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Business Programmes

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Transform Your Business – Grow Your Business through 2021 and Beyond

This new programme of support will increase the capability and capacity of micro, small & medium sized enterprises in the Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon area, to embed changes to products, processes, technologies or systems, resulting in increased turnover and increased employee levels.

It is designed to help you grow your business through a number of elements, you can view more by using the links below:


The borough of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon is officially acknowledged as the Food Heartland of Northern Ireland, due to the significance of food and drink production and high quality places to eat and drink.

Target Audience

The Food Heartland Forum is targeted at agri-food and drink producers and hospitality providers based in the borough.

The Food Heartland Forum is a unique collaboration between council, local producers, chefs, and stakeholders including Food NI and Southern Regional College who work together to brand the borough and champion local food and drink.

The Forum meets once a quarter and membership is FREE – it’s a great opportunity to network & keep up to speed with what’s happening in the borough and beyond.  The only criteria for a business to join is that you must be based in the borough.

We are now recruiting businesses for the new Growth Driver programme. It aims to assist local businesses grow by utilising innovation. We will help you find new customers or suppliers for products, services, technologies or processes. It is for established businesses with less than 50 employees that are not current Invest NI client companies.
To apply please Economic Development on or 028 3831 2571 and briefly say why innovation would help you grow your business.

Click here to view Growth Driver PDF

This project is part funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth & Jobs Northern Ireland (2014-2020) Programme.


The Life Science Forum challenge is to build the knowledge and capability of owner/managers to understand the innovation process and indeed focus that innovation on a growth sector.

This forum will involve highlighting the Life and Health Sciences sector (including the area of Connected Health) as a growth sector which has the possibility to provide market opportunities to SME’s.

Target Audience

The Life science Forum is a network of key interested individuals, companies and sector support bodies collaborating to drive the sector forward.

Are you a small business looking to grow online? The Digital Retail Therapy Programme is a FREE programme designed to help the growth of local businesses, with a focus on increasing sales by helping them learn new skills and develop confidence to make the most of the vast digital retail opportunities available.

The Digital Retail Therapy programme will be delivered by a host of industry experts. It will include six events giving digital insights to develop knowledge and skills and a digital mentoring programme for 60 businesses, providing an in depth diagnostic audit for businesses of their digital capabilities and 15 hours of free one-to-one mentoring across a range of topics including website and social media marketing, data and analytics, geo-marketing tactics and search engine optimisation.

To find our more visit:  www.digitalretailtherapyprogramme.com

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council has launched a new business support programme, Win More Business Procurement Programme which aims to support the growth of local businesses, providing them with the knowledge and skills needed to expand by adopting or improving their tendering capabilities, helping them become more competitive.

This programme aims to support 175 micro and small businesses in becoming more responsive to changing market conditions, to improve their ability to survive, to assist businesses to take advantage of market opportunities and to undertake structured and planned growth.

The programme will offer a range of business development workshops and initially up to 3 days of one-to one mentoring to assist business in key areas such as:

  • Getting businesses ready to tender
  • Understanding and identifying supply chain and collaborations
  • Using e-tendering portals
  • Achieving compliance with industry standards
  • Structuring tender submissions
  • Evaluation of past tender submissions
  • Contract mobilisation
  • Employing staff to support new work won
  • Identifying new customer organisations
  • Raising your business profile with potential customers

Additional one-to one support may also be provided to those business who identify relevant live tenders whilst participating on the Win More Business Procurement Programme.

To be eligible for this programme your business must meet the following criteria:

  • Be located in the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council Area
  • Have less than 50 employees
  • Be actively trading for more than 12 months
  • Not be able to access similar type support from other existing support organisations
  • Be operating in markets where there are viable tender opportunities relevant to their business in the UK and beyond
  • Demonstrate the ability to create new employment opportunities

To register your interest in participating on the Win More Business Procurement Programme please contact the delivery agents:

Janis or Melissa
Global Education Ltd
Tel: 028 7134 763
Email: or

Or fill in our online Expression of Interest Form

This project is part funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth and Jobs Northern Ireland (2014-2020) Programme.

Carn, Seagoe and Charlestown in Craigavon Business Improvement District

Background to a Business Improvement District

Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council are delighted to be able to bring forward this new initiative.

The main areas of focus is to support local businesses to create jobs, by supporting  the development of key growth sectors including Life and Health Sciences, Agri-foods, the Digi-tech sector and Advanced Manufacturing.  Ensuring the right infrastructure is in place, is key to maximizing economic growth.

The development of a new Business Improvement District in Carn, Seagoe and Charlestown is part of this economic growth process.

Carn, Seagoe and Charlestown Industrial Estates are home to approx. 150 business  with over 12,500 employees travelling to these areas on a daily basis, with some of our major employers including Almac, Moy Park and Ulster Carpets to name but a few.  They are also home to small and medium sized businesses who are the backbone of our local economy. An initiative which will assist these areas grow is an important platform to assist these industrial estates realize their potential.

What is a BID?

A Business Improvement District is an arrangement whereby businesses get together to:

  • decide what improvements they want to make in their location
  • how they will manage these
  • what it will cost them.

This all goes into a business plan which is voted on by all those who would have to pay.  The BID lasts for a maximum of 5 years and must be able to demonstrate how it benefits the businesses that have funded it.

Have BIDs been supported elsewhere in the UK?

Since September 2004 when this legislation was introduced, there have been over 300 BIDs developed in the UK, which over the next 5 years will bring in over £100 million of new finance to develop their locations. A quarter of BIDs are based in Industrial Estates and Business Parks

What might a BID deliver?

It’s up to you. BIDs can deliver any projects or services that are agreed by the businesses in the BID area and that are over and above anything that the Public Sector provides through your business rates.  In most cases in this type of BID it includes:

  • increasing safety and security for businesses and customers
  • attracting new businesses and investment
  • reducing costs
  • access and environmental improvements.

The important thing is that the BID is focused on delivering the operational and other projects as determined by detailed consultation with all businesses in the BID area.

Why do businesses support BIDs?

A BID is a mechanism which:

  • allows businesses to raise a sum of money
  • manages and delivers projects that they have identified and believe will improve their trading environment,
  • will support businesses who are paying for the improvements.

Who can develop a BID?

A BID can be proposed by any business ratepayer, property owner, local authority or other key stakeholders with an interest in the BID Area.

Who pays for a BID?

Once projects and services have been agreed by businesses along with how they are going to be delivered and managed, they are costed up and set out in a detailed business plan.  The cost to each business is worked out on a pro rata basis.  ‘This is called the ‘BID LEVY’.  An independent and formal vote then takes place on the agreed projects and services and if the majority vote YES then ALL within the BID area HAVE to pay.  The BID levy is normally paid by the occupiers of a property.  In addition, BIDs can draw in other voluntary funding, grants and ‘in kind’ contributions to supplement the BID levy.

How will the BID be managed?

BIDs are  controlled and managed by local businesses that are paying the levy, currently the majority of successful BIDs are delivered through a Company Limited by Guarantee (not for profit).  The BID Company would be responsible for the delivery of the BID projects and services and directly responsible to all businesses through a board elected from those businesses that pay the BID levy.

How does an area become a BID?

A ‘BID Task Group’ is set up which is responsible for  putting together a detailed business plan setting out the projects it aims to deliver on behalf of the businesses in the BID area.  This is based on a detailed consultation process with businesses.  The business plan will include the projects, cost, delivery guarantees, performance indicators and the management structure. A confidential postal vote is held, all the businesses that would pay the BID levy get a vote.  To become a BID a majority of those that vote must be in favour by number and ratable value.  A successful BID then has a mandate for a maximum of 5 years after which the BID would need to seek a re-ballot.

If you would like to become a member of this new BID Task Group. Please contact the BID Manager on 028 38312460 for further details of how to express an interest in participating.

Does this mean the public sector will stop delivering services?

BID money should only be used to carry out projects/services ADDITIONAL to those that public services have to provide.  Prior to the BID Business Plan being produced the current services being delivered by all public agencies are benchmarked. This sets out the level or service provided by the Public Sector at that point in time. The BID company  can agree to provide additional resources to deliver a higher level of service over and above the benchmarked level if this is what businesses have identified.

How is a BID monitored?

Business plan containing specific key performance indicators (KPI’s) are set and performance is monitored against the KPI’s by the BID Board.  The BID Company is answerable to the businesses that pay the BID levy, and will be required to monitor and inform its members on its progress towards the agreed KPI’s


January 2020 saw our first BID Factsheet issued to all businesses and organizations in Carn, Seagoe, and Charlestown Industrial Estates.  Please see below.


Contact Economic Development on or 028 3831 2571.

Contact Us

For further information on all business programmes contact Economic Development on

028 3831 2571