A celebration event was held recently in Craigavon Industrial Development Organisation (CIDO) to highlight the positive impact the pilot Enterprise Support Programme is having in the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon area for young entrepreneurs.
The Enterprise Support Programme provided dedicated follow-on business start-up advice, mentoring and funding through the ABC Labour Market Partnership (LMP), helping 40 young local entrepreneurs on their self-employment journey.
Addressing the gathering, the Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Alderman Glenn Barr said:
“Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council is fully committed to supporting the recovery and growth of the local economy and working with partners through the ABC Labour Market Partnership.
We recognise the importance of supporting new businesses and helping people on their self-employment journey. Being your own boss can be daunting but at the same time very rewarding. I congratulate all our participants for having the courage to take the leap into self-employment and following their passions and dreams. We are a borough of outstanding business, entrepreneurial spirit and opportunity, and we pride ourselves as a place where all citizens are supported and valued.”
The programme has benefited from funding of £80,000 from the Department for Communities, and has been rolled out across the borough with young people receiving a grant of £1,500 on completion.
Chris Smart from the Department for Communities said: “It was a really excellent event and it was fantastic to see how the Enterprise Pathways supported young-people into self-employment.”
Dermot Hicks, Business Development Manager at Armagh Business Centre said:
“The purpose of the programme was to help and support young entrepreneurs across the borough who had recently completed the Go For It Programme and who were either unemployed or at risk of becoming unemployed. It was great to be able to help and support young entrepreneurs with bespoke mentoring and funding – a lifeline which could be put towards business start-up costs.”
Leah McCann, a former EasyJet employee was at risk of redundancy when the pandemic took hold, was able to take the huge step of opening her own business ‘For You Baby Clothing’ in Lurgan with help from the programme.
Speaking at the event Leah said: “Participating in the programme gave me a better understanding of what to expect when I went self-employed. I got great help and advice and it made the start-up phase less stressful. It really pointed me in the right direction.”