A NEW phase of the Meanwhile in Craigavon initiative, working with Chambers of Commerce and Groundwork NI, has been launched by Craigavon Borough Council.
Ten new businesses in Lurgan and Portadown are being offered rental free use of a town centre property, professional mentoring support and a grant of £500 to kick start operations.
Five businesses in each town will get support from the Meanwhile scheme, delivered by Groundwork NI and Insight Business Consulting, for Craigavon Borough Council.
Potential landlords and tenants are currently being recruited for the scheme and interest is likely to be high.
Free tenancy will be offered to successful applicants for up to four months to boost economic activity along with a full year of business mentoring support, to ensure pitfalls or challenges to new businesses can either be reduced or eliminated entirely.
Public meetings have been held in both Lurgan and Portadown where prospective applicants heard first hand how steps are being taken to help their businesses grow.
Both meetings were held on Thursday, December 13, with the Portadown leg taking place in the Town Hall while Lurgan’s Town Hall was the other venue.
Anyone with a business or project idea can apply, explains Groundwork NI Director Sylvia Gordon, who said; “Around 20 per cent of shop premises in Craigavon are currently vacant, but we know there are budding businesses out there in need of a helping hand.
“Also, surprisingly, some local businesses are actually in the position where they are ready to grow! Our town centres are facing huge pressure and until broader economic recovery embeds, the Meanwhile programme can make a very positive difference.
“We want to help any type of business – a start-up, a social economy project, a community initiative or even an existing business keen to expand.
“A range of currently unused units of all sizes have been identified and we want to get these filled quickly, as we know it will boost job opportunities in the area and bring footfall to our town centres.”
Councillor Darren Causby from Craigavon Borough Council, said: “Our council is always pursuing innovative ideas to boost economic development.
“The Meanwhile scheme offers a great opportunity to those we know can pull us out of the current economic crisis – those in our community committed to creating local jobs and wealth.”
If you think you have a business idea or a project which fits the bill, you can find out more or apply to the Meanwhile in Craigavon programme by contacting Richard Rogers at Groundwork NI by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 028 9074 9494.