Economy Minister welcomes 61 business projects sharing £3.3million in innovation funding

Sixty-one businesses across Northern Ireland have been selected to share in a £3.3million government investment to drive forward innovations on the back of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Friday, 7th May 2021, 5:00 pm
Economy Minister Diane Dodds

Innovate UK’s Business-led Innovation Competition aims to fast-track the development of innovations borne out of the coronavirus crisis while supporting businesses of all sizes across the UK.

Economy Minister Diane Dodds said: “Covid-19 made 2020 a very challenging year for our economy. However, it also led many Northern Ireland businesses to be extremely innovative and creative.

“I am very impressed by the wide range of local projects selected for this competition and look forward to seeing how they develop and grow.”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The Business-led Innovation in Response to Global Disruption competition was launched in April 2020.

Twenty projects in Northern Ireland were funded within the original UK government support package for the scheme. The Department for Economy secured a further £2.3million in funding for another 41 projects.

The successful Northern Ireland projects include the provision of online educational support for children with special needs, the development of virtual reality games to help people in isolation stay active, and the creation of a platform for live streamed concerts.

Two of the company’s awarded funding were Arbarr Electronics in Limavady and St Columb’s Hall Trust.

James McCorley, Managing Director of Arbarr Electronics explained: “This award has been a sensational boost during one of the most challenging years in Arbarr’s 30 year history.

“Winning this competition and associated funds has enabled us to research and develop new technologies that allow the most compact packaging of UVC LED lights to produce the Sterallite Disinfecting Wand - a portable and effective irradiation device of minimal size and weight.

“As well as providing products that combat the spread of Covid-19, the funding has helped secure the maintenance of our research, development and digital marketing facilities whilst protecting vital jobs for the specialised team employed in these areas throughout the pandemic and beyond.”

Anne-Marie Gallagher from St Columb’s Hall Trust continued: “St Columb’s Hall is a landmark site in our city. It has been an intrinsic piece of the cultural, architectural and historical fabric of Derry since 1886.

“We now need to revive it and St Columb’s Hall Trust are delighted to receive this funding from Innovate UK and the Department for Economy

“It will aid our efforts to transform this Victorian building into a 21st century smart building that will lead the way in providing virtual events, conferences and civic discussion in these challenging times for the cultural sector.”

Stewart Miller, Interim Chief Technology Officer at Innovate UK added: “We really welcome the opportunity to support more innovative Northern Ireland businesses, through this partnership with DfE. The response to this competition has been phenomenal, and we hope that this will enable thousands of companies to innovate their way to a brighter future.”

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper whenever you are able to do so.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper when you can safely.

You can also enjoy unlimited access to the best news from across Northern Ireland and the UK by subscribing to

With a digital subscription, you can read more than five articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit now to sign up.

Thank you