Economy Minister Nigel Dodds today launched a £100,000 Invest Northern Ireland initiative in North Belfast to encourage local entrepreneurship.
The Exploring Enterprise Programme in North Belfast is part of a wider £1m initiative which aims to raise awareness of enterprise and the possibility of self-employment as an option in areas of economic disadvantage in Greater Belfast.
Commenting on the programme today Minister Dodds said: “Northern Ireland’s economy can benefit greatly from more people taking action to start new businesses and become self-employed.
“The Exploring Enterprise Programme is an opportunity for people in areas of high economic need to join the upsurge in enterprising activity that is taking place in other parts of the country. There is a latent pool of entrepreneurial talent in all communities in Northern Ireland, and programmes such as this can break down the barriers to higher levels of business start-ups.”
The aims of the North Belfast programme will be achieved through a series of workshops, seminars, mentoring and coaching exercises over the next six months. The project has been developed with key stakeholders and the activities tailored to the particular needs of the community.
The programme in North Belfast has been offered £100,000 from the Renewing Communities fund via Invest Northern Ireland and it will be managed and delivered by North Belfast Partnership in conjunction with North City Business Centre. The programme is an integral part of the cross-departmental Renewing Communities Action Plan that was launched last year.
Mr Murdo Murray, Chief Executive, North Belfast Partnership, said: “To regenerate the economy of North Belfast, new business, entrepreneurship and supportive collective working will assist in developing a broader culture of economic growth and local wealth creation. In partnership with North City Business Centre, we look forward to using our expertise to implement the Exploring Enterprise programme over the next number of months. We are committed to stimulating and encouraging greater awareness of entrepreneurial activity as well as delivering increased levels of entrepreneurship in North Belfast, in order to build on previous successes and help to grow the economy here in the long term.”
The Exploring Enterprise Programme is being delivered by a range of local agencies in North, South and East Belfast as well as Greater Shankill and Rathcoole.