Monday, 30 September 2013

Trio of NI companies awarded growth funding

A trio of companies have become the latest recipients of financial support from the NI Small Business Loan Fund.
Gym operator Push Fitness, candle maker Castlehill Candles and education supply business Learning Space NI all received backing from the £5m fund to support their expansion plans.
Push Fitness, which is based at Enniskillen in County Fermanagh, will use its share of the funding to renovate premises and satisfy working capital requirements. Meanwhile, Castlehill Candles has taken on two additional members of staff and intends to hire a further two every year until 2015 as part of plans to ramp up exports.
Completing the list is Learning Space NI, which has been able to employ two new members of staff and fulfil larger orders.
The NI Small Business Loan Fund, which is backed by Invest NI, did not disclose the precise amounts handed out to each company.
William McCulla, director of corporate finance at Invest NI, said: "The NI Small Business Loan Fund is attracting a lot of interest. In just six months the fund has offered over £500,000 in loans to local businesses."

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Ardean : Funding

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Noribic : Build your Business Programme

What is Build Your Business?

Build Your Business Programme aims to assist new start-ups, established business and community and voluntary groups based in the North East to begin trading, grow their business and become more entrepreneurial and sustainable.

Is this programme for me?     

Have you completed the Regional Start Initiative or Social Entrepreneurship Programme but need help to implement your business plan and start trading?

Are you a locally focussed established business or social enterprise that has the potential to increase sales and sustain/increase jobs but need to update your current business plan and business operations?

Are you a community or voluntary group that wants help to become more entrepreneurial and sustainable for the long term but need help planning how this would operate?

If you answered yes to any of the above, then the Build Your Business Programme is for you!

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Ardean : Business Planning

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Womens Fund for NI

The Women's Fund has been set up by the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland to provide financial support to foster and develop new opportunities for women and to encourage peer-group leadership across our society.

The Fund aims to help women overcome the barriers currently preventing their personal development, by providing small grants to foster and develop new opportunities in their own lives.
Womens Fund for Northern Ireland
Strategic direction for the Women's Fund for Northern Ireland will be provided by an independent steering group comprising Dr Joan Smith, CBE (Chair), Barbara Gray - PSNI, Hazel Holmlund - Soroptimist International Northern Ireland, Ann Hope, Roseann Kelly - Women in Business NI and Paddy Skates - Queen's University Belfast Convocation.

"Andrew Carnegie once remarked that the best way to benefit the wider community is to place within its reach the ladders upon which the aspiring can rise.

"I imagine most people can recall a time in their life when the supportive action of another allowed them to take the next step on their career, their education or perhaps a brave step into the unknown.

"I firmly believe that this Fund is our opportunity to work together to empower women across Nothern Ireland to take the next important step in their own lives, in order to fulfill their potential and I do hope you will join me and others in support of this important initiative".  - Dr Joan Smyth, CBE

In Year One, starting in September 2012, the Fund aims to raise £25,000. These funds will be used to help women across Northern Ireland as well as helping ensure the future of the fund for years to come.
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£69m to support business creation

A total of £69m is to be provided to support the creation of new businesses by the government.
The package includes £34m for Start-Up Loans to support around 7,600 businesses.

So far more than 35,000 entrepreneurs have formally registered an interest in loan through the scheme with almost 8,000 start-ups helped.
The Start-Up Loan scheme typically provides a loan of about £4,500 to help get business ideas off the ground.
Previously only available in England and Northern Ireland it will also be rolled out for Wales and Scotland.
Funding will also be provided to provide business mentoring and cash for unemployed people to start a company. The New Enterprise Allowance will be extended for new starters until the end of 2015 and provide an additional 60,000 mentoring places.
The scheme has helped to create more than 26,000 businesses so far.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: "I am determined to do all I can to support the British economy and that includes helping small businesses and budding entrepreneurs to get on. In the last two years we have helped tens of thousands of people to turn their ideas into a viable business, and this additional support will help thousands more.
"My message is simple: if you have drive, determination and are prepared to work hard, we will back you."

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Tuesday, 10 September 2013

The National Minimum Wage Increase

The national minimum wage sets minimum hourly rates that employers must pay their workers. It covers almost all workers in the UK. There are three aged based rates and an apprentice rate. This guide provides a basic overview of the national minimum wage and explains the role of HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) in enforcing it.

Important updates and changes
The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills has announced the national minimum wage rates from 1 October 2013:

  • the main adult rate (for workers 21 and over) will increase by 12p to £6.31 an hour
  • the rate for 18-20 year olds will increase by 5p to £5.03 an hour
  • the rate for 16-17 year olds will increase by 4p to £3.72 an hour
  • the rate for apprentices will increase by 3p to £2.68 an hour

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£150m Boost for Construction Industry

The UK's construction industry is set to receive a government-backed investment of up to £150m over the next five years.
Funding is to be provided to help reduce construction times, improve quality and make buildings more efficient.
A total of £60m is to be invested through the Technology Strategy Board to support the industry in designing and developing more energy efficient buildings.
The projects are expected to leverage in an additional £60m of industry investment and £30m extra funding across government and other agencies.
Business secretary Vince Cable said: "The UK's new and existing buildings must adjust to a low carbon economy. Investing in energy efficient construction projects is important to help industry and government achieve our aims of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent by 2025. I therefore warmly welcome the Technology Strategy Board's investment of £60m in energy efficient technology alongside the private sector.
"The construction industry contributes almost £90bn to the UK economy and supports around 3 million jobs. We are well placed to take advantage of new and emerging energy efficient technologies, commercialise them and then export them across the world.
"The future direct economic benefits of this investment are expected to be more than £1.5bn and three quarters of the organisations supported are small businesses with fewer than 250 staff."
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Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Direct Lending Scheme opens to exporters

A £1.5bn direct lending scheme for exporters, which will be operated by UK Export Finance, has been launched.
The Direct Lending Scheme will support exports where buyers need loans of up to £50m to purchase capital and semi-capital goods and services from UK exporters, but have been unsuccessful in obtaining funding from the banks.
Lord Green, minister for trade and investment, said: "Exports play a vital role in rebalancing our economy, and where the customers of British exporters are having difficulties securing export finance from other sources, UK Export Finance can now assist by providing loans through the Direct Lending Scheme."
Under the scheme, UK Export Finance will provide an export credit loan directly to an overseas buyer or borrower.
It will directly negotiate the terms and conditions of the loan, disburse funds against the manufacture and supply of the goods and services under the respective export contract and manage the repayment of the loan.
Chancellor George Osbourne announced the £1.5bn Direct Lending Scheme in the Autumn Statement last year.

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