A Northern Ireland plastics company has employed the European Union-supported Co-Innovate Programme to transform its operation and win new contracts.
The innovation support programme offers free workshops tailored to individual businesses, audits, funding and one-to-one expert mentoring to help develop businesses.
Based in Saintfield, Northern Ireland, Donite Plastics specialises in the design and manufacture of custom moulded plastic parts, using 3D modelling and its in-house mould making facilities.
The company supplies to leading UK manufacturers, including local racing car manufacturer Crosslé in Holywood and Belfast medical equipment company TruCorp.
Donite moved into new premises last year and has since employed Co-Innovate to double turnover and staff.
“Taking part in the Co-Innovate programme really made us think about our management structure and innovating in other ways which we hadn’t considered before,” explained Michael Knight, managing director of Donite Plastics.
The company, he added, has become “much better-organised” in terms of management team and strategic operations and has “vastly increased” production capacity.
Donite said in a 6 Nov statement that it would continue to work with Co-Innovate to further develop specialised thermoformed plastic panels to be used in off-road and agricultural vehicles.
Co-Innovate supports, according to director Neil Ryan, include workshops that “demystify innovation”, one-to-one business assessments, mentoring, and support for the development of new products, processes or services.
In addition, as part of the programme, 70 businesses are matched with academic institutions for 12-month research and innovation programmes.
Co-Innovate is a project supported by the European Union’s Interreg VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).
The programme has been awarded up to €14.7m European regional development funding in order to support over 1,400 SMEs and micro-businesses in Northern Ireland, the border region of Ireland, and western Scotland.