Monday, 27 July 2020


Do you operate a micro business? (i.e. you employ less than 10 employees)

Is your business based in a rural area?  (a rural area is defined as an area with a population of less than 5,000 residents and outside designated urban areas of Magherafelt, Dungannon, Cookstown and Coalisland). 

If so you may be eligible to apply for funding under the Rural Business Development Grants Scheme. This Scheme aims to support the sustainability, survival and development of micro rural businesses across Northern Ireland by providing a small capital grant for the business.  Funding for this Scheme is provided through the Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation (TRPSI) Programme funded by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs. Capital grants are offered at 50% of eligible expenditure up to a maximum of £4,999.  The minimum grant level that can be applied for is £500, which means the minimum total project cost must be £1,000.  The maximum total project costs must not exceed £20,000. 

Eligible expenditure under this scheme includes computer equipment and software, E-commerce websites, new equipment/ machinery, capital costs to facilitate health and safety changes to working practices and alterations to premises needed due to COVID 19 restrictions or building works to bring an area of a building back into economic use or improve/change the use of the building.

Further detail on eligibility is available within the Scheme guidance notes by visiting

Please read the guidance notes carefully to ensure you can meet the eligibility criteria set for the Scheme before applying. The guidance notes also provide instruction on completing your application and the supporting information you need to submit.   

Application forms will be available for download via the link above from 3rd August when the scheme opens.  The closing date for completed applications will be 12noon on 11th September. Late applications will not be considered. 

This is a competitive process with limited funding available therefore it may not be possible to fund all applications. Grants awarded will be determined on the base of merit.

For further information contact a member of the RDP Admin Unit on: Telephone: 03000 132 132 (Ext 22508 or 22506) or Email:

Ardean ¦ Funding

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

COVID-19 Digital Business Toolkit

As part of Mid Ulster Council's on-going response to the COVID-19 crisis to help business reconnect with their customers as sectors start to reopen, Mid Ulster Council have created a range of useful downloadable resources which will help you in the coming days and weeks.

You can download helpful checklists, view answers to frequently asked questions and a wide range of display items covering hygiene measures, social distancing, payment processes and more to use in your premises.

View the digital resource by clicking here

Ardean ¦ Business Planning

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

SRC Business Support & Innovation - Get Your Business Online

Businesses of all sizes and from all sectors have been affected by recent global events, with many industry reports now saying this will be the catalyst for digital acceleration for all businesses.

Now more than ever, organisations need to have an online presence to meet the changing needs and expectations of customers, accommodate changes in buyer behaviour and to develop and sustain competitive advantages.

But where do you start?

The SRC is hosting a webinar to find out how to get your business online.  You can register now and join them on 26th June at 9.30am to find out how to get your business selling online.

Ardean ¦ Marketing Communication

Extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and flexible furloughing

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme up and running - GOV.UKFrom 1 July 2020, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is changing.

Employers will be able to bring previously furloughed employees back to work part time and decide the hours and shift patterns they work to suit the needs of their business. From 1 August, employers will be asked to contribute towards wages costs.

For the latest information, join the following live webinar:
Extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and flexible furloughing – the HMRC will take you through the changes, flexible furloughing, claim periods and key dates.

Click here for dates and times

Ardean ¦ Business Planning

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Flexible Furloughing

Flexible furloughing
From 1‌‌ July 2020, you’ll have the flexibility to bring previously furloughed employees back to work part-time – with the government continuing to pay 80% of wages for any of their normal hours they do not work up until the end of August. This flexibility comes a month earlier than previously announced to help people get back to work.
You can decide the hours and shift patterns that your employees will work on their return and you will be responsible for paying their wages in full while working. This means that employees can work as much or as little as your business needs, with no minimum time that you can furlough staff for.
Any working hours arrangement that you agree with your employee must cover at least one week and be confirmed to the employee in writing. When claiming the CJRS grant for furloughed hours, you will need to report and claim for a minimum period of a week. You can choose to make claims for longer periods such as on monthly or two weekly cycles if you prefer. You will be required to submit data on the usual hours an employee would be expected to work in a claim period and actual hours worked.
If your employees are unable to return to work, or you do not have work for them to do, they can remain on furlough and you can continue to claim the grant for their full hours under the existing rules.
Employer contributions
From August, the government grant provided through the job retention scheme will be slowly tapered.
  • in June and July, the government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 as well as employer National Insurance (ER NICs) and pension contributions for the hours the employee doesn’t work – employers will have to pay employees for the hours they work
  • in August, the government will continue to pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 but employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions – for the average claim, this represents 5% of the gross employment costs that they would have incurred if the employee had not been furloughed
  • in September, the government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50 for the hours the employee does not work – employers will pay ER NICs, pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up 80% of the total up to a cap of £2,500
  • in October, the government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875 for the hours the employee does not work – employers will pay ER NICs, pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% of the total up to a cap of £2,500
  • the cap on the furlough grant will be proportional to the hours not worked.
If you are a smaller employer, some or all of your employer NIC bills will be covered by the Employment Allowance, so you should not be significantly impacted by that part of the tapering of the government contribution.
Around a quarter of CJRS monthly claims relate to wages that are below the threshold where employer NICs and auto enrolment contributions are due, and so no employer contribution will be required for these furloughed employees in August.

Friday, 22 May 2020

Improve your digital window to the world

Improve Your Retail Website Customer Experience | Grow My StoreWhether you sell online or in-store, boost your business with a quick and easy evaluation of your retail website by clicking here.

Ardean ¦ Marketing Strategy

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Make digital transformation happen in your business

Google Digital AcademyFind transformation tips, guides, tools and case studies to help marketers and businesses by clicking here, all curated by The Google Digital Academy.
There’s no set playbook for transformation, so build your own. Take the insights and inspiration from what’s here and tailor to fit the shape, needs and challenges of your organisation.

Ardean ¦ Business Planning

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

11 Copywriting Book Recommendations

14 Copywriting Examples From Businesses With Incredible CopywritersInside DM Engage, recommendations for books cover a wide range of subjects. If you use the #DMReadingList hashtag you’ll see loads of them. But it’s copywriting books that tend to be the most discussed. Because how you tell your story, connect with your audience, and get them to convert comes down to how you systematically assemble language.

Click here to view some of the most beloved books about copywriting, according to actual members of the DM Engage Facebook community.

Ardean ¦ Marketing Communication

Monday, 27 April 2020

How HMRC works out total income and trading profits for the Self-employment Income Support Scheme

UK Covid-19 death toll reaches 578 after biggest recorded daily ...Find out how HMRC will work out your income and profits if you're self-employed or a member of a partnership in the UK and have lost profits due to coronavirus (COVID-19) by clicking here.

Ardean ¦ Funding

Monday, 9 March 2020

National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage rates will increase from 1 April 2020

Minimum wage rates to increase from 1 April 2020Employers should be aware that all minimum wage rates increase on 1 April of each year. This includes all National Minimum Wage rates and the National Living Wage rate. The new minimum wage rates will apply to eligible workers in Northern Ireland from 1 April 2020.

Minimum wage - increased rates from April 2020
The minimum wage rates will increase on 1 April 2020 to:

National Living Wage (25 years old and over) - £8.72 per hour
National Minimum Wage adult rate (21 to 24 years old) - £8.20 per hour
National Minimum Wage (18 to 20 years old) - £6.45 per hour
National Minimum Wage (16 to 17 years old) - £4.55 per hour
National Minimum Wage (apprentice rate) - £4.15 per hour

Read more on National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage rates.

Ardean ¦ Marketing Strategy

Monday, 10 February 2020

Get design support to the value of £10k to help your business grow and gain new customers

DesignActive helps businesses to understand where and how design can deliver tangible benefits to their business. Work with one of the design experts to get inspired to think of new ways to improve customer experiences, develop new products and audit your communications.

How it works
It provides up to seven non-consecutive days design consultancy support based around your design need. In addition, support includes interactive sessions, 2.5 days of one-to-one mentoring from design experts and a final exhibition of work with a follow-up evaluation review.

Cost £1,250 plus VAT

Applications are open for DesignActive, Enquire now

Ardean ¦ Marketing Strategy