Invest NI is ‘Propelling’ Start-ups into the Global Marketplace

Aug 04, 2014

Image by Press Eye
Pictured (L-R) is Niall Casey, Invest NI and Dungannon-based Orlagh McVeigh, a current Propel Programme participant who, along with her husband Fintan McVeigh, is developing their luxury handmade homewares business, Harch Wood Couture.

Invest Northern Ireland has launched a call for innovative start-ups to apply for the 2014/15 Propel programme, aimed at developing businesses with the potential to succeed on an international stage.

Now in its fifth year, Propel is an intensive 12-month programme which helps participants fast track their business ideas, develop intensive growth plans and explore global prospects. Applications are now open to early stage export focused businesses with an innovative product or service. The 2014/15 Propel Programme will commence in November following a competitive application process.

Niall Casey, Invest NI’s Director of Skills and Strategy Solutions, said: “The Propel Programme provides a dynamic culture and motivational environment for creative, ambitious, early stage company teams or individuals, who are working on a business idea with international market potential.

“The impact and value of Propel to local businesses and the wider economy is clear. Since 2009, 85 new companies have raised over £5.3m of private investment through the programme, creating over 250 jobs. The standard of participants has been extremely high, which is reflective of the business talent in Northern Ireland today. We hope that the calibre of participants for 2014/15 will further add to this success.”

Propel provides participants with a series of challenging business development workshops, valuable advice from local and international business experts, introductions to potential investors and one-to-one bespoke guidance through mentorship work. Participants are offered dedicated shared working space at The HUB in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter and crucial financial support.

Dungannon based husband and wife team, Orlagh and Fintan McVeigh are current participants on the 2013/14 Propel Programme, which is helping them to develop their luxury handmade homewares business, Harch Wood Couture.

Speaking about her experiences, Orlagh said: “Propel has given us the space to focus totally on our business. It has helped us to step back and look at our strategy, gaining new perspective and focus. The Propel workshops are excellent in terms of the practical running of our business, and the one-on-one mentorship has allowed us to gain such valuable insight into business planning by working directly with an expert. The whole experience has given us great confidence in the future of Harch Wood Couture.”

Throughout September, Invest NI is running five Propel seminars across Northern Ireland to explain what Propel has to offer, as well as hear from past participants about how the programme has impacted on business growth.

Full information about the Propel seminars and online application for Propel 2014/15 can be found at www.investni.com/propel.The closing date for Propel 2014/15 applications is Friday 26th September.

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