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More Than 3,000 Budding Entrepreneurs To Get Help Creating Their Business Plans In 2016

11 February 2016

Pictured at Antrim Castle Gardens are Nuala McLaughlin, Finance Development Officer at Antrim Enterprise Agency; Rachel Ewing, Owner of Rachel Ewing Modelling Agency; Councillor Roisin Lynch, Vice Chair of the Community Planning and Regeneration Committee at Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council and Cara Dallat, Regional Start Initiative Manager at Enterprise NI.


Plans for more than 3,000 new start-up businesses are set to be developed this year as part of The Regional Start Initiative.

The next generation of businessmen and women in Antrim and Newtownabbey are being invited to get help turning their business ideas into tangible business plans that could help them to secure funding from banks or other potential investors.

In its fourth year, The Regional Start Initiative is now under the remit of the new 11 councils and is delivered by Invest NI, Enterprise Northern Ireland and the Local Enterprise Agency network. Since the programme started, companies have been launched in almost all sectors with an upsurge of businesses in the leisure, food and creative industries.

Gordon Gough, Chief Executive of Enterprise Northern Ireland commented: “To date the Regional Start Initiative has produced circa 3,400 business plans a year across Northern Ireland.

“We are encouraging people with a great business idea to get in touch. We have business advisers who offer bespoke one to one mentoring to help bring people’s business ideas to life, with a variety of workshops open to participants. Business plans are an important first step in the start-up process, helping attract potential investors and secure funding. Northern Ireland has a wealth of entrepreneurs with great business ideas. The aim of this Initiative is to help those entrepreneurs put together a business plan to help kick start their own business.

“We have seen many success stories from this programme since its launch.  There is a strong demand for these types of programmes to encourage entrepreneurship and we hope this year it will be even more successful.” 

Based in Antrim, Rachel Ewing started her own modelling agency after taking part in the Regional Start Initiative in 2015.  Speaking about the programme Rachel said: “The Regional Start Initiative was recommended to me by a friend as a way of kick starting my business.  They took me through the really simple stuff and gave me all the tools and advice to become self-employed.  All the staff were hugely supportive and were instrumental in helping me put together my business plan.

“I’d highly recommend the programme to anyone with an idea for a business to get in touch with their Local Enterprise Agency and Council.”

Councillor Thomas Hogg, Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council said: “This programme has helped open many businesses in the area and I would encourage anyone with an idea for a new business to get in touch with their Local Enterprise Agency.

“We have a strong entrepreneurial spirit in our Borough and this programme will help develop the latest generation of businessmen and women.”

For further information on the Regional Start Initiative programme please visit: https://www.enterpriseni.com