05/08/2003

NIBSP could help create 13,000 new jobs say PwC

Over 13,000 jobs could be created over the next four years if the Northern Ireland Business Start Programme (NIBSP) continues at its current rate of business creation.

This is according to the findings of research recently carried out by management consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) as part of their ongoing evaluation of the programme.

The programme, which is funded by Invest Northern Ireland, in partnership with the 26 district councils and the European Regional Development Fund, provides a package of training and mentoring assistance to potential entrepreneurs, targeting the local market place.

Figures released PwC reveal that the NIBSP is significantly ahead of its target for business creation, is highly rated by participants, and is having a positive effect on the economy.

If this continues the programme could help to create approximately 8,000 new businesses, which would generate some £270 million to the local economy, thus creating the 13,000 jobs.

Professor Terri Scott, Managing Director of Entrepreneurship and Enterprise in Invest NI, says that the evaluation highlights the very tangible benefits of the programme in terms of both set-up assistance and contribution to the survival of new businesses.

“The ongoing support and mentoring offered by the programme is a key element in its success. The first year of trading is crucial for any business and the review demonstrated that over 90% of businesses surveyed remained trading after one year.

“This reflects Northern Ireland’s high business survival rate overall, which outstrips all other UK regions. The survival of these new businesses will be monitored throughout the life of this programme."

Launched in September 2001 the programme has, in 21 months, helped to support more than 3,300 individuals into new business ventures and is currently 56% ahead of target.

The PwC research revealed that 69% of those taking part in the programme felt that it enabled them to establish their business faster than they otherwise would have done, while 81% felt that the NIBSP enabled them to set up a better business, through assistance with business plans and market research.

The NIBSP has been designed to support both full and part time new business ventures. It offers training and IT support, help to access finance, and a free advisory service during the first year of trading.

The training provides practical advice on key areas of running a business including marketing, personnel and legal issues, and finance.

(MB)

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