Tycoons keen to help 'Propel' new entrepreneurs to business success

INVEST Northern Ireland is throwing its weight behind local entrepreneurs in Newtownabbey and driving the Northern Ireland economy towards growth, with the launch of their latest business start-up programme 'Propel'.

The Invest NI funded initiative is open to anyone in Northern Ireland with an idea for a new export focussed business. The programme is split into two phases, and the target is 30 applicants for entry to Phase I which starts in October, with 15 businesses going forward into Phase II of the programme which starts in January.

At the end of 14 months Invest NI aims to see 15 thriving export-focused, scalable businesses up and running in the region.

Sharon Polson, Invest NI’s Head of Entrepreneurship Development, said: “This new initiative aims to strengthen the local economy by providing a range of support which will help local people to develop new, ground-breaking ideas with worldwide commercial appeal.

“We recognise that fledgling entrepreneurs can benefit significantly from the support of other businessmen and women who have already achieved their goals, so mentoring is a critical element of the programme. The various mentors advising and guiding participants on the Propel programme have a vast amount of knowledge and commercial acumen. They can share this with the participants to help them successfully take their ideas to market.”

Diane Roberts is programme director and she brings vast experience in guiding and mentoring early stage and venture start up companies.

“What we are trying to achieve with this programme is to establish a number of successful companies that will increase Northern Ireland exports, creating employment and development opportunities,” she said.

“Networking is at the heart of what we are doing,” she explained. “From providing the participants with bespoke one-on-one mentoring from the best in the business, to encouraging the participants to network with local organisations, international visitors and even each other -we will do all we can to form confident entrepreneurs with investor ready business plans.”

Recruitment for the programme has begun and the deadline for applications is September 18. Anyone seeking further information about the programme should log on to www.propelprogramme.co.uk, email info@propelprogramme.com or call 0870 4954 841.

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