Building Your Business
PLATO EBR Set for a Bright Future: Closing One PLATO door and Opening Another in the Eastern and Border Region

31 March 2015

The PLATO EBR Programme is a business development programme providing opportunities for networking and management development to SME's throughout the East Border Region. During 2012-2015 the PLATO EBR Programme was funded through the European Union's INTERREG IVA Cross Border Programme. The initiative has managed thirteen PLATO EBR groups (13 heterogeneous groups of 10-15 companies in each), two forums (heterogeneous groups of 15-20 companies in each) and three clusters (Internationalisation/export – circa 10 companies, Food – circa 15 companies and E-tourism – circa 30 companies) through a range of customised monthly programmes.

In April 2015, PLATO EBR attracted significant mainstream funding from the Local Enterprise Offices (and their respective County Councils) in the areas of Cavan, Louth, Meath and Monaghan. The over-riding objective of this type of collaborative network is to enable entrepreneurial growth and build the management capability of the indigenous enterprise base within the region, resulting in increased turnover and employment for businesses and the economy but also to feed the innovation pipeline for the Local Enterprise Offices and to manage the gap for growth-oriented enterprises.

The programme offers owner managers a business support forum where they can network and discuss business ideas with established large 'parent' companies in the region. These 'parent' companies are leaders in their industry sectors, and support the programme by sharing their skills and experience within the network. PLATO provides a confidential and safe learning environment where participants benefit from facilitated management training, collaborative activity, business linkages and networking at county and regional level from entrepreneurs further along the growth trajectory.

The work of PLATO EBR extends county boundaries supporting entrepreneurs at regional level thereby satisfying their demand for networking beyond the county level yet ensuring a cohesive approach to the supports provided within Local Enterprises Offices. The evidence suggests a colloquial approach to networking on a regional platform is hugely valuable to how SMEs implement and exploit innovation. Companies interested in contributing to PLATO EBR from April 2015 should email for an expression of interest form.

PLATO EBR would like to thank the Parent Companies who gave of their time and expertise on an ongoing basis to the participant companies engaged in the various PLATO EBR networks during the Programme 2012-2015. We would also like to thank those who contributed to the Programme in any way and especially the Participant Companies for sharing their knowledge, experiences and for their willingness to engage in collaborative networks and partnerships across the East Border Region and within the wider PLATO network.

The Partner Organisations involved in PLATO EBR 2012-2015 were as follows:-

Monaghan Local Enterprise Office & Monaghan County Council (Host Organisation)

East Border Region Limited (Lead Partner)

Louth Local Enterprise Office & Louth County Council

Meath Local Enterprise Office & Meath County Council

Armagh City & District Council

Banbridge District Council

Craigavon Borough Council

Newry & Mourne District Council

Down District Council

Ards Borough Council

North Down Borough Council

PLATO Ireland

PLATO EBR would also like to acknowledge the commitment of all the Programme Staff in delivering the operational aspects of the Programme. To download a report of the results of the PLATO EBR Programme 2012-2015, please down load the report below.

PLATO EBR Sustaining Collaborative Networks Report DrCH

  • Cavan
  • Louth
  • Meath
  • Monaghon