Sunday, 26 May 2013

Key to Mid West Region’s future competitiveness up in the cloud


The Nenagh-based Mid West Regional Authority (MWRA) is looking to Europe to increase the number of rural small & medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Clare, Limerick and Tipperary availing of Cloud Clustering technology.

The MWRA has been appointed as one of four lead agencies in an EU project named CREATE, which aims to stimulate the virtual clustering of rural SMEs across partner regions of North West Europe who have already demonstrated a strong growth potential.

Cloud Clustering reduces expenses and the need for investment in expensive hardware technology for businesses through shared use of hosted services.

The MWRA said it is working with the Ennis Innovate Regional Innovation Centre to establish a Virtual Consortium in the Mid West to demonstrate to other SMEs the potential of virtual clustering.

Majella O’Brien, EU Projects Officer for the MWRA explained that rural Irish business are behind their European counterparts in embracing cloud clustering.

She added: “Our remit in rolling out this project is to encourage rural enterprises of the benefits of partnering with other companies to avail of shared cloud-based services, thus increasing competitiveness and export market potential through exposure to other markets. Research shows that 1 in 3 businesses in Europe is currently availing of cloud-based services with this figure set to rise to 1 out of every 2 by 2015. Therefore, it is imperative that businesses in the Mid West Region of Ireland are not left behind.”

Ms. O’Brien continued: “Working with the Ennis Innovate Regional Innovation Centre, we will be looking to nurture innovation and entrepreneurship through the creation of a Virtual Consortium consisting of like-minded SMEs across EU partner regions who have already demonstrated a strong growth potential. Members of the Consortium will become leaders in their regions as they demonstrate to other SMEs the potential of virtual clustering. The Consortium will include SMEs from sectors such as Green and environmental technologies; Creative industries & digital media; Security & Defence; Biomedics; and Automotives.

“This project will also serve to demonstrate to policy makers and practitioners the critical purpose that next generation broadband serves. Through the creation of a virtual network the project will demonstrate how such networking can improve productivity, enhance creativity and stimulate entrepreneurship and innovation in SMEs, and provide them with scope to tap into and explore new markets,” added. Ms. O’Brien.

According to Gert O’Rourke, Director of Ennis Innovate: “Significant innovations in recent years in virtualisation and distributed computing, in conjunction with improved broadband access and a weakened worldwide economy, have accelerated interest in cloud computing. Our role in this project will be to assist the MWRA in liaising with start-ups and established SME’s to garner interest in joining the proposed Virtual Consortium in an effort to encourage enterprises to consider Cloud Clustering.”

“Cloud Clustering has a proven track record of removing traditional constraints such as geographical isolation as SMEs engage on a virtual collaboration leading to improved competitiveness. The Virtual Consortium we are looking to establish in this Region will provide a cost effective mechanism for SMEs to sell their products and ideas to a much wider market than that which is available within the region. Ongoing support and mentoring will be provided to members of the Consortium by a network of business experts”, Ms. O’Rourke commented.

CREATE is an Interreg IVB North West Europe project. For further information, contact Majella O’Brien of the MWRA (Tel: 067-33197, Email: