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Go For It and bring your product to market

7 Mar 2018
Belfast entrepreneurs are benefiting from ‘Go For It’, a free programme tailored to support new businesses to get up and running. And now Belfast City Council is inviting expressions of interest for the next round of the successful programme from anyone who is considering starting or growing a business.

Go For It is part funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth & Jobs Northern Ireland (2014-2020) Programme and is delivered free of charge through Northern Ireland’s wide network of Enterprise Agencies by a team of highly experienced business mentors.

The all-important first step in starting out on your own is testing out the idea with an expert advisor and creating a business plan – and that’s what Go For It delivers.

Two entrepreneurs who have recently been supported by Go For It are John O’Hare and John Graham, who drew on inspiration from their travels and experiences of street food to create Lagan Ribs, located within St George’s Market. They use locally sourced ingredients to produce their marinated, slow-roasted, pulled pork rib meat; served in a freshly baked bap with Lagan Ribs sauce.

John O’Hare explains: “We knew we wanted to offer our customers the best of Belfast street food, but we also needed help with the basics to get us up and running. The Go For It programme helped us to identify opportunities to bring our product to market, showed us how to allocate expenditure, forecast sales, manage our cashflow, brand and market our product, and how to use social media to engage and grow our customer base.

“We accessed an abundance of support, information and mentoring via the programme at North City. Our Go For It business advisor Jenny from North City really listened and understood our ideas and plans and the programme was instrumental in shaping our business decisions.”

Councillor Mairéad O’Donnell, Chair of Belfast City Council’s City Growth and Regeneration Committee said: “Don’t be afraid to bring forward your ideas – by talking them through with a business start-up advisor, you’ll quickly find out if it’s going to fly, and if it is, they’ll work with you to develop a business plan to allow your business to take off. One of the key objectives of our Belfast Agenda is growing the economy, so I’m delighted that Belfast City Council is delivering this valuable programme to support the many budding entrepreneurs across the city.”

Bill Scott, Invest NI’s Executive Director of Regional Business said: “Northern Ireland has a long history of entrepreneurship. Many of our most successful local businesses were self-started by one person with a simple business idea. Equally, there are thousands of micro-businesses which are the lifeblood of our local economy. The latest national employment statistics show that the number of self-employed is continuing to rise steadily, now accounting for over 15% of the working population in the UK, or 4.86 million people. Go For It is a valuable first step towards thousands of new businesses in Northern Ireland.”

Gordon Gough, Chief Executive of Enterprise NI, the body which runs the network of Enterprise Agencies delivering Go For It said, “From the many years of running the Business Start Up programme, our business advisors have probably heard every fear, reservation or worry there is about taking the first steps to starting out on your own. The programme is designed to work through these: to clarify goals, explore potential problems, map out the route to success and even to help with access to finance to start up or grow a business. Armed with a business plan, you’ll be on the road to setting up your own enterprise. I would encourage anyone considering a new business idea to get in touch.”

For more information, contact one of the independent advisors at www.goforitni.com or call 0800 027 0639.
Lagan Ribs with Cllr Mairead O'Donnell Lagan Ribs