At the heart of our Smart Belfast framework is the understanding that innovation is much more powerful if commercial, academic and public bodies can find ways to work together to develop new ideas, products and services.

Late in 2016, working with Invest NI, we established the ‘Smart Belfast Collaborative Challenge’ which provides funding to SMEs to work together to explore innovative opportunities in the areas of Active Living, Tourism and Transport.

Participating companies receive support to engage with experts to jointly develop ideas, explore the art of the possible, and work towards new commercial ventures.

In our current programme 68 SMEs submitted 17 scoping proposals to the programme.

We are now working with five successful SME networks each of which will receive up to £25,000 worth of support.

Three networks are focus on the tourist sector to better understand visitor behaviour to plan and manage tourism in the city.

If successful networks will be able to apply in Phase 2 for up to £170,000 (per network) to develop a commercial proposition.

You can find out more about Invest NI’s Collaborative Growth programme here.