New business camps pitch up in Banbridge

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Three innovative workshops based on a successful US programme designed to support young entrepreneurs start their own business took place in Banbridge last Thursday (November 20).

A host of aspiring businessmen and women attended the ‘Ideation Camps’ where they received expert advice from industry specialists on how best to become their own boss.

Organised by Craigavon Borough Council, the workshops were part of a series of 15 ‘Ideation Camps’ taking place throughout Craigavon, Bangor, Armagh, Newry, Lisburn, Downpatrick and Banbridge during what is Global Enterprise Week.

The events are part of the ‘Bright Idea’ youth entrepreneurship programme, created by local councils in the South East region of Northern Ireland to help 18 to 29-year-olds get their business ideas off the ground.

“The workshops are being delivered by Brilliant Red, a business management consultancy firm which has extensive experience in helping SMEs from a range of sectors reach their full potential.

Councillor Mark Baxter, Chair of Development Committee, Craigavon Borough Council, commented: “The Ideation Camps are the perfect opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs to engage with industry experts and get advice on how best to take their business idea and turn it into a fully operational business. In fact, some of those in attendance didn’t have a business idea when they arrived but were able to use the workshop as inspiration to develop one. It was great to see such a dynamic group of young people determined to forge a successful business career.

“The Bright Idea programme seeks to replicate the success of a similar initiative in the US which equips young people with the knowledge and support required to make their dream of becoming their own boss a reality.

“It offers a free support package worth over £3,000 which includes a free website, accounts advice, a marketing plan, sales strategy, export mentoring and an investors’ bootcamp.”

The Bright Idea project is part-funded by Invest NI and the European Regional Development Fund under the Sustainable Competitiveness Programme.

“It was launched in June 2013 and will involve a series of business events and workshops between now and the end of June 2015.

Paul Reavey from Brilliant Red said: “The programme encourages innovation and entrepreneurship while motivating potential business owners to get their business off the ground and make a positive impact on the local economy by becoming business owners. We have a team of expert mentors on hand to expand people’s ideas and help them realise their market potential.”