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.
The Jobs Fund also offers financial incentives of £1,000-£1,500 for individuals wishing to start a business, who are either resident in one of the 36 Neighbourhood Renewal Areas (NRA), or by young people currently Not in Employment, Education or Training (NEET).
Seanna Farren from Londonderry is one of many young people to be eligible for this grant. Her business, Sally & Lila, provides craft workshops, interior design and bespoke furniture. Commenting on her experiences, Seanna said: “The Regional Start Initiative helped me organise my ideas and put a structure into my business. I really enjoyed the experience and got a lot of it.”
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.