individuals participated in the events and many more engaged with the ii online during and since Open Week. Introductions were made between startups and agencies, between business owners and those providing services. One of the highlights of the week was the 'Startup Showcase' on Friday morning, which featured 5-minute pitches from 8 of the ii community’s very own entrepreneurs, showing a diversity of sector, skills and ingenuity that was very impressive to the attendees, which included representatives from the Donegal Women in Business Network and the newly appointed Senior Innovation Catalyst for the West and North West region who travelled from PorterShed in Galway to attend. 

The impressive line-up of speakers who participate throughout the week and the active engagement of our vibrant ii community of established businesses, entrepreneurs and remote workers is testament to the innovation and talent that is right here in Inishowen, and which the ii is supporting and highlighting, in the pursuit of its ultimate goal of supporting the creation of employment opportunities for the people of Inishowen and the surrounding communities.

Anyone starting a new tech business, looking to use disruptive technology to improve their business, or looking for world class co-working facilities to use for a day or on a regular basis can learn more about Inishowen Innovation at theii.com.

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Contact: Ianire Renobales
Email: ianire.renobales@ernact.eu

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