New programme will help disadvantaged communities

Invest Northern Ireland has launched a new programme of support to help people in disadvantaged communities to become more aware of enterprise and get more involved in business start-up.

The Exploring Enterprise Programme is a comprehensive package of pre-start support and advice and one-to-one mentoring. It will be delivered across Belfast and Rathcoole and will introduce people who have a business idea, to the local business support provider and provide a clear path to help them progress their plans.

Launching the programme Invest NI’s Chief Executive, Leslie Morrison, said: “The last decade has witnessed considerable growth in the Northern Ireland economy but not all areas have benefited from this. The Exploring Enterprise Programme is an opportunity for Invest NI to help boost entrepreneurial activity in certain areas and among specific groups that are currently under-represented. These include the over 50s, women and ethnic minorities.”

The Exploring Enterprise Programme is part of the cross-departmental Renewing Communities Action Plan launched earlier this year. The Plan sets a framework for tackling disadvantage, identifying more than 60 actions that address some of the particular challenges faced in disadvantaged communities at individual, family and community level.

“The support offered through this new programme will complement existing enterprise support schemes,” said Leslie Morrison. “ There is a great deal of enterprise potential in Northern Ireland that is currently not being realised. This Programme will make it easier for people in marginalised communities to take the first steps towards exploring the option of starting a business.”