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Council encourages SMEs to embrace diversification with new support programme

8th January 2021

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council has launched its first support programme of 2021 for SMEs and entrepreneurs who wish to explore opportunities to diversify their business.

As part of the NMD Business Growth programme, the specially designed Buyer to Producer Programme offers participants guidance on how to switch from buying and selling products, to producing and commercialising their own products in-house. Expert mentors will help businesses to up-skill and re-skill their teams, allowing them to adapt their operations in relation to recent changes to the economic climate and to find new ways of doing business.

The NMD Business Growth programme is part funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth & Jobs Northern Ireland (2014 -2020) programme.

Councillor Laura Devlin, Chair of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council outlined the opportunities available to local businesses. She said:

"The Council team works closely with local SMEs on a day-to-day basis. They listen to their concerns and their needs and have designed specific support programmes to address them.

"This new Buyer to Producer Programme is an exciting opportunity for businesses from a wide range of sectors and industries to start producing their own products. If your business currently purchases products to sell, then this is your chance to explore the possibility of commercialising your own, rather than rely on suppliers.”

The programme aims to support businesses as they seek to rebuild their operations and transition to a new way of working. The Chair continued:

"These programmes may be crucial in helping to retain jobs in our local economy, while also providing opportunities, by expanding your business, to help create new jobs.

"It has been an incredibly tough time for many of the micro and small businesses based in the District, as they continue to face many difficult decisions in an ever-changing and uncertain environment, I encourage any businesses that think they may be able benefit from such support to register as soon as possible.”

The Buyer to Producer Programme involves tailored one-to-one mentoring and targeted online workshops, focusing on assessing your readiness to diversify, product development and getting ready launch your new product.

Support is open to any small business located in the Newry, Down and Down District Council area with less than 50 employees and registration is free.

Businesses can register for support via the programme by visiting the website www.nmdbusiness.org/buyertoproducer.

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