Belfast Telegraph

Programme Propels entrepreneurs

By Amanda Poole

Invest Northern Ireland is urging budding entrepreneurs to sign up for its Propel programme before the January 23 deadline.

Propel is designed to help fast-track entrepreneurs with innovative ideas that have export potential, by offering financial support and access to leading business minds.

In the last three years it has helped more than 30 companies develop their products and business plans, enter new markets and gain over £3m investment.

Between them, they are already employing more than 50 people and have ambitious plans for growth.

Niall Casey, Invest NI's director of skills and strategy, said feedback from previous participants has been very positive.

Among them is Collette McCrarren, who took part in 2011 to set up underwear company BodiBase.

"Even if you think you know everything about business, you really don't until you do a course like this as you will definitely get your eyes opened," she said.

"I can't thank them enough; they really have propelled me and my idea into taking the best steps possible to make it a success."

Steven Kirby of Axis Composites took part in 2010 to build up a business based on a new carbon fibre technology.

"I would certainly recommend the Propel programme, because it gives you focus and gets you ready so you can present to investors and grow your business," he said.

The deadline for applications for this year's Propel programme is Wednesday, January 23 at 4pm.

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