Michelin develops agency network to help small business growth

Business Development Manager at Michelin Development, Cecil Caldwell. (Submitted Picture)
Business Development Manager at Michelin Development, Cecil Caldwell. (Submitted Picture)

Michelin has joined forces with four development agencies across two local boroughs to help create jobs by boosting small business growth.

The move is in addition to Michelin’s long-established working relationship with Ballymena Business Centre.

Michelin Development, the manufacturer’s small business funding and support service, has enlisted four development agencies across Mid & East Antrim and Antrim & Newtownabbey to help find small and start-up businesses which could benefit and grow through the provision of business advice and unsecured, base-rate loans.

The agencies – LEDCOM in Larne, Antrim Enterprise Agency, Carrickfergus Enterprise and Mallusk Enterprise Park – are calling for budding entrepreneurs to submit their plans for growth, with a view to applying for Michelin Development support.

Cecil Caldwell, business development manager at Michelin Development, said: “We are aware of the impact that the closure of the Ballymena factory will have as it scales down over the next two years and we will be doing all we can to secure a bright future for our employees and the region as a whole. One of the best ways we can do this is by helping to create hundreds more jobs by working closely with the eyes and ears of the business community. That is why we are pleased to be working with these four agencies. We have ploughed close to £1.5 million into small businesses in the areas around our Ballymena factory since the programme started in 2004. That has helped create over 450 vital jobs – but we want to go much further. We have strengthened links with these agencies so that the message is loud and clear: ‘We are determined to help small businesses grow, not just in Ballymena itself, but in the surrounding areas.’

Ken Nelson at LEDCOM added: “Often the biggest obstacle for small businesses trying to get off the ground, or to grow, is funding.

“The support on offer from Michelin Development will be key in helping many of these businesses to access what they need in order to achieve their goals.”