We know that growing a business is tough, but everyone should have the chance to make a real go of it, especially when they are starting out.

That’s why Innovate Communities offers the chance for 10 entrepreneurs or business owners to take part in ‘Incubate for Growth — a fabulous ten-month programme based in our Social Innovation Hub.

The programme helps small start ups take their business to the next level by building on the supports already provided to them by the Department of Social Protection, Local Partnerships and Local Enterprise Offices. For those already trading that may mean an increase in customers, for others it may mean setting themselves up to trade.

As well as great networking, participants get a modern desk space and a whole load of backup to get their ideas off the ground. This includes business mentoring, marketing development, workshops and advice about their business plan. Using these supports, they are able to fully develop and validate their business proposition, identify potential customers, sales channels and funding options and grow their business offering.  
The programme, which is based in Ballymun is a highly innovative response to the problem of unemployment in the area and has produced some extraordinary success stories.

Participant Marian McCullagh, AOS Training 

Being accepted onto this programme was a real turning point for my business.  The mentoring gave me structure, made me accountable to someone other than myself and made me refocus on the direction in which I was taking my business.  I think it is true to say that when you are caught up in the day to day running of a business it can be easy to forget your business strategy and direction.  So for me, the programme has allowed me to take that much needed step back and to revisit and refine my business plan.  It is also so important when you are trying to keep all the plates spinning to have a sounding board and this is what I got – and more – from the HUB. My mentor has given me great support and insights since we have started working together and has encouraged me to focus on developing my website and increasing my marketing skills – both of which are being currently addressed.

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