Cork and Innova Foster partners share learnings at final workshop


Photo: Innova Foster project partners pictured at consortium in Cork in 2018

1st October 2020

Since January 2017, Cork City Council has been a consortium partner of Innova Foster, an Interreg-funded project which focuses on leveraging growth opportunities for scalable, high-potential SMEs by encouraging their engagement with a range of  innovation  supports at local or regional  level.

With the end of the project in sight, Cork City Council participated in the final partner workshop.  This workshop took place virtually and as the concluding event presented the learnings, the experiences and the Action Plan results of consortium partners and stakeholders across the seven EU member states. 

Ronan Gingles, Cork City Council EU Affairs Specialist commended Innova Foster’s work in enhancing the local startup ecosystem; citing the project as just one of Cork City Council’s 24 current projects among likeminded partners across Europe addressing shared challenges.

A key feature of Interreg projects is the inter-regional learning experience with knowledge sharing and peer-learning between participating partners.  Pedro Fernandez Alvarez, Head of EU Projects; Corporate Programmes and Initiatives at the Malta Enterprise highlighted the Maltese perspective, and particularly mentioned the great collaboration that has evolved between stakeholders from Malta and Cork, well beyond the project. Our learning experience has been excellent, allowing us to take home various good practices from Cork, which have been at the basis for our action plan, like the Cork Innovates Partnership, the Innovation Voucher Programme and the National Policy on Entrepreneurship.  We are also extremely pleased to have an opportunity to continue and build upon our strengthening collaboration with Cork City Council in a new project which focuses on social enterprise and which together we won under a recent COSME funding call. 

Eamon Curtin, Director of the IGNITE Programme at University College Cork was one of several local stakeholders who participated in partner learning workshops, attending a 2017 Workshop in Tartu, Estonia. Eamon returned to Cork to replicate an initiative which he experienced during his visit to the University while in Tartu.  Innova Foster provided a valuable opportunity to meet the team at University of Tartu, Estonia to hear how their programme, IdeaLab, inspires, nurtures and supports student entrepreneurship which ultimately influenced how we engage with student entrepreneurs at University College Cork today.



Speaking about the success of the project, Seamus Coghlan, Head of Economic Development at Cork City Council added we are using the knowledge and learning from this collaboration to inform and support Cork’s development as a future-focussed, sustainable, inclusive and competitive city of international scale.  Cork City Council’s involvement with Innova Foster subsequently resulted in two net-new projects being added to the project portfolio across the city, with partners spotting additional opportunities to collaborate further under funding calls since the launch of this project in 2017.