The Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) 2015-2017 is funded by the Irish Government and co-funded by the European Social Fund and includes a special allocation under the Youth Employment Initiative
Excellent supports are available through a number of different organisations for businesses in South Kerry. This was the message from a number of speakers to the large attendance at the South Kerry Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA) networking event in Killarney last week.
CEO of South Kerry Development Partnership Ltd. Noel Spillane highlighted the importance of businesses maintaining contact with the SKDP Enterprise Officers in order to ensure they have full details of the supports available to them. “In addition to the supports offered under the BTWEA programme, the new RDP Leader programme will be inviting expressions of interest later in the year and LEADER will provide grant assistance for eligible businesses to expand further and details will soon be available on the SKDP website” Noel said.
Maurice Lawlor of the Department of Social Protection re-iterated the point that extensive supports are available to businesses but he highlighted the need for people to have a sustainable business idea in order to be able to avail of such supports so the business can survive beyond the support the scheme gives. “It is a big step to take starting your own business and you should be congratulated and encouraged for taking it” Maurice said. Maurice outlined the range of supports that the Dept. of Social Protection can provide to those businesses established through the BTWEA and to employers who recruit those who are long term unemployed.
Aoife O’Reilly of South Kerry Skillnets highlighted the range of training supports that are available to businesses and the advantages of undertaking such training. “This subsidised training can help provide both you and your staff with key skills to enable your business grow and expand into the future and such training can be arranged to suit your specific needs” she said.
Heidi Grimwood of TOA Digital Marketing reminded those present that it in general takes seven contacts with a potential customer before you actually make a sale therefore it is very important that you use as many channels as possible to get your message in front of your potential customers. “Identifying your potential customers properly is also very important as this will enable you target your message more effectively to them” Heidi added. Getting the right message to the right audience will bring the right results she said, adding that joining business networks also opens up new business opportunities.
Helen Courtney Power from Killarney Credit Union pointed out that the credit union is a potential alternative to the main stream banks in terms of providing funding to businesses. “We base our decisions on your ability to pay rather than the level of shares you have in your account but we will be seeking a business plan etc. in line with what you would be expected to provide to any other potential funder or for a grant application” she said.
Following the formal presentations, those present were encouraged by Noel Spillane to network with the other attendees over tea and coffee as he said it was likely many of those present were dealing with similar issues and facing similar challenges that they could potentially assist each other in resolving. It might also open up new business opportunities Noel concluded.