Invest Northern Ireland in conjunction with Coleraine Borough Council, COLLAGE and Coleraine Borough Chamber of Commerce & Industry are organising a series of free events to help promote the use of broadband within local small to medium sized enterprises (SME’s).
The events, scheduled to take place in November, are open to all SME’s within the Coleraine Borough Council area at the following locations from 12-2pm.
§16th November – Lodge Hotel, Coleraine.
§18th November – Cromore Halt, Station Road, Portstewart.
§23rd November – GADDA Offices, Main Street, Garvagh.
§24th November – Manor Golf Club, Bridge Street, Kilrea.
§25th November – Comfort Hotel, Portrush.
These events are designed to demonstrate how businesses can benefit from broadband technology. At each venue, attendees will receive the benefit of case studies from local business e-commerce success stories from a diverse range of Sectors, including tourism, retail, engineering, entertainment and insurance. Representatives from Invest NI, Internet Service Providers and BT will be available to advise and answer any technical questions. Following the presentations there will be a complimentary buffet lunch and an opportunity to network.
Commenting on the need for businesses to sign-up to improved Internet connection Alan Neville, Director of Knowledge Management at Invest NI said: “Broadband can offer a wide range of benefits to businesses because it is “always on”, does not tie up a phone line, has a flat rate monthly cost and is up to 40 times faster than dialup.
“By using this technology businesses can be more responsive to their customers and can use the internet in a much more efficient way to help increase business competitiveness and profitability,” he continued.
To help increase uptake of broadband Invest NI has developed a programme of support for SME’s across Northern Ireland which offers funding of up to 40% to help companies implement broadband within their business. The support covers installation and the first year’s running costs up to a maximum of £5,000.
The scheme allows businesses to evaluate the real business benefits broadband can offer at a reduced cost for the first year. Launched in June 2003, the 18 month programme is drawing to a close and will stop accepting new applications for support on the 31st of December 2004.
Martin Clark, Economic Development Officer with Coleraine Borough Council commented:
“Broadband connectivity will have a major influence on the success of businesses in the future. Local companies need to deploy this technology if they are to enhance their competitiveness. Coleraine Borough Council is keen to promote the uptake of broadband in the area and fully encourages attendance at one of these events to increase broadband awareness”.
Kevin Wilson, Manager from COLLAGE, commented: "Nothing is more important to reducing the peripherality of rural businesses than broadband. These seminars represent an excellent opportunity for local rural businesses to find out how they can become major players in the global market place."
Karen Steen, Development Manager from Coleraine Borough Chamber commented:
“The Chamber is working very hard to ensure that all businesses in the Borough have access to this new technology. It is very important to the local economy that every business, no matter where it is located, receives the support and infrastructure necessary to ensure it can thrive and grow. We are delighted that we have been able to support this Coleraine Borough Council, COLLAGE and Invest NI initiative. Many of our members have been able to take advantage of this new technology and will be speaking at the forthcoming road shows.”
For more information on the five local events, contact Martin Clark at Coleraine Borough Council on Tel: 028 7034 7045.
For more information on Invest NI broadband support, contact an Invest NI advisor on Tel: 0800 515319, e-mail: email@example.com or log on to www.investni.com/broadband