Ballymena’s local economy is to get an injection of £300,000 over the next 3 years as Ballymena Business Centre, with the support of a £183k award from The Gallaher Trust, is set to host a series of initiatives in a bid to champion the growth of local start-up companies in the area.
As a result of the funding from The Gallaher Trust, Ballymena Business Centre’s first initiative takes the form of ‘Global Entrepreneurship Week Ballymena 2018’ which will run from Monday 12th until Saturday 17th November 2018.
A week-long exhibition based in Fairhill Shopping Centre during Global Entrepreneurship Week will showcase inspiring business start-ups and business support organisations offering advice and guidance in a bid to open the field of opportunities and turn perspective business ideas into successful companies.
Melanie Christie Boyle, Chief Executive of Ballymena Business Centre commented, “We are very thankful to The Gallaher Trust for their investment and support, the company has made a significant contribution to the wider Ballymena economy and I am thrilled that the Ballymena Business Centre is a part of it.
“This investment, alongside our series of planned events, will go a long way in encouraging further growth in the community, empowering the public and providing a platform to put their business ideas into action, kickstarting with Global Entrepreneurship Week.”
Themed enterprise days throughout the week include, young starts, women in business, digital and creative businesses, social enterprises and new opportunities, concluding with a start-up roadshow which offers future business owners access to support organisations who are dedicated to assisting the growth of the local business community.
The Gallaher Trust was set up following the closure of JTI, a tobacco company that played a major role in providing highly skilled and well paid jobs to the people of Ballymena for over 75 years. In response to the closure, JTI donated a £5M legacy to help support the local community.
Pat McCallion, a Trustee of The Gallaher Trust commented, “This series of Initiatives put forward by the Ballymena Business Centre is exactly why The Gallaher Trust was set up, to support job creation in the local area. We are delighted to be involved in these exciting initiatives over the next 3 years.”
In addition to Global Entrepreneurship week in Ballymena, the funding also provides the Ballymena Business Centre with the capacity to set up a start-up seed fund, a retail incubation space, entrepreneurs’ club, as well as welcoming an Enterprise Manager, who will be recruited to implement projects and promote entrepreneurship in Ballymena, leading to job creation for the area.
Melanie continues, “Ballymena’s Entrepreneurship Week is only the beginning, we enter 2019 with a plan to further develop enterprise in Ballymena and I look forward to seeing the results of our efforts thanks to the Gallaher Trust.”