Calling all entrepreneurs - a programme for boosting businesses with the capacity to take on more staff is looking for new participants.
Invest NI's Propel Programme, now in its third year, is designed to fast-track the development of hi-growth, knowledge-intensive businesses capable of big export sales. The agency is now looking for the next set of participants to apply ahead of the deadline of January 22.
More than 30 Northern Ireland start-ups have already been given a helping hand with developing business plans, gaining £3m in investment and creating employment through the programme.
Alastair Hamilton, Invest NI's chief executive, said: "For our economy to grow we need more innovative, export-focused businesses like the kind supported through Propel.
"The programme's tailored support helps entrepreneurs through the challenging process of taking an idea, funding its development and launching it on to an international stage.
"Feedback from previous participants has been extremely positive and we have seen some very successful businesses emerge from the programme."
He said the aim was for 45 budding entrepreneurs to start the first part of the programme in March. Then 23 would be selected for the second phase, starting in May.
Mr Hamilton said: "The credentials of the Propel programme to drive entrepreneurship have been proven by the success and ongoing progress of 'propellers' from the first two intakes."
Propel offers training, workshops, networking opportunities, mentoring and financial support. It is designed for entrepreneurs who are in the advance planning stages of a business idea in the knowledge, engineering or niche manufacturing sectors and who are in the advanced planning stages. Applicants need to be able to demonstrate that their business will create jobs in Northern Ireland within the next three years.
Invest NI is running five regional seminars on the scheme this week - in Newry today, Omagh tomorrow, Londonderry on Wednesday, Ballymena on Thursday and Belfast on Friday.
More information is available at www.propelprogramme.co.uk.