New programme of support for rural enterprises

‘Idea2enterprise’, a six-month programme of supports for new and existing businesses from Westmeath Community Development, will be launched next Thursday June 28 in The Creggan Court Hotel, Athlone from 1.30-3pm and Bloomfield House Hotel, Mullingar from 5.30-7pm.

Business owners, members of the farming community, budding entrepreneurs, those who are long-term or recently unemployed with a business idea, as well as community leaders are invited to attend the launch events and to extend this invitation to their contacts and associates. Admission is free of charge.

The aim of the launch is to create awareness of the supports available for rural businesses to access LEADER funding, develop new projects, and create jobs in the Westmeath rural area. Westmeath Community Development administers LEADER grants following specific criteria under the Rural Development Programme, which receives 55 per cent of its funding from the EU and 45 per cent from the Irish Exchequer, and places major emphasis on the implementation of innovative approaches to rural development at a local level.

Speaking about the programme Joe Potter, CEO of Westmeath Community Development, said “We look forward to the launch of the idea2enterprise programme and we encourage as many people as possible to attend. The aim of the programme is to support local businesses to apply for grant aids and to help eligible projects in making their idea a reality through LEADER funding.”

Participants admitted to the six-month programme will receive support in areas of business planning and grant application through idea development workshops, information on business planning, financial forecasting, sources of funding, market research, sales and marketing, branding, and business management. Partnering with Westmeath Community Development, NG Management Services will roll out this six-month programme with a team of expert consultants.

“We are inviting anyone who has a new business idea or is thinking of expanding their current business to come along and register for this programme, including community projects which will create jobs. The various criteria for the LEADER funding will be demystified and participants will be guided through the application forms and supported to apply for grant aid for eligible projects, which can now be up to 75 per cent of capital expenditure, up to a maximum of €150,000,” said Nuala Greenan, NG Management Services.

A panel of consultants has been assembled in the relevant sectors of micro-enterprises, tourism, craft, renewable energy, food, farming, agri-tourism, and angling, as well as agri-diversification.

LEADER is the EU initiative for Rural Development that provides approved Local Action Groups with public funding (EU and national ) to implement plans for the development of their own areas.

To register your interest email [email protected] or call (044 ) 9348571.

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