A Bangor-based entrepreneur made the most of lockdown to launch an online recruitment advertising platform, Hiri, thanks to help from the Go For It programme in partnership with Ards and North Down Borough Council.
This project is part-funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth and Jobs Northern Ireland (2014-2020) programme.
Owen Fleming (29) launched Hiri, an online recruitment advertising platform, that enables local businesses to harness the power of video and social media to better advertise their vacancies and connect with job seekers in a new way.
Owen said, “I’ve always been interested in small business and start-ups and would have considered myself somewhat entrepreneurial in the way I approached things.
“Having worked in recruitment for seven years, I was able to identify that with all these furloughs and redundancies, there would come a point in the near future where businesses are going to start to recover and grow again, and that means advertising jobs and hiring staff.”
Owen utilised the support of the Go For It Programme to help turn his idea into a business.
The Go For It Programme is delivered free of charge by a team of experienced business mentors through Northern Ireland’s wide network of enterprise agencies. It provides expert advice and help with developing a robust business plan to help turn ideas into a commercial enterprise.
Owen added: “I have been aware of the Go For It Programme for some time, but I didn’t expect the process to be so quick and efficient. I saw an advert on social media and filled in a short online form and was then contacted by my business advisor.”
“The Go for It Programme took place remotely because of the restrictions and the quality of mentorship was phenomenal. My business advisor was always available over Zoom and they were very flexible, knowledgeable and really supported me in the start-up stage of my business.
“The support was really helpful from a financial planning perspective and has equipped me with a comprehensive business plan that I can use to try and access finance. I have also been accepted on to another business mentoring programme, where I’ll get credits to use toward specialist help and advice.”
Owen has plans to add to the skill set of the business with the recruitment of a Chief Technology Officer or a Technical Co-Founder as he aims to expand the servicing offering that Hiri can provide to clients.
Councillor Mark Brooks, Mayor of Ards and North Down said, “I’m very proud that Ards and North Down Borough Council has supported the Go for It Programme in providing start-up businesses like Hiri with the necessary support and advice to get up and running in the local area.
“I was looking at last year’s figures and was impressed to find out that the Go For It Programme has supported over 160 young entrepreneurs in the Borough, creating over 100 jobs. This level of enterprise is great for the Borough as we have a very talented and educated workforce as well as a fantastic location.
“I am delighted to see Owen’s business go from strength to strength and have no doubt that the business plan and mentoring that the Go For It programme has provided will provide his business with a roadmap for success”
Maeve Killingbeck, Business Advisor at North Down Development Organisation, said: “Owen is a very talented recruitment consultant and came to the Go For It programme with an idea to utilise his skill set and provide local businesses with a service to better advertise their job vacancies using the power of social media and video.
We worked with Owen virtually to map out a clear strategy that would allow him to launch the business and then sustain and grow it for long term success. We carefully mapped out a strategic business plan that focused on product financial forecasting and sales and marketing.
“I am delighted that the business has really taken off and have no doubt that it will continue to flourish as more and more businesses start to recruit for staff as we ease out of lockdown.”
If you have a business idea you’d like to develop or if you are thinking about starting a business contact the Go For It Programme on 0800 027 0639 or visit: www.goforitni.com