Jobs boost for Willowbank

(From left) LEDCOM chairman, Henry Fletcher, Larne mayor Councillor Martin Wilson and LEDCOM chief executive Ken Nelson at the launch of the Larne Business Innovation and Incubation Programme, which aims to create 25 new jobs for start-up companies at Willowbank Business Park. INLT 10-652-CON

(From left) LEDCOM chairman, Henry Fletcher, Larne mayor Councillor Martin Wilson and LEDCOM chief executive Ken Nelson at the launch of the Larne Business Innovation and Incubation Programme, which aims to create 25 new jobs for start-up companies at Willowbank Business Park. INLT 10-652-CON

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LEDCOM has launched a new development programme and hi-tech innovation suite aimed at creating 25 new jobs at Willowbank Business Park.

The Larne Business Innovation and Incubation Programme (LBIIP) is supported by Larne Borough Council and has been officially launched by mayor Councillor Martin Wilson.

Councillor Wilson said: “As Larne Borough Council comes to an end as a local authority, it is highly appropriate that one of my concluding events on behalf of the council was to announce a project which has the potential to bring economic benefits to Larne for years to come. It is even more fitting that it is in relation to a project which is a partnership between the council and LEDCOM.”

“The LBIIP represents the fulfilment of an agreed strategic action under Larne Borough Council’s 2011 to economic development action plan to encourage innovation through business incubation. Under the council’s economic development budget, it agreed £100,000 capital budget support towards the project with matched funding provided by LEDCOM. LEDCOM is providing all the ongoing programme support to LBIIP participants.”

Access to the innovation suite is a key part of the LBIIP which is open for applications from eligible start ups and existing small businesses which meet the programme criteria.

LEDCOM chief executive officer Ken Nelson said that enterprises selected for the LBIIP and locating in the innovation suite, would be provided with a wide range of tailored business support from dedicated and experienced LEDCOM staff.

He said: “This is an exciting opportunity for knowledge-based, export orientated start-up companies to get bespoke incubation support, move into state-of-the-art facilities and receive top class business advice and mentoring in areas such as marketing, recruitment and IT skills.

“Our Willowbank Business Park site already houses a number of innovative and forward-looking companies such as Stealth Translations which are using the latest technology to explore new markets. New companies which seize this opportunity will be working in an environment where entrepreneurship and fresh thinking thrives.”

Mr Nelson said the extensive reconstruction of the two lane highway between Larne and Belfast means that companies have the advantage of being close to a major port and within easy reach of Belfast city centre.