SBIR Ireland


Under Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Ireland, the national innovative pre-commercial procurement initiative run by Enterprise Ireland, Cork County Council has published its first ever SBIR competition with the challenge title ‘Improving the Resilience of Cork’s Older Population During Critical Events’.  The competition is co-funded by EI and is a collaborative action between both organisations. In line with EU procurement guidelines and rules, the competition is open to companies and organisations from across the EU. Deadline for submission of proposals is 12 noon Friday June 2nd 2017. 

Through the SBIR Ireland process, Cork County Council wishes to explore low cost and accessible solutions that will help Cork’s older citizens maintain a good quality of life and enable them to remain and feel secure in their home. Solutions sought should aim to address one or more of the effects of being / feeling isolated and insecure and in particular, increase the resilience of older people to respond to the impacts of critical events e.g. flooding, severe weather, burglary, injury or times of particular distress etc. 

Please see the following link to etenders (the government’s central facility for all public sector contracting authorities to advertise procurement opportunities and award notices) detailing all relevant information and contact details.

SBIR Programme Background

Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) is a mechanism which enables public sector bodies to connect with innovative ideas and technology businesses, to provide innovative solutions for specific public sector challenges and needs.

SBIR falls under the category of pre-commercial procurement (PCP).  PCP as defined by the European Union, involves the purchase of research by a Government entity, which is undertaken with the objective of stimulating innovation that the contracting authority or some other party may benefit from at a later stage, when goods or services are not currently available or developed from the outcomes of the research.

Through SBIR, the Public sector is able to:

  • Identify innovative solutions by reaching out to organisations from different sectors including small and emerging businesses
  • Create new technical solutions through accelerated technology development, whilst risk is reduced through a phased development programme
  • Provide applicants with a transparent, competitive and reliable source of early-stage funding.

Through SBIR potential suppliers or companies can:

- Compete for each demand driven project in a transparent manner
- Demonstrate a route to market for their solution (SBIR is particularly suited to small and medium-sized business, as contracts are of relatively low value and operate in short timescales)
- Focus on specific identified needs, increasing the chance of exploitation as developments are 100% funded – it is not a government grant
- Retain the intellectual property generated from the project (with certain rights of use retained by the contracting department)

SBIR is a competitive programme chaneled through an open call to industry prepared and published by Public sector organisations. It is a two-phased development approach commencing with initial feasibility and followed by a final, detailed, product development stage. 


SBIR Ireland

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Ireland was launched in July 2014. To date, Enterprise Ireland (EI) has successfully managed three pilot SBIR projects:

  1. Collaborative project between ESB Ecars, SEAI and EI seeking smart technology solutions for Electric Vehicles (EVs) in shared access parking areas (July 2104)
  2. Collaborative project with partners SEAI and EI to develop smart technology solutions to assist BER end users interpret the data and datasets available through the BER scheme (October 2015)
  3. Collaborative project with Dublin City Council and EI to seek low cost, smart and innovative solutions to increase the number of people cycling in Dublin city (March 2016)

Following on from this, it is anticipated that up to ten SBIR projects will be funded over the period 2017-2018 together with partners from the public sector.

Enterprise Ireland plans to release a first call for proposals for participation to the Irish Public sector in Q4 2016.

Enterprise Ireland anticipates that SBIR Ireland will:

  • Generate economic development by stimulating companies (including technology start-ups) to leverage domestic reference sites and in doing so, secure new global sectoral and geographical markets, leading to increased export sales and job creation.

A fund of €1m has been approved by EI’s Board to co or part fund successful SBIR projects.

For further information visit