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31 May 2016

Small Business Matters May 2016

Welcome to the May edition of Small Business Matters, your Regional Newsletter. 

We hope you find this newsletter both interesting and informative, and encourage you to share details of activities and events that might be of interest to other members.

You can contact the Northern Ireland Development Manager, Mairaid McMahon, via email to or on 07917 628 994, or our Regional Office Administrator, Fiona Quinn, via email to or on 028 8676 9023. Don’t forget you can also keep up to date by following us on twitter @FSBNIRegion.
John Friel
FSB Northern Ireland Regional Chair

If you would like to view a PDF version of this newsletter, please click here to read it.

Dates for your diary – FSB Events

FSB South East Branch Event
Rural Development Programme Information Evening 

Date: Thursday 16 June 
Time: 6.30pm – 8.20pm 
Venue: F.E. McWilliam Gallery, Quails Restaurant , 200 Newry Road, Banbridge, BT32 3NB

Speaker: Tony Morgan, SOAR Rural Development Officer for Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council

Cost: Free to attend

Topic: The Rural Business Investment Scheme

The Rural Business Investment Scheme’s primary aim is to develop the local rural economy by creating employment opportunities and promoting entrepreneurship amongst private business and social enterprise sectors.  Support is available for farmers to diversify into non-agricultural activities, individuals with a new business idea and for existing micro and small businesses to develop and expand. Come along to find out more – contact to register your place. 

FSB Belfast South Branch Networking Event
Wine Tasting and Mexican Food Night 

Date: Thursday 30 June
Time: 7.00pm
Venue: Ballyholme Yacht Club, Seacliff Road, Bangor, BT20 5HT

Speaker: Ken Sharp from The Salty Dog – introducing World Wines

Cost: £10 each.

Belfast South Branch would like to invite Members and Non-members along to what promises to be an enjoyable evening of Wine Tasting with Mexican food. Bring your colleagues and partners along to meet Branch Committee members and learn about forthcoming events and activities in the area to support you and your business.

Pension Auto-Enrolment – Do you need to know more?

Do you need some help to navigate the complexities of auto-enrolment, and to understand the implications for your business? FSB Workplace Pensions are planning to hold an information event for Members who would like some advice on how to ensure compliance with the law. If you would be interested in attending, please contact Fiona in our Cookstown Office on 028 8676 9023 or

Bank Branch Closures – have you been affected?

Right across the FSB, we’ve been hearing from Members who are struggling to cope with the closure of bank branches in their areas. If you have been affected by this issue, we would really like to hear about the impact this has had on your business, to help inform our lobbying efforts to protect services in the future. Please contact Carolyn in our Belfast Office on 028 9023 6035 or

Attention Mid Ulster Businesses!

Mid Ulster District Council is inviting businesses located in their area to take advantage of the opportunity to get their business listed in their new, free Online Mid Ulster Business Directory.

The Directory will be used as a marketing tool to promote Mid Ulster’s business offering and, when ready, will be available online, with a download option. Additionally, if businesses give permission on their Form, it will also be used by the Council to keep businesses informed about funding opportunities and events that may be of interest. 

The Council is currently promoting this opportunity to Mid Ulster businesses to register their details – this can be done by completing a short Business Registration Form available either online ( or a hard copy Form which can be mailed out on request, by contacting Deborah Ewing on 03000 132 132 or E: 

Over 1000 businesses have signed up already…don’t miss this opportunity to get your business listed too! 

Gatwick Airport – discussion on expansion

FSB Members are invited to attend a roundtable meeting, chaired by Danny Kinahan MP with Gatwick Airport Chairman Sir Roy McNulty and Graham Keddie, MD of Belfast International Airport, from midday on 14 June at the Europa Hotel, Great Victoria St, Belfast BT2 7AP.

This event will provide an opportunity to hear directly from the Chairman of Gatwick Airport and MD of Belfast International Airport on their shared vision of a network of competing airports throughout the UK and how Gatwick expansion could support that competition.

The lunch will also be a chance to share your opinions on the expansion debate, how you believe expansion would affect your business and address any questions you might have directly to Sir Roy and Graham. For more details, or to confirm your attendance, contact or phone Elle on 020 3047 2371.

Funding and Support

Skills Focus Programme Subsidised Training for Business

South West College can provide bespoke training for staff in your business leading to a recognised qualification.  The Skills Focus Programme, funded by the Department for Employment and Learning has designed to increase the skill level of the existing workforce and covers 75% of the costs of training.

The training can be tailored to your needs, at a time that suits your business and can be delivered either at your premises or at your nearest South West College Campus.
Funding is available to cover accredited training courses at Level 2 and above.  South West College will work with you to design, build and deliver a tailored training plan with provision in a wide range of sectors and areas including:

• Engineering (Welding including coded, Autocad, Solid Works, Lean Manufacturing, Hydraulics)
• Tourism & Hospitality (Supervising Food Safety, Customer Service, Wines and Spirit, Food Hygiene)
• Health & Social Care (Childcare, Social Care)
• Business & IT (Team Leading, Supervisor Training, Coaching and Mentoring, E-marketing, Microsoft)
• Motor Vehicle (Accident Repair, Diagnostics)
• Fitness Instruction

For further information contact Nicola Quinn at InnoTech Centre, South West College:
Tel: 028 8225 5223


Northern Ireland Water Summary of Charges for Non-Domestic Customers 2016/2017

Northern Ireland Water have provided a guide containing a summary of the main charges they apply for non-domestic water and sewerage services. 
If you’re on a water meter

Where a meter is fitted, water and sewerage charges are based on the amount of water you use. Sewerage is normally charged on the assumption that 95% of the water used returns to the sewer. 

Measured charges have two elements:- a standing charge based on the internal diameter of your supply pipe; and a variable charge based on the volume recorded by the meter. We will read the meter at least once per year.

You can apply for a domestic allowance against measured water and sewerage charges if you pay rates.

Measured charges relate to services already provided and are billed at least twice per year with payment due on receipt unless agreed otherwise. 

If you’re not on a water meter

Unmeasured charges for water and sewerage consist of two elements – a standing charge applied to all unmeasured properties; and a variable charge based on the property valuation. The property valuation is the Net Annual Valuation assigned to the premises by Land and Property Services (website).

Where it has not been possible to install a meter, you can request an alternative assessed charge for water and sewerage. The assessed charge has two elements: a standing charge; and a variable charge based on the loading units attributed to the water using appliances on the property.

Full details of the charges and policy changes are published in the Scheme of Charges on the Northern Ireland Water website:

Local Government News

Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council - Lagan Rural Partnership 

The Partnership is soon to open a call for applications under the following schemes – New Micro Business Grant Scheme, Existing Micro Business Grant Scheme & Existing Small Business Grant Scheme.

For more information on the Rural Business Investment Scheme, please click here to download an Expression of Interest form, please click here.

Please note that we can only accept completed Expression of Interest forms from those who have registered for one of the workshops as detailed in the Rural Business Investment Scheme information.

Clinical Translational Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (CTEIP)

CTEIP has been developed to provide consultancy/mentoring support to participants in the Derry City and Strabane District, to a maximum of £10,000 per participant who have early stage, post-research, clinical projects that have commercial potential. You are eligible to apply if you are a prestart entrepreneur or established business within the healthcare sector.

CTEIP was funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under the European Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland.

This programme is now complete, to view case study of programme participants and follow their ongoing success with the programme click here.

CTEIP Project Officer
Tel: (028) 71 253 253, Ext: 6680

ASK Programme

Could your business benefit from the expertise of a specialist adviser?

The ASK programme aims to assist small businesses based in Antrim and Newtownabbey to reach their full potential by accessing the advice, skills and knowledge of a specialist adviser.

The programme offers up to 5 hours of mentoring support with a specialist adviser free of charge, with the option of accessing a further 5 hours by paying a 50% contribution towards the consultancy cost. A selected list of advisers and consultants are available now to provide support which is tailored to the individual needs of your business.

In addition to one to one mentoring, the ASK programme can also signpost your business to a range of support organisations working to assist the small business community, including Invest Northern Ireland, IntertradeIreland, Department for Employment and Learning and many more.

Who Can Apply?

New start-up or existing businesses with a registered business address in the Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council area.

For more information and to apply click here.

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council: Year of Food & Drink 2016

Tourism Northern Ireland has designated 2016 as the ‘Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink’.

It is a celebration of our food heritage and focuses on the delicious foods and beverages produced here.

Tourism Northern Ireland is co-ordinating a programme of themed events during the year as well as focusing on local food and drink produce at other events taking place.

Fermanagh & Omagh District Council is supporting this year-long initiative, providing opportunities for local producers at local events.

Click here to see a list of local events: Year of Food and Drink Events

The next opportunity for local caterers and food producers to promote food and drink is the Mid Summer Carnival to be held in Omagh on Saturday 18 June.  Anyone interested in participating in these events can download an expression of interest here.

Dates for your diary

Area: Northern Ireland wide                       
Date: 8 June 2016
Time: 8.30am to 1.30pm
Venue: Ramada Plaza Hotel, Shaw's Bridge, Belfast
Detail: Meet the Buyer

IntertradeIreland’s “The Meet the Buyer” events, which are FREE to attend, provide SMEs with an overview of the all-island public procurement market and the opportunities available.

• Hear from public sector buyers, their procurement process, what they want from suppliers and upcoming opportunities
• Talk to public sector buyers at the buyer stands
• Hear and learn from other companies sharing their experience
• Find out about the latest procurement news and trends - aggregation of contracts, etc
• Network with other companies to form joint ventures and identify sub-contracting opportunities
• Find out about funding opportunities and supports available from the main development agencies across the island and how they can help your business access all island public sector opportunities
• Parallel session workshops are held throughout the day showcasing the procurement market process as well as trends, tips and techniques to take away.

Area: Northern Ireland wide
Date: Tuesday 14 June 2016
Time: 9:30am-1pm (followed by lunch) 
Venue: Malone House, Belfast 
Detail: Every Customer Counts Seminar

Seminar for the Public Sector

The Equality Commission has developed the "Every Customer Counts" initiative to support Northern Ireland traders seeking to promote accessible services. The Equality Commission is holding an event for public sector service providers to highlight this initiative:

This seminar will:
• Highlight the benefits of adopting the “Every Customer Counts” brand linking it to the equality and statutory legislative requirements for the public sector
• Identify some of the barriers for disabled people when accessing services
• Share information on good practice in the public sector from across these islands and locally
Book a FREE place now.

To attend, please send your name, organisation, telephone and email address to or telephone Michael on 02890 500560.

For further information about the seminar contact Una Wilson on 028 90 500609 or email

Area: Fermanagh and Omagh District Council
Date: 15 June 2016
Time: 9.15am – 12.00pm
Venue: Silver Birch Hotel, Omagh
Detail: Introduction to Tendering Workshop

IntertradeIreland’s “Introduction to Tendering” practical half day workshop is being run in conjunction with Fermanagh and Omagh District Council and is aimed specifically at small business owners/sole traders that have never completed a tender before or want to improve their basic tendering skills.

It aims to demystify the procedures around pitching for, and ultimately winning some of the 'below threshold' (ie. below £30K or €25k) work that Local Authorities and other Government Bodies/Agencies contract out.  The workshop is also suitable for new start-ups that are looking into public procurement as a possible future option, and for those looking to pick up some of the very small contracts.

There are only limited places available so early booking is advised! To book a place email Linda Caldwell at:

Area: Northern Ireland wide                       
Date: 16 June 2016 
Time:  11:00am - 01:30pm
Venue: Stranmillis College, Belfast 

Detail: Essential Business Skills: Marketing Content Creation Masterclass

Marketing plays a fundamental role in helping you promote your business from the point of identifying your customers, creating your product or service and promoting it through the most appropriate channels.  In this masterclass, hosted by Women in Business, the following essential points will be covered to help develop your understanding and equip you with some of the essential the skills needed to succeed in business.

•    What is content marketing?
•    Content marketing goals
•    Types of content
•    Tools for developing content
•    Promoting content
•    Measuring success

Who should attend?

• SME's
• Start up's
• Sole traders
• Organisations with a small (or zero) marketing budget

Book now.  Cost £35 + VAT.

The Female Entrepreneur Programme

Through a generous donation to Women in Business NI they are expecting to launch in September 2016 a Female Entrepreneur Programme/Loan Fund. They will be lobbying the government over the next few months to match fund the monies donated.

They believe strongly that female entrepreneurs should have specific support and as there is none available in NI, WIB will explore the continuation of the delivery of the very successful Power of 4 programme.

Contact us

Telephone: 028 86769023

Regional Office Administrator: Fiona Quinn

Development Manager: Mairaid McMahon
Email: or telephone 07917 628 994

Visit us on the web at: or on Twitter @FSBNIRegion

See how FSB have campaigned on this issue