Almost 9,000 entrepreneurs across Northern Ireland have been supported by the Go For It Programme over the past four years, with more than 3000 new business plans drawn up in 2021 alone.
The scheme, which aims to help entrepreneurs across the country to translate their business idea into reality, is part funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth & Jobs Northern Ireland (2014-2020) Programme.
All 11 councils in Northern Ireland have banded together to urge local entrepreneurs to Go For It in 2022 with the support of the programme.
The Go For It programme is delivered free of charge by a team of experienced business advisors across Northern Ireland. It provides expert advice and help with developing a robust business plan, covering everything from financial forecasting to marketing and long-term sales growth.
Thanks to the Go For It programme, Melanie Harrison revamped a Victorian townhouse in south Belfast, transforming it into a quirky boutique hotel that celebrates the city’s rich literary heritage.
“For anybody starting a business, Go For It opens the gateways for so many other opportunities,” she says.
Meanwhile, nutrition student Amy Fry transformed her garage in Cullybackey into a skincare studio specialising in problem skincare thanks to support from the scheme.
“Go For It is fantastic – there was no unnecessary preparation for opening, but everything was in place and ready to go,” she says.
Former Gaelic player Eoghan Heaney from Armagh launched a fitness studio, Tribe Fitness, and was able to adapt the business plan to a remote model during lockdown.
“For somebody who is starting out and needs some clarification on how to manage and structure a business, the Go For It programme is definitely the thing to do,” he says.
And Karl Simmonds was able to transform his furlough hobby – making sourdough bread – into Northern Ireland’s newest artisan bakery, Flat & Brown Bakehouse, during lockdown with help from Go For It.
“It gave me a push to set up a proper business rather than selling bread to neighbours and friends. It was an incentive to carry on and expand,” he says.
Dr Eugene McGuckin, Programme Manager, Northern Ireland Business Start Up Programme said: “The Go For It Programme continues to be a fantastic asset in helping entrepreneurs across Northern Ireland access the advice and support they need to develop a business plan.
“Almost 9,000 new business plans in four years is a remarkable milestone, and local Councils are really proud that so many entrepreneurs have seized the opportunity to establish the business of their dreams with the support of the Go For It Programme.
“The Go For It Programme helps candidates create a business plan tailored to their business idea, focusing on important elements such as financial forecasting and accounts, sales and marketing, and how they can potentially access funding.
“This tried and tested business plan provides candidates with a blue-print for building a successful and sustainable business model, and it gives them the final push they need to finally launch their business.
“So if you’re thinking about starting a business in 2022, I would encourage you to get in touch and seek the support that the Go For It Programme provides.”
If you have a business idea you’d like to develop or if you are thinking about starting a business visit: visit www.goforitni.com