Local businesses supported in challenging economic times

The 9th Invest Northern Ireland, Challenges and Opportunities – the Credit Crunch seminar will be held in the Ramada Hotel, Belfast on 10 March.

Open to Invest NI clients, the series of events is being held across Northern Ireland to help local companies navigate through the current economic slowdown.

Specialist advisers will be on hand to provide practical advice for firms, highlighting ways to improve efficiencies in a range of areas such as internal operations, financial administration and supply chain management. One-to-one guidance on how best to reduce or remove barriers to securing new sales in export markets will also be available.

Participants at the event will have the opportunity to discuss their individual business needs in detail and identify key projects to improve performance. This can result in the provision of up to five days of free specialist consultancy support for a diagnostic investigation to develop strategies that can deliver significant benefits and help firms through the downturn.

Where a suitable project up to the value of £100,000 is identified and approved by Invest NI, clients can obtain 50% support from Invest NI’s Accelerated Support Fund.  This can help to progress initiatives in areas such as staff training, salaries and expenses of new and existing employees, as well as consultancy costs, contributing to the implementation of identified capability improvement projects.

Niall Casey, Invest NI’s Director of Business Improvement Services, said: “It is crucial that local companies take positive and timely action to improve their business processes, especially during the current economic slump. Improving efficiencies and cutting costs can increase capability, add considerable value to a firm’s operations and enable them to successfully steer through the downturn.

“Those firms that consider innovative measures to develop all areas of their business, including sales and marketing as well as production, can gain a competitive advantage over their counterparts and be well placed for the future recovery of the economy.”

“The events held to date have been well received, with over 560 local companies being represented,” added Mr Casey.

Businesses interested in attending the event can register at http://www.investni.com/registration

The series of seminars complements other Invest NI initiatives such as Innovation Vouchers, Introduction to Exporting and the Growth Accelerator Programme, through which easy to access, flexible support is being provided to support the growth of locally owned companies, particularly small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).