Small Grants helpingrural micro businesses

Enterprises in Ballymena are among 12 small businesses across Mid and East Antrim which have benefited from a pilot rural small grants scheme.

Steven McLeister, an artist from Portglenone, used his funding for a laptop to assist with the expansion of his arts business, Precisely Painted.

Capital grants up to a maximum of 50% grant rate were made available to existing micro enterprises based in rural areas across the borough through DAERA’s Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation (TRPSI) Programme.

The scheme supported businesses with fewer than 10 full-time equivalent employees to develop and grow their enterprises and for most applications the primary objective was to create new jobs.

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A diverse range of businesses have been awarded grants totalling £38,600 ranging from £600 to £4999.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Peter Johnston, said: “With almost two thousand rural businesses across the Borough, we have a significant rural community to protect and develop. This funding has been extremely welcome to help maintain and develop livelihoods that not only prop up our economy, but make up our fantastic communities here in Mid and East Antrim.”

Ryan Patterson from R Patterson Contracts, Broughshane, was supported to purchase a Tiltrotator for his excavator and Steven McLeister, an artist from Portglenone, used his funding for a laptop to assist with the expansion of his arts business, Precisely Painted.

Ronan O’Dornan from Stillpoint Imageworks in Ballymena used the grant support to increase productivity with the provision of additional camera and lenses for his business.

Katherine Millar from Pro Form Nutrition, Ballymena, purchased a bottle labelling machine for her manufacturing business. Katherine, said: “At Pro-Form Nutrition we manufacture powdered Sports Supplements for the health and fitness industry.

“With the help of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council we were able to avail of a Small Business Grant which helped us purchase an automatic labelling machine.

“The new labelling machine makes our production line more efficient allowing us to manufacture more units daily.”

The scheme has proved very popular across Northern Ireland with many positive outcomes for the rural micro business sector.

DAERA has just announced the good news that a second tranche of the scheme is being developed and will be rolled out over the coming months. To register your interest for the upcoming scheme email [email protected]