DOWN District Council’s Beyond business support service has been recognised as one of Northern Ireland’s best local economic development initiatives by the body which represents all councils in the region.
Shortlisted for the Northern Ireland Local Government Association (NILGA) Awards in the ‘Best European-funded Local Enterprise Initiative’ category, the Beyond programme is designed to improve Down district companies’ sustainability and competitiveness by providing access to a flexible range of business development and support activities. These include training workshops, networking opportunities and company mentoring according to local businesses identified needs.
“This is a fantastic vote of confidence in our local approach to business support and to wider economic development in the district,” said Councillor Anne McAleenan. “To build Down’s competitiveness we needed to get out to companies, see what they needed and start to provide it.
Councillor McAleenan added: “We are highly aware of the importance of our local indigenous businesses in Down district. Small companies are the lifeblood of our local economy and their hard-working owner–managers and staff need assistance to make new contacts, create new products and services, often by working more with each other. Not only does this benefit the business, the district benefits as well.
“We look forward to the Beyond programme carrying the flag for Down district at these prestigious Awards. I sincerely hope the Beyond programme, now that it has reached the final, gets the supreme recognition it deserves.”
Mark Bleakney, Invest NI’s Southern Regional Manager said, “The Beyond programme is making an important contribution to business development in the Down district and it is fitting that the initiative is recognised in the forthcoming NILGA Awards.”
The NILGA Awards will be held in the City of Derry-Londonderry on the evening of Thursday 28 February 2013.
The Beyond programme is part financed by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland.