Foster: Partnerships in Ballymena can help local businesses

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster is pictured with PJ McAvoy, Chairman, Ballymena Business Centre; Melanie Christie Boyle, Chief Executive, Ballymena Business Centre; and Mayor of Ballymena Cllr Hubert Nicholl.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has said organisations like Ballymena Business Centre have an important role to play in helping to deliver a stronger and more vibrant local economy.

Speaking as she launched the Centre’s Strategic Plan for 2012-2015, the Minister said it would further enhance the help already available to support new and existing businesses.

Arlene Foster said: “A key objective of my Department and Invest Northern Ireland is to provide the support and guidance that will help entrepreneurs get their new venture off the ground as well as growing existing businesses. This can only be enhanced by the measures outlined in this strategy.

“Enabling our local entrepreneurs by giving them access to the finance, advice and support they need means we can empower them to realise their ambitions and deliver more economic development for Northern Ireland.

“The wealth and prosperity the Programme for Government seeks to achieve will be used to help reduce poverty, promote equality and tackle existing patterns of disadvantage – principles that are also evident in Ballymena Business Centre’s Strategic Plan.”

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI), through Invest NI, has been working closely with Ballymena Borough Council to help them address the particular needs of business in the area.

The Enterprise Minister added: “The Local Economic Development (LED) measure, which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, is available to all Councils and focuses on supporting innovation, research and development and entrepreneurship.

“Invest Northern Ireland’s North East Regional Office is working closely with Ballymena Borough Council to develop projects for support under the LED measure which will contribute directly to the growth and vibrancy of the local business base.

“The partnerships developed in the Ballymena borough are leading the way in taking advantage of this local economic development opportunity, and Invest Northern Ireland is actively working with a number of stakeholders to identify how the scheme can be used more effectively to further benefit business in this area.”