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  • Posted in: News
  • On: April 20, 2016

The next generation of businessmen and women in the Mid and East Antrim area 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.”

SolarfixNI based in Carrickfergus was started after owner David McAteer took part in the Regional Start Initiative in 2015.  Mr McAteer was able to successfully apply for a Start Up Loan from Enterprise Northern Ireland using the business plan generated through the Regional Start Initiative.

“I applied to the Regional Start Initiative after hearing about it from a family member.  I had an idea for the type of business I’d like to set up which the mentors helped develop.  With my business plan I applied for a Start Up Loan and was able to fund a warehouse unit to work from as well as developing our website. The ongoing support from the mentors and staff has been incredible, they’re on hand whenever I need advice.

“I’d recommend anyone with an idea for a business to speak to their local Council and Enterprise Agency.”

Councillor Billy Ashe, Mayor of Mid and East Antrim 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 and this programme will help develop the latest generation of businessmen and women.”

Pictured (L-R) are Councillor Billy Ashe, Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council; David McAteer, Owner of SolarfixNI; Cara Dallat, Regional Start Initiative Programme Manager at Enterprise NI and Kelli Bagchus, General Manager of Carrickfergus Enterprise Agency.

For further information on the Regional Start Initiative and ENI Start Up Loans please visit:


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