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100 businesses supported by the Optimal Programme

Free business mentoring programme. 

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council is celebrating the success of its OPTIMAL Programme with over 100 local businesses supported to date with free 1-to-1 business mentoring.

OPTIMAL is Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council’s principal business support and growth programme which provides up to 5 days free, tailored and specialist business support to companies and social enterprises in the Borough. The programme is part funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth & Jobs Northern Ireland (2014-2020) Programme.

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Alderman John Smyth commented,

"Helping over 100 businesses in the Borough is a fantastic achievement and I would encourage all small businesses to enquire about this programme as the free mentoring will help to prepare growth strategies that can drive new investment, increase sales turnover and create employment.”

Susan O’Kane, Regional Manager in Invest Northern Ireland, said,

"Invest NI continues to work closely with Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council to develop a range of programmes which specifically address the needs of our small business community. Since the launch of the Optimal Programme in June 2018 over 130 local companies have received tailored advice and practical business mentoring, which in turn has opened up new business opportunities and encouraged job creation in the region.”

Michelle Connolly from LearningMole who provides online educational content for children said

"The Optimal programme helped me to begin exporting to China. To date we have sold thousands of videos across multiple platforms and are expanding our delivery of programmes to other export markets”.

Belfast Artisan Distillery who produce premium gin in the Borough also received Optimal support. Ian Perry commented,

“The programme has been a fantastic help for our business. The advice and guidance from our mentor and Council has been invaluable in gaining access to export markets and connecting us to Invest Northern Ireland for additional assistance”.

Finally, Sarah Lavery from Dudes and Divas Entertainment who provide bespoke parties for children said,

“Optimal has really helped me with the HR side of my business allowing me to employ three members of staff with the confidence that the bureaucratic side of things was being done to the highest standard. The programme is currently helping me plan for future growth and expansion”. 

Sarah is also a recent winner of the Prince’s Trust Enterprise Award and believes the programme has helped her gain this remarkable achievement.

For more information and to apply for this support visit www.antrimandnewtownabbey.gov.uk/optimal or T. 028 9034 0052.

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