“You need to know where to get good advice about the type of funding that’s the right fit for you and your company. You also need to know where funding is available and it’s important to ensure you have a good choice of options”. Q&A Margaret Hearty, Chief Executive Officer of InterTradeIreland

We are pleased to announce, Shane O’Hanlon, Funding for Growth Manager, InterTradeIreland, will be speaking at our “Meet Our Partners & Board” webinar on Thursday 27th January 2022 at 11am-12:00pm GMT

Please tell us a little about yourself and your role in InterTradeIreland?

I’m Margaret Hearty and I’m the CEO of InterTradeIreland. For over two decades I’ve worked with entrepreneurs, SMEs and start-ups and I am passionate about helping businesses to grow and develop.

InterTradeIreland is a unique organisation with an important role supporting economic growth and innovation on the island of Ireland and I’m proud to play a key role in its strategy and vision. Day to day, I lead a dedicated team who are helping firms in both economies on the island to unlock their potential.

What’s a typical work day like for you?

What’s a typical work day? It’s busy, I can tell you that! Change has certainly become the new norm. My job is very variable and there are many different aspects to it. There’s the internal piece – it is listening to and leading the team and thinking about strategy, as well as the external aspect – talking with SMEs and stakeholders to underline what we’re doing and highlighting how we are advancing innovation through cross-border trade and collaboration. Like every business we need to stay relevant and adapt our products and services in response to business needs and the wider economic environment. I take every opportunity possible to engage in these conversations and for me it is one of the highlights of my role.

Can you tell us about InterTradeIreland’s cross-border approach and importance in 2022?

Our approach really is value through collaboration. Everything we do is about sharing knowledge, best practice and information across the island. We support businesses to trade, collaborate and innovate with partners across the island.

Our IMPACT programme helps businesses across the island to collaborate on industry wide R&D projects with global potential. Our support for the HBAN All Island Business Angel network facilitates investment flowing to good projects across the island. We are also involved with the Fintech corridor between Belfast and Dublin via our Synergy initiative.

Through our Innovation Boost programme, we support wider cross-border cooperation to build innovation capability into businesses, by supporting academics and SMEs to partner across the island to develop new products and services.

At a macro level cross-border collaboration is of huge importance in 2022. Both economies have common challenges and indeed opportunities. Co-operation and joined up thinking in areas such digitalisation and adapting to a low carbon economy are obvious areas. It makes sense to work together.

In sectors such as advanced manufacturing and health and life sciences – I’d say there is even scope for developing internationally competitive clusters with more cross-border cooperation.

How important is female leadership & diversity within InterTradeIreland?

I hope the fact that I am the CEO says a lot about the organisation. I like to think that we are a very inclusive organisation with women in leadership roles across the organisation. We have a fantastic team of women and men with a can do attitude who are focused on going the extra mile for the companies and partners that we work with. InterTradeIreland is definitely an open, welcome and inclusive environment.

How important is it for InterTradeIreland to support women entrepreneurs working in digital health and life science?

I think our track record here really speaks for itself. Our Seedcorn competition is for start-ups, and it’s a really good way to spot emerging trends. Digital Health and life science is a very exciting and important space to be involved with. It can be literally life changing.

At InterTradeIreland, we are very aware of the innovation that is taking place in the sector.
Last year’s winner in the best new start category in the Seedcorn competition was GenoME Diagnostics. COO Sharon Beattie and the team are currently developing a novel blood test to help detect diagnosis of ovarian cancer at an earlier stage.

When it comes to women raising funds. What advice would you give on considering an all-island funding approach?

I think when you are in the space to be raising funds; there are a couple of things to consider. I think you need to know where to get good advice about the type of funding that’s the right fit for you and your company. You also need to know where funding is available and it’s important to ensure you have a good choice of options.

At InterTradeIreland we can help with both of those aspects through our Funding Advisory Service, it’s run on an all-island basis.

What is your thoughts on the Grit International Female Accelerator and why did InterTradeIreland sponsor and become a partner?

At InterTradeIreland we think it is a very important initiative. We became a partner because we are a responsive organisation and we support the mission of the Grit International Female Accelerator. I firmly believe in the value of digital transformation and the value of cross-border collaboration to deliver cutting- edge innovation.

Any final thoughts?

I’d just like to congratulate everyone on the accelerator and to wish them all the best. Plus, if they have a project that they think that InterTradeIreland can assist with, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Bio: Margaret Hearty is currently Chief Executive Officer of InterTradeIreland and has worked with the organisation since its inception.

She has over 20 years’ experience working with entrepreneurs, small & medium sized enterprises and start-up businesses, with extensive experience designing innovative solutions and supports for companies.

Margaret is a business and marketing graduate and also has an MBA.

Website: www.intertradeireland.com
Social media: https://www.linkedin.com/in/margaret-hearty-4a086037

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