Council Supports SMEs With Build Your Own Website Initiative

A cohort of 15 small and medium-sized enterprises in the Antrim and Newtownabbey area have just completed an innovative 'Build Your Own Website' programme which equips business owners with key digital skills.

Now in its third year, the training is offered to firms from a range of different sectors including landscaping, interior design, IT, jewellery, photography and more.

Delivered by Ardean Marketing & Business Development, the programme provides all participants with new, bespoke websites. Through mentor support and two specific workshops, they also left with the essential knowledge and skills to help them manage their new sites going forward.

The owner of Lightwork NI, a recently launched social enterprise which runs workshops on emotional resilience for children, teenagers and adults made use of the programme this year. Kerry McWilliams said the programme had been instrumental in helping to consolidate her brand identity, as well as building a website from scratch and providing key knowledge on how to manage it. She commented: "The really special part for me was the business support. It allowed my business to really come to life and gave me really useful and practical advice and actions going forward. I've already recommended the programme to other businesses!"
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Helen Nelson from Roofclad Profiles Ltd also found the programme invaluable in helping her family's business, which manufactures metal roofing products and accessories. Established for more than 20 years, the business previously had no online presence, but has seen numerous leads generated as a result of the website.

She said: "We had six new calls in the first week after the website went live. By taking part in the programme and seeing the website developed, I've learned an awful lot. There's real potential now for our business to grow. I would definitely recommend the programme to both start-ups and those companies wanting to bring their businesses into the 21st century."

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Paul Michael said the Build Your Own Website initiative had once again been a great success, with a high demand for places on the programme. He said: "By taking advantage of Council-subsidised programmes like this, local SMEs can gain a wealth of support which will ultimately help businesses to grow. Some of our participants have already seen significant success. If you'd like to improve your online presence and make your business more digital-savvy, then I'd encourage you to apply for the next intake when the programme launches again later this year."


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