Belfast Telegraph

'Inquiry' into Invest NI's funding of small businesses

By Clare Weir

A politician has announced he is to conduct his one 'inquiry' into how funding body Invest NI supports small businesses.

Ulster Unionist economy spokesperson and Strangford MLA, Mike Nesbitt, said that he wants to offer "frustrated" business people an outlet for their stories, and to build an "evidence base" on how well Invest NI serves homegrown businesses.

"The SME sector accounts for well over 90% of our private sector, and if we are serious about developing it, this is the engineroom that will generate growth," Mr Nesbitt said.

A spokesman for Invest NI said that the body's support for local business is regularly presented to, and discussed with, the committee of which Mr Nesbitt is a member.

"Over the last three years, Invest NI has made almost 8,800 separate offers of support to local businesses, which is 93% of all offers made, and with over 8,100 of these being the SMEs," the spokesman added.

A Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment spokesman added said: "Over the coming weeks and months, Invest NI will be making many more new areas of support available and businesses will be able to get the help they need to address the wide range of issues they currently face."