Sep 23, 2004

Invest Northern Ireland assisted in the formation of a regional business club in Belfast last week. The aim of the new club is to help smaller companies grow faster and increase profits through exchanging knowledge and experience of best practice and business improvement techniques that help to boost sales through greater efficiency, productivity and quality.

Invest NI will work with the clubs to help companies strengthen their knowledge base by helping them to apply proven business techniques, such as continuous improvement, that facilitate innovation and
Increased competitiveness.

The Belfast club is part of a Northern Ireland network that offers the same services to smaller companies in counties Londonderry, Tyrone and Down. The clubs are being co-ordinated by Invest NI’s Business Improvement Services (BIS) with support from the agency’s Local Offices in Belfast, Derry, Newry and Omagh. The recently opened offices in Coleraine, Craigavon and Enniskillen will also be involved in the network.

The new regional clubs are an example of 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 the initiative would encourage more companies to explore how they can prosper by applying best practice business improvement techniques and benchmarking their implementation and results.

“In time 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 clubs provide a framework for the exchange of ideas and knowledge between companies at both local and regional levels. 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,” 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.

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