New programme ‘Aspires’ to boost local business

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A NEW programme designed to boost the local economy has been welcomed by chairman of Banbridge District Council, Councillor Junior McCrum.

Underlining the importance of the ‘Aspire’ programme to the district, Mr McCrum encouraged local businesses to investigate its benefits through an innovative financial and mentoring support package.

Funded by the European Union’s INTERREG IVA Cross Border Programme, the Aspire Programme offers mico-businesses across the East Border region a chance to maintain competitive and grow in the current challenging economic climate.

“The Aspire Programme will provide a welcome boost to the economy of the district and the greater East Border Region and will not only provide practical business support to companies employing fewer than 10 people, but will also offer graduates the opportunity to gain experience and improve their employment prospects,” said Mr McCrum. “I would urge local companies to find out how the Aspire Programme could boost business for them.”

The programme will work with 45 companies, providing them with a financial and mentoring support package to allow them to employ a graduate for a specific business improvement project.

All 45 graduate positions will be advertised throughthe Aspire Programme in the coming months and will be full-time positions.

Chairman of East Border Region, Councillor Gerald Mallon, also welcomed the Aspire Programme and said the region as a whole was “delighted” to be 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 Mr Mallon.

The Aspire Programme will be formally launched today (Tuesday, 29 January) at Banbridge Enterprise Centre at five o’clock and local business people are invited to attend to find out more.

Further information sessions will be held on Wednesday, 6 February, at the Signal Centre, Bangor, and on Wednesday, 13 February, at the Fairways Hotel, Dundalk.

For further information on the programme or to register to attend one of the information sessions, contact Sharon Daly, Aspire Programme Co-ordinator, Banbridge District Council, telephone 028 4066 0600,