Council’s STAR 2 Programme will help Businesses to Shine

Posted by Jim on January 27, 2016  /   Posted in Blog

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council have announced the launch of STAR 2, a programme supporting the growth of small businesses in the Antrim and Newtownabbey council area.
The programme, aimed at the service, retail and tourism sectors, offers a package of support to help small businesses grow their customer base and increase their profitability.
The Mayor, Councillor Thomas Hogg explains ‘Small business is the life blood of the economy and this programme is an important part of our commitment to help and support our local entrepreneurs’.
The STAR 2 programme is the second phase of the successful STAR programme run in the Newtownabbey area in 2014. Max McConnell from the 5 Corners Guest Inn, Ballyclare was a participant in the first programme, said, ‘Our business really benefited from our involvement in the programme, not just from the training and advice we received but also from the opportunity to network with other small businesses in the area.’
Seonaid Rooney, the Council’s Economic Development Officer outlined the support available in the STAR 2 programme. ‘A key element of the programme is to offer participants advice and support tailored to their individual business need. This will take the form of a financial health check for each business, an individual business improvement plan, one to one mentoring from business specialists and a series of workshops designed to improve their competitive edge in dealing with existing customers and finding new customers.”
Excellence in customer service is at the heart of Star 2 Programme and each business will visited by a mystery shopper at the start and end of the programme. This will highlight any shortcomings in customer service and the experienced team of mentors will work closely with the business to improve this key area.
The programme, funded by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, starts in late November and will run until the end of March 2016.
An information session is being held on Thursday 26th November, at 4pm in the Belfast Harley Davidson Showroom behind Antrim’s Junction One Complex. To book a place at the information event go to , email us at or call Heather on 07702500715.
Contact Jane Adrain on 07715758832 or email .

The STAR 1 programme was run in the Newtownabbey area in 2014. The STAR 2 programme will cover Antrim and Newtownabbey.
Who can apply?
Businesses with under 250 employees who are trading in the Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council area and are in the Retail, Hospitality, Tourism or Professional Services sector
What does the STAR 2 programme offer?
• Up to 6 half day Business advice sessions with an experienced business specialist.
• 3 business skills development workshops/masterclasses to help you grow your business
• A business audit to identify opportunities for your business
• A 2-hour financial health check from a qualified Accountant.
• 2 mystery shopping audits, one at the start and one at the end of the project.
• An individual Business Improvement Plan mapping out what action you need to take
How will STAR 2 help businesses?
The programme of support and training is designed to help businesses become more competitive, attract new customers, develop new markets, cross-sell to their existing customer base, improve financial management, generate increased sales and turnover.

What areas of specialist advice are available?

About Jim

James is a director with JCR Network Services Ltd, which provides sales, marketing and business development expertise to local SMEs in Ireland and the UK. Many businesses have developed their growth strategies through our focussed actions. We specialise in helping the agri-food , emerging technology, manufacturing and services sectors.

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