Tyrone business wins top innovation award

Woodmarque joinery, based in Dungannon, is one of only five businesses across the island to be recognised for its innovation capabilities by InterTradeIreland.
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The prestigious Exemplar award is a result of the firm’s participation in InterTradeIreland’s Innovation Boost programme. This initiative helps fund a graduate in the businesses for up to 18 months while assisting SMEs to also collaborate with third level institutions to develop new products or processes.

In business since 1977, family-owned Woodmarque is an expert in internal fire door-sets and joinery for the commercial sector. The SME was matched with academic John Spillane, an expert in building information and sustainability from the University of Limerick. Together this innovative partnership has set about finding uses for wood waste, which is a by-product of Woodmarque’s work.

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Managing director, Ronan Quinn said: “We specialise in hotels and apartments and projects that we have worked on include the Chelsea Waterfront in London and the North Wall Quay in Dublin. We’ve been in business for over 40 years, and know our industry inside and out. However, this is the first time we have ever worked with someone in academia. It’s been eye opening, in terms of applying innovative research to industry. It brings together the best of both skill sets and helps take an idea and actually turn it into reality.”

Woodmarque managing director, Ronan Quinn, with the Exemplar Award.Woodmarque managing director, Ronan Quinn, with the Exemplar Award.
Woodmarque managing director, Ronan Quinn, with the Exemplar Award.

John Spillane from University of Limerick stated: “The level of knowledge which is housed in third level education and research institutions up and down the country, is a resource which is largely untapped by industry. These institutions provide a wealth of knowledge and experience.”

“Just reach out to InterTradeIreland and they will link you to suitable academic partners, who have a mutual interest in the areas that you are keen to explore and develop.”

Mr Quinn added: “Having a dedicated graduate available to the company was invaluable, as it gave us extra manpower and skills to take full advantage of the project. I would recommend Innovation Boost as it gives you the opportunity to meet customer need and help future-proof your business.

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Alan Morrow, assistant director for InterTradeIreland says “Woodmarque is a great example of what can be achieved through enterprise, collaboration and innovation. It is important that we recognise their success, which we hope will encourage other SMEs to participate in the Innovation Boost Programme to improve their productivity and increase their potential.”

Graduate Sean McKenna with the Exemplar Award.Graduate Sean McKenna with the Exemplar Award.
Graduate Sean McKenna with the Exemplar Award.

“Woodmarque is one of only five businesses across the island that has been awarded Exemplar status. Between them, the five companies have reported sales of more than £300,000 and savings of close to £900,000 during their Innovation Boost projects. Combined, the five SMEs have anticipated sales of upwards of £1.5 million and savings of over £2 million, over the next three years.”


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