Graduate Support On Offer To Small Businesses in East Border Region


Small businesses across Ards and Down can now benefit from graduate support with the launch of a new cross-border European programme to help small enterprises grow. The ASPIRE programme aims to match a high calibre graduate with a business for a 12 month period to assist the owner-manager achieve real commercial results in areas such as sales, marketing, export development, finance and innovation.   Small, medium and ‘micro’ sized enterprises from across the ‘East Border Region’, made up of 10 local council areas, including Ards, can apply to the programme, which is funded by the European Union through the INTERREG IVA Cross Border Programme INTERREG 1V through the Special European Union Programmes Body [SEUPB], businesses and can secure a graduate on a full time basis for a year for only £3,600.  Speaking at the launch of the Programme, Catriona Regan, director of Community and Enterprise Services of Banbridge District Council said:  “We are delighted to be taking the lead on this exciting new programme. We have long recognised the potential value of matching high quality young graduates with growth focused businesses and we believe that this Programme offers incredible Value for Money for small businesses”. Chairman of East Border Region Councillor Gerald Mallon welcomed the Aspire Programme:  “We in East Border Region are delighted to be the lead partner on such an innovative and worthwhile project. Given today’s challenging economic climate this level of investment and job creation is much needed and greatly welcomed across the region”.   Said Simon Devlin of Full Circle at the launch event:  “We will not only help owner-managers to find the right graduate, we will work with the owner-manager and the graduate to really work to achieve real commercial results over the 12 month period. The fact that the Programme is so heavily subsidised means that even very small micro enterprises can realistically apply”. The programme is being delivered by a consortium comprising Full Circle Management Solutions Ltd, Helix and FPM Chartered Accountants. For further information on the Aspire Programme or to apply for a place, please contact Conor Boylan of Full Circle Management Solutions Ltd at 02890 691027 /]]>


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