CIDO is celebrating a significant milestone after helping its 200th new business start-up to compile a Go For It Programme business plan in association with Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council. The Go For It programme, part funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth & Jobs Northern Ireland (2014-2020) .provides advice and support to anyone wishing to start their own business, by taking them through the process of creating a business plan. Jonathan Harty of Foraging at Harty Culture is one of the local businesses to have completed the Programme with CIDO after recognising an increase in demand for foraging and nature walks across Northern Ireland.
Celebrating the success of CIDO in the borough, Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Councillor Mealla Campbell, said: “the Council’s Go For It Programme is proving to be a tremendous success and CIDO are a major driver in this success, CIDO has guided 200 local entrepreneurs like Jonathan from Foraging at Harty Culture through the business start-up process and helped transform their fledgling idea into a real business. They offer expert mentoring on the real challenges facing local start-ups including financial and business planning, building a sustainable business model and accessing funding. New business start-ups such as Foraging at Harty Culture is a focus for the Council as they play a key role in our local economy, so I would encourage anyone who has an idea for a business to get in touch and seek the support that the Go For It Programme provides.”
CIDO was established as a limited company in 1985 aimed at fostering entrepreneurship and innovation by assisting the formation of new businesses and the development of existing businesses via a range of support services including training, guidance, advocacy and premises. Cara Dallat, Chief Executive of CIDO said; “We’re really proud to have supported over 200 individuals who have seized the opportunity and brought their idea to the Go For It programme. There are lots of great ideas out there and we are extremely impressed with the calibre of new start-ups coming through the Go For It programme. We work with each individual to offer expert advice in developing a business plan, covering everything from accounts to marketing and long-term business growth. Many candidates find that having a tried and tested business plan not only gives them confidence to go forward, but is also the final push they need to finally launch their business.”
Foraging at Harty Culture specialises in a range of foraging and nature tours that provide tourists and locals with an introduction to edible plants, fungi and other wild foods in the fields and woodlands across Northern Ireland. Jonathan Harty launched the business after spotting a gap in the local market for foraging tours that would teach people the ancient skill of identifying and harvesting wild greens, edible leaves, herbs and mushrooms from the woods, meadows and hedgerows of Northern Ireland’s beautiful countryside. Jonathan said: “I have always had a keen interest in nature and for the past 10 years I worked with primary schools teaching children how to grow fresh fruit and vegetables. This is where I developed my passion for demonstrating how nature works. I really wanted to develop a business that would allow me to take people on immersive experiences of our beautiful, nature-rich landscape and teach them that everything has its place and purpose – be it edible, medicinal, practical or poisonous.”
After deciding to launch a foraging business, Jonathan contacted the Go For It Programme to seek expert advice and help with developing a robust business plan to help turn his passion for nature into a business.“The Go For it Programme helped me turn my passion for Northern Ireland’s natural surroundings into a fully-fledged business. The support and guidance it offered helped me fine tune my idea for a business into a working reality. “My business adviser at CIDO helped me work out a business plan and undertake a detailed analysis of key components such as financial forecasts, sales and marketing, and practical components such as insurance and health and safety procedures. This support was invaluable and I would urge anyone who has an idea for starting their own business to contact the Go For It Programme” added Jonathan.
If you have a business idea you’d like to develop or if you are thinking about starting a business contact CIDO on 028 3839 6520 or email firstname.lastname@example.org