Under the new scheme grants of £500 will be made available to new businesses to help them through the most challenging phase of their development, during what are unprecedented times for the local economy. The cash grants will be delivered by Council as part of the Go For It Programme, in partnership with Strabane Enterprise Agency and Enterprise North West.
Council's Business Team have been working closely with the local business community throughout the ongoing Covid crisis through a dedicated Covid Business Recovery and Referral service to assist and support companies as they have had to adapt their services and premises to meet the needs of both staff and customers.
Up to now there have been a number of funding packages announced to support established businesses. However Start Ups have not received the same level of government aid and this has emerged as a major area for concern.
Welcoming this latest intervention on behalf of the business community, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor Brian Tierney, said: "I am sure this scheme will be warmly welcomed by many local people who have had to stall plans to open a new business because of the additional risk at this time. Even established businesses are struggling to adapt to a rapidly changing new work environment, so for fledgling enterprises it must be particularly daunting.
"Council's business team have seen unprecedented demand for assistance in recent months, and have responded with a number of new interventions to meet the needs of the business community. This will offer another support option which will hopefully enable new enterprises to get off the ground and see their business ambitions come to fruition."
The Covid Recovery Start Up Grant Programme aims to foster innovative ideas that have the potential to boost economic development and cultivate a spirit of entrepreneurship. The £500 grants will assist with the marketing of products, capital costs, rent, set-up costs, or cost of renovating premises.
Head of Business with Council, Kevin O'Connor, said it was essential for the local economy that Start Ups were prioritised at this time. "New businesses are vital to any thriving economy, offering innovative and diverse employment opportunities and giving consumers greater choice.
"Through our ongoing work with the local business community it's emerged that there is an urgent need for us to assist emerging new talent as they face new and unexpected challenges due to the current crisis. This fund will go some way to meeting that need and I would encourage anyone with a new venture to sign up for the Go For It programme and avail of the support that's there."
The grant is available to anyone planning to start a new business within six months of the programme launch. Businesses can access the scheme by completing the Go for It Programme and going through a formal eligibility process conducted by Enterprise NW and Strabane Enterprise Agency.
You can find out more about the scheme at www.derrystrabane.com/Business/Business-Support/Covid-New-Business