NW entrepreneurs awarded £20,000 for pitch perfect start-ups

Two local entrepreneurs have just scooped £10,000 in business support as part of a Council led initiative geared towards empowering new businesses.

Wednesday, 24th November 2021, 6:00 am

The Start Up Launch Pad North West package offered the opportunity for new businesses to avail of a start up business support bundle to help them get their idea off the ground.

The initiative is being led by Derry City and Strabane District Council, in partnership with the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce and the Inner City Trust.

The competition was open to start up enterprises or businesses that have been trading for less than one year. The winners were confirmed as Paul Stafford, whose Museum of Your Mind concept offers an interactive and immersive visitor attraction, and Hayley Quinnell who plans to provide social media support to SME’s under her digital media agency ‘Digi Media Management’.

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Start-up Launch Pad NW winners, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Alderman Graham Warke and Chamber of Commerce president Dawn McLaughlin with the Start-up Launch Pad winners, Paul Stafford (Museum of Your Mind) and Hayley Quinnell (Digi Media). Included are Paul Clancey, CEO, Chamber of Commerce and Laverne O'Donnell, DCSDC

The panel was impressed by their convincing Dragon’s Den style pitches after their entries were shortlisted from a wider field of candidates.

Both will now enjoy the wide ranging benefits of full wrap around business support as they embark on their new enterprises.

The package includes the development of a business plan under the Go For It programme and two days of tailored mentor support under the BIG programme. Other benefits include a city centre office space for one year at the Chamber of Commerce building valued at over £4,500, a £500 grant for business digital equipment, one to one mentor support and access to the Chamber’s IT network and peer support.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Graham Warke, said: “I want to congratulate both Paul and Hayley on coming up with two innovative and exciting enterprises that have great potential in terms of creating services that could be very positive for the local economy. New emerging talent is essential to a thriving business community and we are lucky to have some very committed and creative people who are bringing new ideas to the marketplace.

“I want to wish Paul and Hayley the very best with their new ventures, I really look forward to following their progress over the coming months. I have no doubt they both have a bright and prosperous future ahead.”

Paul and Hayley will benefit from a full support package including mentoring from experienced business professionals. They will also have access to a city centre premises and equipment for their first year as they get established, so they can focus all their resources on launching and developing their new enterprise.

Paul Clancy, CEO of Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, added: “The Chamber is delighted to support this initiative and I want to extend my congratulations to Hayley and Paul, who proved to be very worthy candidates. The offer of 12 months free office space, mentoring and access to our extensive business networks will be invaluable to any successful business start-up and I look forward to working with them both. This supports our Chamber Mission Statement - helping your business succeed in a successful North West.”

For further information on the full range of business support services available through Council visit derrystrabane.com/business

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