Ballymena will benefit from a £1m financial injection aimed at promoting opportunities and supporting business growth in the town.
A joint announcement of the significant investment was made by representatives of Ballymena Business Centre and Bank of Ireland UK who are partners in the new project.
The cash will allow the purchase of prime retail premises in the Church Street area of the town for the provision of an 8,000 sq ft ‘Enterprise Hub’ which will host a business advice centre; retail pods for the creative sector; enterprise exhibition space; conference facilities; office accommodation and an ‘Enterprise Lounge’ sponsored by Bank of Ireland UK.
Ald. PJ McAvoy, Chairman, Ballymena Business Centre, said: “We are marking our 25th Anniversary with a long term financial commitment to the regeneration of Ballymena Town Centre and I would particularly like to thank Bank of Ireland for partnering with us as they designate Ballymena as ‘Enterprise Town’.
“This project serves as a testament as to how Ballymena Business Centre, as a social enterprise, and through its own investment can significantly contribute to the regeneration of the local area and like so many third sector organisations play a vital role in the growth of the Northern Ireland economy.”
Sean Sheehan, Regional Manager, said Bank of Ireland UK was proud to support Ballymena town.
“Today you are investing for the future of the borough – investing in the potential of its people to be enterprising. We’ve committed to a five year sponsorship of the Enterprise Lounge in your new town-centre business hub which is free to use for all businesses and business support organisations. Over the next five years the business hub will be the focus of our Enterprise Week and other business support initiatives.
“We will run business clinics and seminars in the hub to ensure that local businesses – both established and starting-up – can get access to expert advice and guidance on financing and we will formally launch a schools competition in September this year for all local post primary schools and colleges. Investing in young people, enabling enterprise and promoting Ballymena are the key themes behind our designation of the borough as an Enterprise Town and we look forward to working in partnership with you to support and encourage business growth through this pioneering initiative.”
The Bank’s local Branch Manager Jan Young remarked: “I am confident local businesses will embrace our plans to make Ballymena an even better place to do business.”
Mayor of Ballymena Cllr Audrey Wales said: “Ballymena is a great place for business excellence and home of some great globally recognised organisations. My vision for Ballymena is of a thriving economy in which all businesses can look forward with optimism and excitement. I wish all businesses continued success.”