InvestNI approve €1.6m funding for Brexit preparation grants

Agency says 50 companies approved for Brexit preparation grants and 1,500 companies have attended special Brexit workshops

The North’s regional business development agency, Invest NI, has confirmed it has “approved” £1.5 million (€1.6 million) worth of Brexit preparation grants to nearly 50 companies in Northern Ireland

The North’s regional business development agency, Invest NI, has confirmed it has “approved” £1.5 million (€1.6 million) worth of Brexit preparation grants to nearly 50 companies in Northern Ireland

 

The North’s regional business development agency, Invest NI, has confirmed it has “approved” £1.5 million (€1.6 million) worth of Brexit preparation grants to nearly 50 companies in Northern Ireland.

Invest NI launched a “Get Ready for Brexit Campaign” back in February aimed at encouraging Northern Ireland firms to “build resilience into their operations”.

The agency said that immediately following the UK referendum result in 2016 it had enhanced its “export support and increased its international presence by opening 10 new offices to support its exporters”.

But in February in the run up to the UK’s original EU departure date on March 29, the agency’s chief executive, Alastair Hamilton, who will step down from the job this Autumn, said Invest NI had become “increasingly concerned” that many businesses in the North had “not adequately considered the potential challenges particularly if there is a no deal Brexit”.

In response to this it launched an “extensive” campaign to get Northern Ireland businesses to think about and address the key issues surrounding Brexit which included financial support in the shape of Brexit preparation grants, up to a maximum of £50,000 and a dedicated website which provided a one stop shop for information and advice.

According to an Invest NI spokeswoman in addition to the nearly 50 companies who have been approved for Brexit preparation grants, 1,500 firms in the North have, to date, also attended the agency’s special Brexit workshops while a further 1,300 organisations have completed Invest NI’s Get Ready for Brexit Assessment tool.

The Invest NI spokeswoman said nearly 500 companies in Northern Ireland have also received one-to-one specialist advice on Brexit.

Just a few weeks ago the chief executive of one of the North’s largest business bodies said that businesses in Northern Ireland have been trying their “best” to prepare for an “unclear future”.

Ann McGregor from the NI Chamber of Commerce said the lack of clarity has taken a toll on “investment decisions and business confidence” among Northern Ireland businesses.