The successful launch of idea2enterprise took place in Athlone yesterday [Thursday] with a tremendous groundswell of positivity and enthusiasm for businesses start-ups and new commercial ideas. The event was attended by members of the local business community, staff and board members of Westmeath Community Development, public representatives, and members of Athlone Chamber of Commerce. Skills of attendees varied widely, from craft industry to technology.
The aim of the programme is to support local businesses in making their idea a reality and to apply for LEADER grant aid of 75 per cent of capital expenditure, up to a maximum of €150,000. Up to €30,000 is also available for a feasibility study. Through a series of group workshops and one-to-one mentoring, the 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.
“Idea2enterprise is for anyone who has a new business idea or is thinking of expanding their current business, including community projects which will create jobs,” said Nuala Greenan, idea2enterprise team.
The idea2enterpise team comprises Nuala Greenan, Evelyn Cormican, and Máirín O’Reilly, who have combined forces with Westmeath Community Development. An additional panel of consultants has been assembled in the relevant sectors of micro-enterprise, tourism, craft, renewable energy, food, and angling as well as agri-diversification.
Speaking at yesterday’s launch, Laura Leonard of Westmeath Community Development encouraged attendees to avail of the expertise available.
“Through this new programme we aim to create increased awareness of the supports we have available for rural businesses to access LEADER funding, develop new projects, and create jobs in the Westmeath rural area. Westmeath Community Development places major emphasis on the implementation of innovative approaches to rural development at a local level. This in turn will add to the quality of life in rural communities.”
Participants will receive support in business planning and grant application through workshops, information on business planning, financial forecasting, sources of funding, market research, sales and marketing, branding, and business management.
Local success stories provided great inspiration and motivation, including Ballinahown Craft Village and CORE Crafted and Ballinahown Community Development, as well as Lilliput Adventure Centre in Johnathan Swift Park, as well as a broad range of aviation, agri-tourism, organic food production, wood fuel processing, tyre recycling, and many more projects.
If you would like to register your interest in the project, email [email protected] or call (044 ) 9348571 without delay.