A new business support programme aimed at helping Larne companies to plug into the supply chain opportunities in the energy sector has been launched.
The Supply Chain programme has identified renewable, oil and gas energy sectors as very significant economic growth areas in Northern Ireland and this programme aims to make that pay off for local SMEs and community organisations.
The programme provides practical support for SMEs to help identify and win contracts with energy companies. Any business located in Larne is eligible to apply, and interest in the programme is already very high.
This project is part funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland.
Moira Loughran, Invest NI’s North Eastern Regional Manager, encouraged new and existing businesses to take advantage of the programme.
She said: “Northern Ireland is currently seeing a very significant investment in the renewable and sustainable energy sector from international as well as local companies.
“This includes offshore and onshore wind, marine energy, biomass, oil and underground gas storage.
“The scale of the opportunity is very significant and Invest NI, along with the councils in the North East area, want to make sure that our indigenous businesses, from across all sectors and of all sizes, have a chance to benefit from this investment.
“That is what this programme is about and I hope as many companies as possible will get involved.”
Companies and organisations taking part in the programme will receive tailored support they may need in order to avail of opportunities to supply into the energy sector.
This will include help to understand the size and type of opportunities available but could also include marketing or technical support, or even advice on Research and Development.
Two further key features of the programme are ‘Meet the Buyer’ events and best practice visits.
Larne Mayor Cllr Maureen Morrow encouraged local businesses to get involved.
She said: “We offer a range of business support programmes under the NEED banner and I think this is one of the most exciting and relevant to date.
“We all acknowledge the potential of renewable energy to be a driver of economic growth.
“As local councils we want to support our local business community in plugging into that network. This supply chain programme an be a real boost to the local economy.”
The programme is delivered on behalf of the councils by leading environmental consultancy Ricardo AEA with on the ground support from Action Renewables, leading experts in renewable energy, communications specialists MW Advocate and Abbey projects.
For more information on the programme go to www.energynortheast.org