Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has today announced a new programme of support for those wanting to set up their own business.
Entrepreneurs looking to develop a new business and turn their ideas into reality will now be able to avail of a dedicated programme of support from Invest Northern Ireland called the Regional Start Initiative.
Arlene Foster said: “The Regional Start Initiative will provide very important support for people looking to start their own business.
“It aims to raise the overall number and quality of business starts in Northern Ireland by providing innovative advisory and training support to individuals and business at the start-up stage.
“The programme aims to support up to 5000 businesses to get started in the next two years. This is a demanding target but one that is essential if we are to support the rebuilding of our economy and the creation of new jobs.”
The Regional Start Initiative will be run by Enterprise Northern Ireland (ENI) and managed through Invest NI’s regional office network.
Commenting on the new programme, Invest NI Chief Executive, Alastair Hamilton said: “There has been a lot of interest, speculation and hype around this programme, plus, I am sorry to say some inaccuracies reported.
“In an effort to clarify some of this misunderstanding I would like to highlight that this tender is for the Regional Start Initiative, a successor to the Enterprise Development Programme, which was only one component of the overall Go For It initiative. Go For It, as a whole, has continued to run despite the legal challenge to one component – the support for starting a business. Naturally we have continued to promote and advertising the Go For It programme to ensure that we were able to generate interest and provide support for those areas not affected by the legal challenge. During this period we have dealt with over 5000 enquiries through the Go For It initiative which more than justifies our decision to continue to advertise.
“At the same time, we have not left those looking for support to start a business without any help or guidance. While we may not have been in a position to run a specific business start support programme, we have offered advice and guidance through our regional office network.
“With the increasing challenges in the economy it is now time to put all this behind us and focus on delivery. It is important that we now concentrate on providing the vital support needed to get businesses up and running and people in to employment. We are looking forward to working with ENI and in supporting them to deliver on the ambitious targets set.
“Now that the contract has been awarded for the five regional programmes we hope to have the service up and running in October.
“Our contractors will work to support people to develop business plans and provide sound business planning advice that will ensure our entrepreneurs have the best chance of success.”
People interested in setting up their own business should and would like advice and support should call 0800 027 0639.