Invest Northern Ireland is setting up a series of regional small business clubs to help local companies grow faster and increase profits by focusing on best practice and business improvement techniques designed to boost sales through greater efficiency, productivity and quality.

The clubs, the first of which was launched in Omagh for companies in the west of the province, are being co-ordinated by Invest NI’s Business Improvement Services (BIS) with support from the agency’s Local Offices in Belfast, Derry, Ballymena, Newry and Omagh.

Other clubs have already been formed in Derry and Newry. Clubs are also planned for companies in the Belfast and Ballymena areas.

The new regional clubs indicate Invest NI’s commitment to enhance the role of its local offices in the delivery of the agency’s programmes for promoting business start and the faster growth of existing companies across Northern Ireland.

Outlining the role of the new Regional Small Business Club, Peter McCarron, BIS Executive, said: “Our aim is to help companies explore how they can prosper by applying proven best practice business improvement techniques and benchmarking their implementation and results.

“The clubs will meet regularly and participating companies will decide on business issues to be addressed. Our involvement will enable them to draw practical expertise from Invest NI on how to improve their business. It will also provide a framework for companies to learn from each other’s knowledge and experience,” he added.

Mr McCarron said the decision to set up regional clubs was part of Invest NI’s commitment to help local companies win more business by suggesting and implementing measures to increase the skills of employees and their overall capability.

“We want the companies to run the clubs and to work with us in developing activities that will produce tangible benefits for them as they seek to grow their business”.

“The club members will be able to draw information and knowledge from across Invest NI and also from other public bodies and private sector organisations with which we are linked,” he added.