Sat 6th Jul 2013
Gateways to Growth Initiative Launched
Above: Councillor Jenny Palmer, Chair of the COMET INTERREG Partnership; John Watson, President of Letterkenny Chamber of Commerce; Councillor Frank McBrearty Jnr, Mayor of Donegal; Lorraine McCourt, Director Joint Technical Secretariat, Special EU Programmes Body and Sandra Scannell, Operations and Programmes Director, Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce.
The Gateways to Growth Project was launched this week by the COMET INTERREG Partnership with Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce, Dundalk Chamber of Commerce and Letterkenny Chamber of Commerce.
Gateways to Growth is a new cross border initiative to encourage trade between companies from Northern Ireland and the cross border regions of the Republic of Ireland. The project which has been awarded funding from the European Union’s Regional Development Fund through the INTERREG IVA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) will bring together over 300 SMEs from Northern Ireland and the border regions of Donegal, Louth, Monaghan, Leitrim, Sligo and Cavan at a range of skills development workshops and 2 large scale Meet the Buyer events.
Businesses availing of the programme will not only develop their skills set through sales and networking workshops but they will also have access to business to business support through the Chamber network, the opportunity to make a pitch to key private sector buyers at large scale Meet the Buyer events and will enhance their company profile through the creation of a high value cross border network.
Commenting on the Programme, Cllr Jenny Palmer, Chair of the COMET INTERREG Partnership, said:
“We are delighted to have secured funding for the Gateways to Growth project and we would encourage businesses to avail of this exciting cross border initiative which will enhance the export capability of SME’s and encourage trade between companies from Northern Ireland and the cross border regions of the Republic of Ireland.”
Ann McGregor MBE, Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce, said:
“The ultimate aim of the project is to encourage the target companies to supply, buy, network and assist in their growth and development by providing the opportunity to develop their skills set to export in what are viewed as nearby low risk markets. With only 2% of Northern Ireland’s registered businesses currently exporting there has never been a better time for businesses to take advantage of the support offered by the Gateways to Growth programme.”
The programme is open to SMEs located in the Northern Ireland and the border regions that have an interest in developing cross border trade. Businesses must be manufacturing, distributors of manufactured goods, business services, engineering and electronics or web and online creative industries.
Recruitment is now open for the first phase of the programme which includes workshops and the first Meet the Buyer event to take place in June 2013. The second phase will see the Meet the Buyer event held in the Republic of Ireland in November 2013.
Places are limited on the programme so to avoid disappointment request an application form at www.gatewaystogrowth.co.uk or contact Martina Crawford, Gateways to Growth Project Manager on 028 90 244113.