Local businesswoman and star of BBC show The Apprentice, Grainne McCoy, has hailed the support she received from local business support programmes, provided by Newry, Mourne and Down District Council.
Even with a wealth of international business experience, Grainne recognised the importance of taking a step back, reviewing her plans and simply asking for help when it comes to business. She signed up to the NMD Business Growth Programme which provided her with a dedicated mentor. The programme helped Grainne get her new business venture off the ground and in September she opened her new shop, Give Us Beauty, on Monaghan Street in Newry.
The NMD Business Growth programme is part funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth & Jobs Northern Ireland (2014 -2020) programme.
Speaking from her new store in Newry, Grainne said:
“When I started out, I had a million ideas of what I wanted to do with my business knocking around my head. The problem was I couldn’t see the wood from the trees and struggled to make a plan to turn those ideas into a reality.
“I did ask myself ‘What would I need a mentor for?’ But when I did take the step of joining the programme I found that having someone to bounce ideas off, keep me focused and offer expert professional advice was invaluable. My mentor was fantastic, he helped me develop a clear strategy to take my business to the next level and made sure I was accountable.
“With the programme support, I developed a robust plan and a new, thriving online shop, which allowed me to then take my business to the next stage. I couldn’t have done that without the support of my mentor and now here I am, standing in my own store, with ambitious plans for next year too.
“Programmes like those provided by the Council give you access to experts with local knowledge and advice that is relevant to your business and market. I would urge anyone who is eligible to apply and see what their team of experts might be able to do for you. You never know, it could transform your business!”
Councillor Laura Devlin, Chair of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council outlined their commitment to supporting local businesses:
“Supporting our local business community is more important now than ever. Between the impacts of the pandemic and the ongoing uncertainties around Brexit, businesses are facing more obstacles and pressures every day. It is crucial that they are able to overcome these challenges and adapt where necessary to grow.
“By sharing our resources and expertise, we are committed to providing these essential support programmes for businesses in our area. We hope they will not only help sustain more businesses and protect jobs, but will help them thrive in the months ahead. I was delighted to meet Grainne in her fabulous new store and to hear firsthand her support for this very important scheme. To have someone of Grainne’s calibre and experience speak out in support of the programme is testament to the quality of the mentorship.”
The NMD Business Growth and Tender for Growth programmes involve tailored one-to-one mentoring and targeted online workshops. Support is open to any small business located in the Newry, Down and Down District Council area with less than 50 employees and registration is free.
Businesses can register for business support via the programme by visiting the website https://nmdbusiness.org/growing-your-business/