ENTERPRISE Minister Arlene Foster announced on Wednesday a new initiative by Invest Northern Ireland to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) access funding.
The Finance Voucher initiative will provide support to businesses to access professional help to prepare funding proposals.
Speaking about the initiative Arlene Foster said: “Having a robust, well constructed and detailed funding proposal is vital when approaching lenders; be that banks, private investors or fund managers.
“The Finance Voucher initiative will help SMEs ensure they have the right support to develop good funding proposals, giving them the best chance possible to be successful in their application.
“Businesses will be able to use the voucher to cover up to 49% of costs incurred by using a professional to help them develop their funding proposal.
“Accessing finance remains a challenge for many small businesses, so I am especially pleased that Invest Northern Ireland is proactively addressing this by introducing yet more ways to help businesses raise the capital they need to develop and grow.
“This help also includes a suite of equity and debts funds created to ensure businesses are not held back because they are unable to access finance – part of Invest NI’s Access to Finance initiative.
“In addition to the Finance Voucher, Invest NI is also running Raising Finance workshops across Northern Ireland over the next few months. I would encourage any business looking for funding to attend one of these workshops.”
To be eligible for a Finance Voucher businesses must demonstrate they are exporting, or planning to export, or alternatively have a turnover of £150,000 per annum, or will achieve this level within the next three years.
The first round of applications for the Finance Voucher will close on 30 April 2013. Full details on the eligibility criteria and an application form can be found at http://www.boostingbusinessni.com/jobs/access-to-finance/
Details on the Raising Finance workshops can be found at http://www.boostingbusinessni.com/events/