Belfast Telegraph

Music firm gets a start-up with loan scheme

BY CLARE WEIR

A Belfast musical start-up has hit a high note by becoming one of the first Northern Ireland recipients of a new national loan scheme for entrepreneurs.

The start-up loans scheme, which is designed to stimulate entrepreneurship across the UK, was extended to Northern Ireland by business secretary Vince Cable earlier this year and aims to back thousands of start-up businesses across the UK.

More than 60 businesses have applied to Enterprise Northern Ireland for start-up loans totalling over £350,000. In addition to funding, successful applicants also receive business mentoring from Enterprise Northern Ireland.

Enterprise Factor, founded by Chris Hughes, has devised a six-week training programme that offers students a chance to develop, market and run the operations for a concert in their school featuring a former contestant from the X Factor or Britain's Got Talent.

The firm has run the programme in 10 schools and now plans to roll out its programme to over 50 schools across Northern Ireland. It has received a loan which will support investment in materials for the programme and further marketing.

Mr Hughes said he first got his idea for this business in 2010 and finally launched in May this year.

"I'm excited about developing it across Northern Ireland," he said. "In the future, I hope to be able to export it to schools across the UK.

"The whole process has been really beneficial – the planning needed to secure the loan, as well as the business expertise I've been able to access through Enterprise Northern Ireland, has been a crucial part of turning my ideas into a real, trading business."

John D'Arcy, chairman of Enterprise Northern Ireland, added: "Enterprise Factor is a fine example of Northern Ireland's creative sector in action. It's a growing business with the potential of encouraging young people to make an enterprise out of their musical talent."

Belfast Telegraph

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