A Donegal-based firm which has been in business for almost a century has been awarded 'Exemplar Status' as part of InterTradeIreland's FUSION programme.
The family owned designer and manufacturer 'Hanna Hats of Donegal' is one of only five businesses to be recognised across the country.
The third generation company took part in InterTradeIreland’s FUSION programme - an initiative that supports business development and innovation by partnering companies with third level institutions, and high calibre graduates in science, engineering or technology for up to 18 months.
The graduate works directly with the business to deliver new products or improved processes.
Exclusive manufacturer on the international market
Hanna Hats was paired with graduate Rachel Blackensee and North West Regional College. This collaboration with the Donegal town business, has helped to re-assert Hanna Hats as an exclusive manufacturer in the international market.
Director of Operations at InterTradeIreland, Alan Morrow, said: “We were really impressed with how Hanna Hats has married tradition with innovation. This is a company with its eye firmly on the future. It’s open to new products and processes. This is what the FUSION programme is about - giving firms the tools to boost their business though innovative collaboration.
“The partnership between Hanna Hats, Rachel Blanckensee the graduate, and the external support from North West Regional College has made a real difference. There is big commercial benefit to both the company and local area. We’re delighted to recognise Hanna Hats as a FUSION Exemplar.”
General Manager, Eleanor Hanna, said: “We’re a busy company and it’s rare that you get a chance to review your entire business, but that’s what the FUSION initiative did for us. We were paired with design graduate Rachel Blanckensee and North West Regional College. It has led to a new exclusive range. We are excited that the FUSION project has given us the opportunity to put processes in place for ongoing new product development.”
All the company's products are entirely manufactured in Ireland.
She said: "Through the FUSION initiative, we’ve also introduced new technology, which has made us more efficient. That’s important when you’re up against cheap imports. Though the quality and heritage of Hanna Hats is what really sets us apart. My grandfather started this business in 1924 and my father John Hanna continued the success of the company. We are delighted to say that in 2020 we are looking forward to a very busy year ahead. The FUSION programme has helped us to do that. I would recommend InterTradeIreland to any SME that wants to grow its business.”
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