Support for start-ups with export potential
Looking for customers in new markets
Do you have an idea for a business with export or global potential? If so, we have a range of advisory, capability development and financial support that will help get your business off the ground.
You can also access our free business advisory service.
It is on hand to:
- Offer tailored advice and guidance
- Signpost you to the most appropriate start-up support for your business
- Provide information on all of Northern Ireland's business support organisations that could support your business
We also offer a range of financial and advisory support for start-ups with export focused business ideas.
We can help you:
- Develop your strategy
- Develop new product ideas
- Sell outside Northern Ireland
- Manage your people and develop their skills
- Benefit from IT and implement e-commerce systems
- Manage your energy and waste
You can contact our Business advisory service on 0800 181 4422, submit an online enquiry or through our live chat service.
Funding for start-ups with export potential
Our start-up financial support is focused on those businesses that intend to sell outside Northern Ireland. We have five funds, part of our Access to Finance initiative, totaling circa £170 million to help SMEs with high growth potential.
These provide debt and equity investment and include:
- NI Small Business Loan Fund: £8m fund that provides unsecured loans to individuals, private companies and social enterprises in the small, medium and micro enterprise size range. Visit the NI Small Business Loan Fund website for more information
- Growth Loan Fund (ERDF): £30m fund that provides unsecured loan finance to SMEs that can demonstrate strong growth and export potential. Visit the Growth Loan Fund website for more information
- Growth Finance Fund: £30m loan fund designed to support export focused Northern Ireland SMEs demonstrating growth or strong growth potential. Visit the Growth Finance Fund website for more information
- techstart NI (ERDF): £30m integrated suite of funds and support for entrepreneurs, seed and early stage SMEs and university spin-outs. Visit the techstart NI (ERDF) website for more information
- CoFund NI II (ERDF): £70m venture capital fund that co-invests alongside business angels and other private investors.
Visit the CoFund NI II (ERDF) website for more information
Growth Loan Fund (ERDF), techstart NI (ERDF) and Co-Fund NI II (ERDF) are partly financed by the European Regional Development Fund under the EU Investment for Growth and Jobs Programme 2014-2020
Download our Access to Finance Booklet for further details on loan and equity funds currently available.
Propel pre-accelerator programme
If you have a business idea with global potential, our Propel pre-accelerator can help you. Propel offers you workshops, tutorials, networking opportunities, mentoring, financial support and access to investment based out of Belfast’s newest start-up hub, Ormeau Baths.
If you are an entrepreneur with international ambition and developing innovative new technology, or building your business using existing technology to disrupt traditional industries, then get in touch.
nibusinessinfo.co.uk is a free service offered by Invest Northern Ireland. It is the official online channel for business advice and guidance in Northern Ireland. Every day thousands of people visit the site for the latest business support, expert advice and new business opportunities.
Key support to guide you through your export journey includes:
- Export information guides: A dedicated section offering practical advice and tips on all aspects of exporting - nibusinessinfo.co.uk/exporting
- Get export ready tool: Access a free tool to help you find the right support to bring your product or service to market - nibusinessinfo.co.uk/exportready
- NI business support finder: Find financial assistance or advisory support in your area through a searchable directory of schemes - nibusinessinfo.co.uk/support
- Events finder: Search for local business training, workshops and networking events - events.nibusinessinfo.co.uk
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