Local SME sector supported in skills development

Small Firms Development Programme participants: Paul Crawford from Paul Crawford Photography, Gareth Gilchrist from Newtownabbey In Touch, Cecilia Timoney from Physiotherapy Associates, Alan Gaston from Alan Gaston Mortgage Services, Maureen Black from Smart Forward, Jenny Irvine from JEN Marketing, Catherine Murphy from Rhyme Thyme Nursery, James McKay from Emotion Energy Ltd, Brian Mullan from Dirtycarswanted.com, Jim and Janet Campbell from Celebration Balloons, Michael Copeland from P.F Copeland Ltd, Simon Devlin from Full Circle and Terri Kelly from Kelly PR. INNT 23-521CON
Small Firms Development Programme participants: Paul Crawford from Paul Crawford Photography, Gareth Gilchrist from Newtownabbey In Touch, Cecilia Timoney from Physiotherapy Associates, Alan Gaston from Alan Gaston Mortgage Services, Maureen Black from Smart Forward, Jenny Irvine from JEN Marketing, Catherine Murphy from Rhyme Thyme Nursery, James McKay from Emotion Energy Ltd, Brian Mullan from Dirtycarswanted.com, Jim and Janet Campbell from Celebration Balloons, Michael Copeland from P.F Copeland Ltd, Simon Devlin from Full Circle and Terri Kelly from Kelly PR. INNT 23-521CON

Thirty small businesses from the Newtownabbey area have completed the first phase of the Small Firms Development Programme with Newtownabbey Borough Council.

The programme is part funded by Invest Northern Ireland and The European Regional Development Fund under the Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland, and aims to aid business development through focused workshop learning, a business audit and one-to-one mentoring support.

Over the last six months, participants on the Small Firms Development Programme have been working closely with their mentors to develop focused action plans, and explore new market opportunities through product development, service improvements and the integration of new technology, resulting in new business leads and job creation.

Paul Crawford of Paul Crawford Photography, who participated in phase one, commented: “I have really enjoyed my time on the Small Firms Programme. Of particular benefit to me was the invaluable support and information from my mentor, Martin. He has encouraged me to look at different markets for my photography business and to think ‘outside the box’ in terms of new products and ideas. Working ‘in’ your business you sometimes forget to work ‘on’ your business and workshops and programmes such as these help to freshen up on the basics and step back and look at your business in a more strategic way. I would have no hesitation in recommending this programme to other business people in the area.”

Economic Development Officer, Seonaid Rooney added: “Newtownabbey Borough Council are delighted to see the high level of interest from the SME sector in this programme, with phase two currently supporting another 20 Newtownabbey businesses. May I extend my congratulations to those 30 participants from phase one who are actively developing their businesses and offer them continued business success. In the autumn we will formally recognise all 50 participants and their business successes and achievements through a celebration event in Mossley Mill.”

For further information about the range of business support initiatives offered by Newtowabbey Borough Council, log on to www.newtownabbeygov.uk or email srooney@newtownabbey.gov.uk