Led by Derry City and Strabane District Council, Enterprise North West and Strabane Enterprise Agency with support from the Community Renewal Fund, the partnership has been successful in securing £240,000 from the UK Government through the UK Community Renewal Fund to deliver a ‘Start Up Acceleration Programme’.
The scheme aims to assist individuals who have participated in the Go For It Programme, to explore their business idea further and develop their business skills.
The UK Community Renewal Fund aims to support people and communities most in need, helping them to pilot programmes and new approaches. It invests in skills, community and place, local business, and supporting people into employment.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Graham Warke, said: “This support is very timely as we continue on the path to recovery. New business starts need guidance and support more than ever as they navigate the pitfalls of starting and running a business in a changing and uncertain environment.
“While there is much support already there to assist business start-ups, this fund aims to help new entrepreneurs to keep moving forward. I would encourage individuals to contact Enterprise North West and Strabane Enterprise Agency to find out more.”
The new programme will offer a number of exciting opportunities including two new incubation hubs being set up in Londonderry and Strabane. The Incubation Hubs will provide participants with high quality office space, admin support, access to high speed broadband/ IT Support and access to meeting and conference facilities.
Christina Mullen, chief executive, Strabane Enterprise Agency, explained: “This is a fantastic opportunity for local businesses who will be able to avail of a wide range of support, taking the pressure off them at a critical time in their development. The incubation hubs in particular will offer some really practical assistance in terms of connectivity and workspace, which will be a real help as new businesses are often operating with limited resources. Mentoring support will provide informed guidance from experienced industry figures who have successfully overcome the same challenges starting out, which will prove invaluable for start-up businesses.”
In addition, retail opportunities via two pop up shops will be available to eligible programme participants to help them to connect with new customers and showcase their products in prime retail locations from February to June 2022. Candidates will be selected through a competitive process, with five places available in Derry and one in Strabane. This initiative will be delivered in collaboration with the Fashion and Textile Design Centre in Derry and Strabane BID.
Participants can also avail of one to one mentoring support from leading figures across a range of industries, as well as engage in a series of workshops and Entrepreneurs Forum. Successful candidates will be awarded a business grant of up to £1,000 to purchase items such as marketing materials, equipment, premises fit, rent or training to assist them in their venture, with 50 grants available.
Chief operating officer of Enterprise North West, Charles Kennedy, added: “We are delighted to have secured this package of funding, which will further enhance the support that both Enterprise Agencies and Council can distribute to local businesses over this recovery period. This vital aid will enable many local businesses to progress with plans to develop products and services and grow.
“Many people are still cautious about moving forwards after such a challenging time, but we have dedicated teams across all partners to advise and support local businesses across all sectors who need that bit of extra help and reassurance.”
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.
In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper whenever you are able to do so.
Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.
With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper when you can safely.
You can also enjoy unlimited access to the best news from across Northern Ireland and the UK by subscribing to newsletter.co.uk
With a digital subscription, you can read more than five articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit https://www.newsletter.co.uk/subscriptions now to sign up.