A toolkit aimed at assisting enterprises based on the East Belfast interface has been launched in Belfast.
As part of the ENTER programme, funded by ERASMUS+, with support from the European Commission, the toolkit provides users with a guide to establishing a regional partnership and transforming their community.
Delivery of the programme by East Belfast Enterprise trains learners with necessary skills to recruit and teach entrepreneurship to participants from vulnerable backgrounds and fragmented communities.
It promotes enterprise and entrepreneurial activities as a means of social inclusion and as a means to combat conflict and cultural problems in communities and its ultimate aim is to make a positive impact on a personal level to change people’s lives and develop greater community cohesion and wider economic development.
The event was attended by decision makers, influencers, and the audience heard from real life success stories about business people who have broken down ‘traditional’ barriers.
Colin Mounstephen of Deloitte shared details of a recent study that examined the economic challenges around interface areas, the cost to the local economy, and how to encourage small business growth.
Terry McCorran, founder of the City of Belfast Boxing Academy, which is situated right on the interface in the lower Newtownards Road area, talked about the activity in the club which children and adults from all communities attend.
James Rees-Hopkins of Red Zone Fitness at Lanark Way also talked about how health and wellbeing can break down barriers, with people from all communities in the Lanark Way area attending and working in his gym.
“It was important for us to launch the ENTER toolkit at an event where the attending audience could get a real sense of the local successes from people working on the ground on interfaces in our city,” said Jonathan McAlpin, chief executive of East Belfast Enterprise.
“The event provided a very positive picture of what can be achieved with some fresh thinking and support from local communities and organisations like ourselves.
“We have no doubt that this Erasmus-supported initiative will make a real impact in our community, and we look forward to continuing to support business and enterprise in the East Belfast area and building a better community for everyone.”