‘Remarkable milestone’ as almost 9,000 Northern Ireland entrepreneurs Go For It!

Almost 9,000 entrepreneurs across Northern Ireland have been supported by the Go For It Programme over the past four years, with more than 3,000 new business plans drawn up in 2021 alone.

By Claire Cartmill
Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 1:00 pm

The scheme, which aims to help local entrepreneurs to translate their business idea into reality, is part funded by Invest NI and the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth & Jobs NI (2014-2020) Programme.

All 11 councils in NI have banded together to urge entrepreneurs to Go For It in 2022 with the support of the programme.

The programme is delivered free of charge by a team of experienced business advisors across NI. It provides expert advice and help with developing a robust business plan, covering everything from financial forecasting to marketing and long-term sales growth.

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Karl Simmonds has been baking sourdough bread as a hobby for years but raised it to a whole new level thanks to the help and support of the Go For It programme

Thanks to the Go For It programme, Melanie Harrison revamped a Victorian townhouse in south Belfast, transforming it into a quirky boutique hotel that celebrates the city’s rich literary heritage.

“For anybody starting a business, Go For It opens the gateways for so many other opportunities,” she explained.

Meanwhile, nutrition student Amy Fry transformed her garage in Cullybackey into a skincare studio specialising in problem skincare thanks to support from the scheme: “Go For It is fantastic - there was no unnecessary preparation for opening, but everything was in place and ready to go.”

Former Gaelic player Eoghan Heaney from Armagh launched a fitness studio, Tribe Fitness, and was able to adapt the business plan to a remote model during lockdown.

He said: “For somebody who is starting out and needs some clarification on how to manage and structure a business, the Go For It programme is definitely the thing to do.”

And Karl Simmonds was able to transform his furlough hobby - making sourdough bread - into Northern Ireland’s newest artisan bakery, Flat & Brown Bakehouse, during lockdown with help from Go For It: “It gave me a push to set up a proper business rather than selling bread to neighbours and friends. It was an incentive to carry on and expand.”

Dr Eugene McGuckin, programme manager, NI Business Start Up Programme, added: “The Go For It Programme continues to be a fantastic asset in helping entrepreneurs across NI access the advice and support they need to develop a business plan. Almost 9,000 new business plans in four years is a remarkable milestone, and local Councils are really proud that so many entrepreneurs have seized the opportunity to establish the business of their dreams with the support of the Go For It Programme.

“The Go For It Programme helps candidates create a business plan tailored to their business idea, focusing on important elements such as financial forecasting and accounts, sales and marketing, and how they can potentially access funding. This tried and tested business plan provides candidates with a blue-print for building a successful and sustainable business model, and it gives them the final push they need to finally launch their business.

“So if you’re thinking about starting a business in 2022, I would encourage you to get in touch and seek the support that the Go For It Programme provides.”

If you have a business idea you’d like to develop or if you are thinking about starting a business call: 0800 027 0639 or visit: www.goforitni.com

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