Foster addresses Newry Chamber of Commerce and Trade

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster today encouraged the business community in the Newry area to take full advantage of the advice and support on offer from Invest Northern Ireland.

Addressing members of Newry Chamber of Commerce and Trade at their Business Lunch, the Minister outlined a number of initiatives that have been put in place to help support local business and encourage job creation.

The Boosting Business campaign, launched at the end of last year, provides a range of practical measures, including the Jobs Fund, which is already delivering for the Newry and Mourne area.

Arlene Foster said: “The Jobs Fund, which is a key part of the Boosting Business campaign, was developed to help businesses create new, sustainable jobs that will tackle our current levels of unemployment. Within the Newry and Mourne area, there are a number of different projects at various stages of development.

“The Jobs Fund has also supported seven young people aged 16-24 to set up their own business through the NEET Business Start grant and six individuals resident in Neighbourhood Renewal Areas (NRA) to set up their own business through the NRA Business Start Grant.”

As part of the Boosting Business campaign, a ‘Focus on Finance’ workshop was held in Newry earlier this year.

The Minister added: “The feedback from this and other initiatives has been very positive and Invest Northern Ireland will continue to develop further practical business solutions to address specific needs.

“I would encourage businesses and individuals in the Newry and Mourne area that have a business enquiry or a potential job creation project to contact the Boosting Business helpline or to log an enquiry on the website.”

Referring to the Executive’s Economic Strategy that was launched earlier this week, Arlene Foster concluded: “The Economic Strategy, sets out the steps that we need to take in order to grow the private sector in Northern Ireland and improve our economic competitiveness.

“We are investing significantly in our economy to support business growth. As many firms are struggling to sustain and expand their businesses, the Strategy includes initiatives to improve access to finance and safeguard jobs, including the £50million Growth Loan Fund.

“Going forward, it is essential that businesses exploit all opportunities, both internally and externally, in developing traditional markets or in exploring niche opportunities. Although the Strategy contains ambitious targets, as an Executive we will work together to achieve them and I believe that despite the current difficult economic situation, we can look forward with optimism.”