INTERREGThe INTERREG Programme was introduced in 1991 to provide support for cross-border economic development in the less developed border regions of the EU.
INTERREG IVAThe current phase of the programme, which runs from 2007-2013, is called the INTERREG IVA Programme. This covers Northern Ireland, the border region of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and western Scotland. It has a total budget of €258 million.
Its objective is to 'support strategic cross-border co-operation for a more prosperous and sustainable region.'
INTERREG funds are administered in Northern Ireland by Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). It was one of six North-South Implementation Bodies established in 1998 under the Good Friday Agreement. You can find information about the INTERREG IVA programme and previous INTERREG programmes at www.seupb.org.
The COMET INTERREG PartnershipThe COMET INTERREG Partnership consists of the six local authorities located within the Greater Belfast metropolitan area:
- Belfast City Council (lead partner)
- Carrickfergus Borough Council
- Castlereagh Borough Council
- Lisburn City Council
- Newtownabbey Borough Council
- North Down Borough Council.
The COMET INTERREG Partnership was set up and launched in April 2005 and exists as a board with two elected representatives from each council on the board and supported by a Partnership Programme Manager and the European Manager of Belfast City Council. The work of the Partnership is funded under the European Regional Development Fund through the European INTERREG IVA Structural Funds Programme.
The members of the board are:
- Cllr Jenny Palmer, Lisburn City Council, (Chair)
- Ald Jack Beattie, Castlereagh Borough Council (Deputy Chair)
- Ald Christopher Stalford Belfast City Council
- Cllr Máirtin Ó Muilleoir Belfast City Council
- Ald Michael Henderson Castlereagh Borough Council
- Ald Jim McClurg Carrickfergus Borough Council
- Cllr Andrew Wilson, Carrickfergus Borough Council
- Ald Jim Dillon, Lisburn City Council
- Ald Fraser Agnew, Newtownabbey Borough Council
- Ald William DeCourcy Newtownabbey Borough Council
- Cllr Adam Harbinson, North Down Borough Council
- Cllr James McKerrow, North Down Borough Council
INTERREG IVA ProjectsThe COMET INTERREG IVA Partnership submitted a number of projects under the enterprise call on behalf of the COMET region under the European INTERREG IVA Structural Funds Programme. Two projects are currently approved and the COMET INTERREG Partnership is also a partner on a third project.
Business Boot CampThis project is worth £831,205 and is a results-focused programme which aims to provide practical assistance to help young entrepreneurs aged 16 to 35 years old start or grow their businesses in a time of economic uncertainty. It will provide a unique learning experience through interactive, tailored advice and guidance. COMET is leading on this programme alongside our partner Donegal County Council. The Business Boot Camp is being delivered in partnership with Enterprise Northern Ireland, Full Circle Management Solutions and Advantage NI Ltd.
There are two distinct elements of the programme:
1. The start-up element of Business Boot Camp is aimed at young entrepreneurs who have a dream of being an entrepreneur, whether they have a full business idea or just the desire to be their own boss. They should also be aged between 16 and 35 years old.
- idea generation and enterprise preparation workshops to help prepare for initial start-up challenges through group learning and peer support
- implementation support: enterprise shadowing with established business and peer mentoring with young successful entrepreneurs, one-to-one mentoring in business plan preparation, marketing strategy, fundraising and business-planning support.
Experienced mentors help participants to:
- adopt best practice business ideas through skills development workshops and visits to fast growth businesses
- manage their businesses more effectively
- plan for the future with confidence
- develop the skills to achieve business growth.
Participation is free, provided that:
- you (or your business) are based in the COMET region comprising Belfast, Carrickfergus, Castlereagh, Lisburn, Newtownabbey, North Down, and County Donegal
- you are aged between 16 and 35 at the start of the programme.
Gateways to Growth: Supply Buy NetworkThe Gateways to Growth: Supply Buy Network, worth £227,443, is an exciting new cross-border initiative jointly delivered by Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce, Dundalk Chamber of Commerce and Letterkenny Chamber of Commerce. It is providing opportunities for 300 SMEs at all stages in the supply chain to meet and sell to potential buying organisations whilst developing the skills to assist them in securing business in new markets.
Businesses participating on the programme will benefit from workshops in sales and networking skills, business to business support and the opportunity to meet with key decision makers from private companies procuring goods and services at two cross border Meet the Buyer events.
We're currently recruiting for the first series of skills development workshops and the initial Meet the Buyer event will take place in June 2013. The second series of skills workshops and Meet the Buyer event are scheduled to take place in November 2013 in the Republic of Ireland. Both meet the Buyer events will attract 150 participants from across Northern Ireland and the border regions. All participants will attend two preparatory workshops prior to participating at the Meet the Buyer event.
The 300 participating businesses will develop key transferable skills and benefit from a valuable cross border network.
Smart ECO HubThis project worth just under £833,520 (€986,000) is led by East Border Region Partnership of 10 Council areas, COMET INTERREG Partnership with Lisburn City Council delivering on behalf of COMET and partners Dundalk Institute of Technology, Southern Regional College, South Eastern Regional College, Centre for Competitiveness and University of Ulster.
The aim of the Smart ECO Hub is to enable vibrant low carbon innovation within the region so that it can become a key driver of regional sustainable economic development stimulating business growth and new job creation. It will improve the competitiveness of member companies and raise the profile of the East Border and COMET Regions as leaders in the development of low carbon technologies.
Brussels Open DaysBrussels Open Days takes place each year in the first week of October, giving an opportunity to meet and lobby MEPs and other European contacts in Brussels, and to profile the work that the COMET region is engaged in through a range of workshops, exhibitions and targeted meetings with a range of organisations in the city. Over the past number of years, the COMET INTERREG Partnership has organised a workshop at the Office of the Northern Ireland Executive in Brussels to update all elected members and officers of the five cross border partnerships and other relevant stakeholders on key policy and funding developments from senior European Commission Directorate General Officials.
Future INTERREG V ProgrammeThe COMET INTERREG Partnership has worked with four other cross border partnerships and stakeholders in the COMET region to lobby for a future INTERREG V Programme and to influence its themes and delivery model. The outcome of the consultation was submitted to SEUPB for inclusion in the consultation responses. We expect to provide an update in autumn 2013.
Further informationPlease contact the INTERREG Team on 028 9027 0698 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Belfast City Council
Cecil Ward Building
4 - 10 Linenhall Street