Belfast Telegraph

£1m package to provide help for companies here


Over 200 firms in Mid Ulster are to benefit from a new £1m package offering support for new product development, sales, marketing, export, tendering and access to finance.

Cookstown District Council hopes that the new programmes will help create 45 new jobs and help participating businesses generate over £1.5m by 2015.

The £929,450 will be provided by Cookstown District Council and Invest NI, part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund under the Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland.

Five new programmes will be available to 225 businesses, each of which will receive one-to-one support.

The 'Business Elevate Programme' will assist with new product and process development, sales, marketing and developing quality systems.

The 'Fastrack to Finance Programme' will help businesses access finance for new concepts while the 'Tender Programme' will help businesses identify tender opportunities.

The 'Resource Efficiency Programme' will help to identify and implement resource efficiencies to achieve cost savings while a sub-regional 'South West Export Programme' will assist 21 first time export businesses in the Cookstown district, and 105 businesses across the region, to break into new markets in the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain.

Over 100 business representatives from the region heard Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster formally launch the scheme.

"Cookstown District Council has worked to develop this suite of programmes by listening to businesses in the Cookstown district and tailoring the programmes to understanding their specific needs," she said.

"The council has also worked closely with Invest Northern Ireland to ensure that the initiatives would complement the support already on offer to businesses in the Cookstown region.

"Invest NI is working with councils right across Northern Ireland to offer support for a range of local economic development initiatives just like those launched in Cookstown.

"It is crucial that we all continue to work in partnership so we can further strengthen and grow the private sector."

Tony Quinn, chairman of Cookstown District Council, said that in difficult trading times, it is essential that our SMEs receive support.

"Over the next two years these programmes will provide a significant economic stimulus for our local business community, which are the lifeblood of our economy, and on which we rely to provide the future sustainability and prosperity of our district." he said.

Acting council's chief executive Adrian McCreesh added: "Cookstown District Council recognises the importance of stimulating the private sector at grassroots level by providing programmes of a very practical nature focussed on enhancing business sustainability, growth and competitiveness."

Belfast Telegraph