Local people looking to set up their own business will have to wait until well into 2012 for the city’s Invest NI Go For It programme to be reinstated after a court case decides it’s future.
As it stands, the programme is currently suspended due to a legal challenge following a tender process. The trial for the legal challenge is expected to go to court in February. Therefore those in the city looking to take part in the hugely successful Go For It programme, which has helped catapult many small and medium businesses and entrepreneurs in the northwest to success, will have to wait until the dispute is settled in court to start a business.
In the interim Invest Northern Ireland will simply reply to enquiries and allow potential entrepreneurs access to advice and guidance.
“The previous contract for the delivery of Invest NI’s Enterprise Development Programme expired on 30th September 2011,” said a spokesperson.
“The decision to award the new Business Start Programme was announced on 6th September 2011, following a tender process. However the award of the contract is currently subject to a legal challenge which is expected to go to trial in February 2012. Therefore, Invest NI cannot operate a fully functional business start programme until either Enterprise NI withdraws its legal action, or the legal process is completed.
“In the interim, Invest NI has put in place appropriate arrangements to respond to enquiries and to ensure that those individuals with an interest in establishing their own business are able to access relevant advice and guidance during the period of delay. Invest NI will also continue to promote entrepreneurship through its established Go For It brand.”
Last week the SDLP’s Colum Eastwood revealed that the latest figures from Invest NI testify to the fact that the overwhelming majority of jobs promoted by the body in 2010/11 financial year have been below the Northern Ireland Private Sector Median Wage. These figures come only a couple weeks after Mr Eastwood revealed that only £2.58 million of financial assistance was offered to Derry businesses in the same financial period, amounting to just 2.4% of Invest NI’s total spend in the North.