1600 new businesses have been created during the past year through Invest Northern Ireland’s Regional Start Initiative.
The programme is focused on encouraging potential entrepreneurs to produce a business plan as one of the key early steps to starting a business and moving into self employment.
Kelly McAllister from Larne is one the 1600 entrepreneurs to have turned their business idea into reality. Ms McAllister has been a passionate photographer for a number of years and completed modules and courses in both black and white and digital photography. Working in a photography studio and accompanying photographers at weddings, fashions shows, modelling shoots and commercial events convinced Kelly that she was ready to go out on her own.
Kelly took advantage of the business start-up support offered through the initiative, which included advice and expertise on business planning, financial forecasts and marketing before progressing with her business venture. She said: “Taking part in the Regional Start Initiative gave me the confidence and knowledge to set up my own business. The practical advice on offer was really helpful and gave me the reassurance that I was ready to go out on my own.”
Bill Scott, Invest NI’s Executive Director of Regional Business, said: “The Regional Start Initiative is providing very important support for people looking to start their own business.
“Our aim is to raise the overall number and quality of business starts in Northern Ireland by providing innovative advisory and training support to individuals at the start-up stage.
“We hope to have 6500 business plans approved by October 2014. Whilst this is challenging, it is essential if we are to support the rebuilding of our economy and the creation of new jobs. Approving over 3000 business plans to date is an important milestone which will contribute towards achieving this objective.
“We will continue to work to support entrepreneurs to develop business plans and provide sound business planning advice that will ensure the best chance of success.”
The initiative is delivered by Enterprise Northern Ireland and its network of regional delivery partners. People interested in setting up their own business and would like advice and support should call 0800 027 0639.