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Programme helps businesses take ideas to next level

7 Apr 2014
Belfast City Council is launching another wave of its successful High Growth Pre-Enterprise Programme.

The programme will be open to 15 aspiring entrepreneurs who want to get started in business and take their ideas to the next level.

They will receive help and support in areas like product development, finance, sales and marketing.

They will get to take part in a range of activities among them a Business Challenge session to identify and develop entrepreneurial skills; masterclasses to explore one’s business potential and individual mentoring support to develop business plans.

Participants of the programme will also receive £500 of tailored support to aid the development of their business product or service.

Councillor Deirdre Hargey, Chair of Belfast City Council’s Development Committee, said: “We’re delighted to be launching another wave of the High Growth Pre-Enterprise Programme.

“For all would-be entrepreneurs out there, this is an opportunity for them to put their business ideas to the test. They will have access to the creative skills and expertise vital to setting up and building a sustainable business as well as being offered specialist help in areas like product development, finance, sales and marketing.”

Among the participants in the current round of the programme are Michelle Owens Gregory who set up her business, The Computer Club, which operates as an after-schools and holiday club for primary-school children around the use of computers and software.

“The High Growth Pre-Enterprise Programme has been very useful. It has allowed me the time and space to discuss ideas, structures and plans for my business with a team of entrepreneurial mentors. Their guidance has helped shape my thinking for both now and the first few years of trading,” she said.

“My plans are to establish a number of Computer Clubs around Belfast, license these to members of my team who currently work with me with a view to launching the business as a full franchise opportunity throughout the UK and Ireland.”

Jennie Wallace is aiming to bring her and her business partner’s idea ChartPOS to the marketplace after taking part in the programme.

“We found the programme a very useful way to progress our business from an initial idea into a workable action plan,” she said.

“Many people in the music industry are happy with the innovation iTunes and other such music stores have brought. However for smaller more local acts, this has posed a bit of a problem with getting recognition from the chart.

“ChartPOS aims to create a system whereby small music acts can still gain chart position while selling through their own channels – their own website, pop-up shops and festivals.

“The system will be a piece of software that will be distributed via app stores from 2014. Users will be able to register their music singles and albums with the system and the system will then track sales and record them with the charts. We see huge potential in the idea and we believe that we can diversify ChartPOS into other areas of the entertainment industry such as gaming,” she added.

The next round of the High Growth Pre-Enterprise programme will be delivered for the council by business development agencies’ Work West and Ortus.

The programme is part-funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the European Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for NI.

For more information on the High Growth Pre-Enterprise programme or to apply for an application form, contact Emma Garrett at Work West on (028) 9061 0826.

Belfast City Council supports local business across the city. For further details, visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk/business or www.facebook.com/belfastbusinessinfo.
New round of High Growth Pre-Enterprise Programme launched