Belfast Telegraph

This could be the year you become an entrepreneur

Ulster Bank’s Entrepreneurship team (from left) Matthew Teague, John Ferris, Lynsey Cunningham and Gabi Burnside
Ulster Bank’s Entrepreneurship team (from left) Matthew Teague, John Ferris, Lynsey Cunningham and Gabi Burnside

By John Ferris, Ulster Bank

Seven days into the new year I hope your resolutions are still intact and those personal goals you set are slowly being formed into everyday habits.

Rather than making 'new year, new me' your mantra, why not resolve to make 2020 the year you achieve some professional ambitions? This could be aiming for promotion, negotiating a raise or, if the January blues have really caught up with you and looking around your co-workers makes you think you need a change of scene, then why not consider becoming an entrepreneur?

Whether you have a great business idea you don't know how to bring to life or already have a trading company but don't know how to reach the next level, then the Ulster Bank Accelerator Programme could be for you.

We offer a fully-funded programme, giving you access to the best environment, a support network of like-minded entrepreneurs and one to one coaching and mentorship from a range of business leaders and experts across a range of industries.

Applications for the 11th intake to the programme are now live and as well as looking for those who want to get a business idea off the ground, we are particularly interested in welcoming those who are trying to reach the next level of growth and scale their business onto the programme.

Often local entrepreneurs here experience fantastic success in the first few years after launching a business, but reaching the next stage where turnover should grow beyond £1m can be much more challenging.

It's certainly not impossible though and thanks to the Entrepreneur Accelerator programme, many of our current cohort and alumni have made the transition and scaled their enterprises into globally-trading companies.

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Kiddiwinkles Care and Learning Centre and Further Space are two good examples of entrepreneurs who have carved rewarding careers from relatively simple ideas and our entrepreneurship team in Ulster Bank's Belfast Hub are working hard to help them scale their businesses even further.

Untapping entrepreneurial skills is our passion and we have already assisted hundreds of business owners to start, scale and succeed so if you want to take the next step but haven't been sure of what support is available, then this is your chance to really deliver.

As a member of the Accelerator programme, you will be work with a dedicated coach who can assist with the everyday practicalities of starting, growing or scaling a business, such as how to access finance or secure meetings with important investors, but you'll also have someone to challenge you and hold you accountable. We believe that networking plays a significant role in opening doors for business owners and having someone to navigate this world with can make a huge difference.

Hub members enjoy being part of such a positive, vibrant working environment but more than this, they thrive from having a rewarding, long-term career path.

Our resolution is to offer more entrepreneurs this opportunity, so if you think 2020 is the year for your business, then it's time to join us.

John Ferris is entrepreneur developer manager at Ulster Bank. To apply, visit

Belfast Telegraph