Invest Northern Ireland recently showcased its new Enterprise Development Programmes at an event in County Antrim, outlining how the initiatives aim to increase entrepreneurship and help established businesses to grow.
The programmes consist of two main elements – the ‘Go for it Programme’, targeting individuals who are considering starting a business, and the ‘Growth Programme’, aimed at established companies with the ability to expand through exports.
Speaking at the event, Invest NI’s North Eastern Regional Office Manager, Gren Armstrong, said: “The new ‘Go for it Programme’ aims to stimulate an ever more entrepreneurial culture and encourage more people to start a business in Northern Ireland. It offers bespoke support to build the skills of prospective entrepreneurs, helping them develop their business strategy and put their ideas into practice. Once established, businesses have access to ongoing mentoring in areas such as branding and website development.
“Through this initiative, an ethos of creativity is being embedded in new businesses from their inception, to boost their long-term prospects. By nurturing innovation from the earliest stages, young companies have a greater chance of commercial success.”
Mr Armstrong continued: “The new ‘Growth Programme’ helps existing businesses to consider ways to grow through, for example, targeting export markets and developing new products. It helps firms to boost productivity through process innovation, and it also provides businesses with a wide range of customised guidance in areas such as marketing, negotiation skills, networking, online sales and financial management.”
To encourage wide-ranging accessibility to the Enterprise Development Programmes, particularly the 'Go for it Programme', under-represented groupsincluding women, ethnic minorities and people living in disadvantaged areas are being specifically targeted.
The initiatives are supported by an extensive advertising campaign throughout Northern Ireland.