Council initiative helps local business to grow by 50 per cent

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Pictured at a recent visit to NI Climbing Frames is (L-R) Nicola Wilson, Head of Council’s Economic Development Department, Noelle Garvey Business Engagement Programme Manager, Ricardo Manso, Director NI Climbing Frames, Councillor Paul Greenfield, Chair of Council’s Economic Development and Regeneration Committee and Stephen Fullerton from Invest NI.

A cutting-edge business programme designed to support and grow local micro and small sized enterprises has engaged with over 500 local companies during the last four years and successfully helped create over 100 jobs across the Borough.

The innovative Business Engagement Programme (BEP), managed by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, provides tailored mentoring to businesses – with NI Climbing Frames being one such company to avail of this assistance.

Based in Banbridge, NI Climbing Frames design, manufacture and install climbing frames for both the private and commercial market. They made contact with the BEP because they wanted expert help on how they could grow their business by developing the market in the Republic of Ireland.

The company received 20 hours of one-to-one mentoring aimed at helping to create a marketing strategy, specifically targeting sales growth in RoI. The mentor spent several months working closely with the business to produce this specific plan – and the outcome has been hugely successful.

As a direct result of the programme support, NI Climbing Frames has seen sales increase in RoI by a massive 50 per cent! On top of this, thanks to additional support through the programme, a new business development position was created and is part funded by the InterTradeIreland Acumen programme.

The mentor also advised the company to pro-actively seek out Research and Development tax claim relief, which has helped the business to invest further and contribute to this growth.

“It is fantastic to see the direct impact that the Business Engagement Programme has had on so many of our local businesses, to ensure that they can continue to grow and thrive in what can often be a difficult economic climate,” commented Councillor Paul Greenfield, Chair of Economic Development and Regeneration Committee.

“Council is committed to supporting our local businesses and this ground breaking programme ensures practical support where it is most needed. I was delighted to meet with Ricardo at NI Climbing Frames and to see first-hand how this programme has benefited the growth of his business and opened up a whole new range of opportunities for the future.”

Ricardo Manso, Managing Director of NI Climbing Frames said, “The Business Engagement Programme was brilliant as it allowed us to get expert advice on issues relevant to NI Climbing Frames. Time was set aside to look at a variety of matters including things that were working well for us and things that could be improved. Then, with the help of the programme, we were given some brilliant advice and goals to work towards. We have now increased our production, sales and hired more staff and much of this is due to the programme.”

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

To be eligible for assistance from this programme, your business must be located in the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council area, employ less than 50 people, be actively trading and not currently receiving similar support from elsewhere.

For more information, please contact Noelle Garvey on 028 3831 2551 or email