Only then can we react swiftly and innovatively to any current challenge, under the guidance and direction of our independent and knowledgeable leadership group. We have created a model to develop alternative income streams (membership, sponsorship and philanthropy), while Catalyst Inc continues to provide the crucial underwriting that enables recruitment and retention of our excellent staff.
The NI Science Park Trust is a key element in that model. It is the vehicle to enable us to grow philanthropic support to aid Northern Ireland’s growth into a thriving knowledge economy. We have been strongly and publicly endorsed through the Patronage of HRH Duke of York KG, and in the US by both Senator George Mitchell and former US Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland, Declan Kelly.
In the last couple of years we have seen great examples of how the private sector can support the critical work that we do. TG Eakin, one of our leading medical devices companies, led the way with two significant donations to the Trust.
In 2015 Tom O’Gorman and Jim Finnegan, two successful local entrepreneurs, worked with the Trust to develop the Generation Innovation Internship Prize. This provided a prize fund of £22,000, with six young entrepreneurs receiving £2,000 internships to develop their business ideas, alongside an Entrepreneur in Residence. Following an intense period of work on their business ideas during the summer of 2015, they pitched for the winning prize of £10,000.
We were delighted when the NI Science Park Trust was recognised at the UK Science Park Association Awards in July 2014, where we won the ‘Most Innovative Project’, beating off competition across the UK.
A key aim of the Trust is to engage the whole community in wealth creation through innovation and technology, by prioritising science and technology in education and business. Catalyst Inc is calling on the local and international business community to get involved with the Trust and develop new talent on the basis of “enlightened self-interest.”