Find out if your business can apply

About the programme

The Ambition to Grow | Go Green programme is looking to support Northern Ireland businesses that have a focus on sustainable activities.

Invest Northern Ireland is seeking ambitious, innovative businesses in the Green Economy offering a product or tradeable service that can create new employment opportunities and grow sales outside Northern Ireland.

This call is primarily seeking applications from businesses in the Green Economy although any business meeting the eligibility criteria can apply.

What support is available?

Grant support of up to £45,000 is available for each successful application as follows:

  • up to £30,000 towards new employment within the business. The level of this support will depend on the number and type of new positions, the salary levels proposed and the number of hours each new role is contracted for.
  • up to £10,000 towards business development activities at a support rate of up to 50% of eligible costs which can include expenditure on market, product, or skills development.
  • £5,000 on the completion of an Export Health Check, development of an Export Marketing Plan, and completion of an Innovate NI Self-Assessment.

Funding will be awarded to applicants on a competitive basis. Applications will be assessed and scored, with the highest scoring companies awarded funding following a successful project meeting with your local Invest NI team.

Successful Green Economy applicant benefits also include:

  • Attendance at All-Energy Exhibition & Conference in Glasgow, 15-16 May 2024
  • Inclusion in Invest NI’s Green Economy network
  • Sales pitch training for customer success
  • Assistance in identifying market opportunities and trends
  • Opportunity to lead or be part of collaborative Green Economy network

Financial support payments are not up-front and are dependent on the execution of specific activities as outlined in any offer of support such as job creation or incurring costs on market development activities.

Further details can be found in the Ambition to Grow - FAQs (PDF)  and Ambition to Grow - Guidelines (PDF) documents.

If you require an application form in an alternative format or further information on the competition, please contact our Business Support Team.

Apply now

The call for applications will close Friday 1 March at 12 noon.

Answer the following questions to find out if you can apply.

Q1 - Is your business currently based in Northern Ireland?
Q2 -Does your business employ less than 250 full-time staff or full-time equivalent (FTE)?
Q3 - Does your business provide a value-added commercial product and/or service?
Q4 - Ambition to Grow is aimed at businesses that are not currently engaging with Invest Northern Ireland.

Has your business received an offer or payment of grant support from Invest NI within the last five years? This excludes COVID-19 emergency funds, Economic Recovery Innovation Grant (ERIG), Innovation Vouchers or Access to Finance funding e.g. Techstart NI Proof of Concept grants.

If your business has received Invest NI support in the last five years, and you meet the rest of the eligibility criteria, you can contact your Client Executive to discuss if Ambition to Grow is an option to support your growth plans.

Q5 - Are any of the following the main activity of your business?
  • Agricultural Production
  • Fisheries & Aquaculture Sectors (Production and Processing)
  • Steel
  • Coal
  • Shipbuilding
  • Synthetic Fibres
  • Transport and its infrastructure
  • Energy generation, distribution & its infrastructure
  • Infrastructure
  • Tourism accommodation
  • Wholesale
  • Retail (including online)
  • Distribution
Q6 - Does your business have either annual turnover less than £1m or have annual sales to customers outside Northern Ireland of less than £300k?
Q7 - Can your business commit to creating a minimum of 3 new additional employment positions over the next 1-2 years, or if fewer than 3 positions at least 1 new management position paying a minimum salary of £30,000?
Q8 - Does your business intend to increase sales from customers outside Northern Ireland over the next 1-2 years?
Q9 - Is your business or any Director involved in a current bankruptcy/insolvency order, current IVA/CVA/CCJ or a current Company Director Disqualification?
  • IVA - Individual Voluntary Arrangement
  • CVA - Company Voluntary Arrangement
  • CCJ - County Court Judgment
Q10 - Do you accept the completion of Invest NI Customer Due Diligence checks on the business, including a credit check?

Based on your answers your business is eligible to apply for Ambition to Grow.

Please click on the below link to start your online application. If you do not already have an account on Invest NI’s customer portal you will be asked to complete that registration process before you can complete the Ambition to Grow application form.

Apply now

The online application process should take approximately two hours to complete if you have the relevant information available. You can save your application and return to it at any time, prior to the closing date of 12:00 noon Friday 1 March 2024.

Sorry, from your answers your business does not meet the eligibility criteria for Ambition to Grow.

If you feel you meet all the criteria except for having received Invest NI support within the last five years, you can contact your Invest NI Client Executive to discuss if Ambition to Grow is an option for your business at this time.

Outside of Ambition to Grow, there is a wide range of support available to help grow your business in the form of advice, guidance and funding.

Please visit our website for further details on available support or Contact Us via –

Is my business eligible?

Eligible businesses will be given access to an application form. 

To be eligible for the Ambition to Grow programme, businesses must:

  • be ambitious and innovative with a clear plan to grow sales to customers outside Northern Ireland. 
  • have a product or service with a strong unique selling point to take to markets outside Northern Ireland.
  • be able to outline the potential for new employment within the business and demonstrate how these new roles will contribute to growth of the business into markets outside Northern Ireland.
  • be able to demonstrate the need for government support for new employment and market development activities to take place.
  • have annual turnover under £1m or sales to customers outside Northern Ireland of less than £300,000.

The following businesses are not eligible to apply:

  • businesses already in receipt of or intending to gain other government support for the project.
  • businesses that have an outstanding liability to Invest NI brought about through grant clawback proceedings. If a satisfactory repayment plan is in place, the business may apply for consideration.
  • businesses or any member of senior management within the business that are subject to a current bankruptcy order, Individual Voluntary Arrangement, Company Voluntary Arrangement, County Court Judgement, or Company Director Disqualification.
  • businesses that have the primary activity or any of the following: agricultural production, fisheries, and aquaculture (production and processing), steel, coal, shipbuilding, synthetic fibres, transport and its infrastructure, energy (its generation, distribution, and infrastructure), tourism accommodation, wholesale, retail (including on-line) & distribution.
  • applications which include or relate to activities that Invest NI considers as ineligible or as involving an unacceptable reputational risk, such as gambling, tobacco products and drug-based products, which are not authorised as medicines.

Discover more

Watch our video playlist and learn why local businesses applied to the Ambition to Grow programme.