Ricardo Energy & Environment helped to launch a new business support programme for local businesses in Northern Ireland this month.
The leading environmental consultancy is working alongside Newry and Mourne District Council to assist local SMEs in South East Belfast take advantage of the economic opportunities offered by the renewable energy sector, as part of the SEED (South Eastern Economic Development) initiative. The programme, Energy Connections NI, identifies renewable energy as the most significant economic growth opportunity in recent years and encourages local businesses to capitalise on it.
Companies taking part in the programme will receive tailored support and advice on research and development, technical queries and marketing. The programme also offers various networking opportunities, including, ‘Meet the Buyer’ events and attendance at trade exhibitions.
Ricardo Energy & Environment’s principal consultant and project manager for Energy Connections NI, Fiona Porter said:
“We are proud to be involved in a project which encourages local businesses to take advantage of the newly emerging energy sector. The project provides companies with a chance to learn how tidal offshore, biomass and onshore wind technologies have the potential to develop into key opportunities essential for the growth of SMEs in the South East region.”
This programme is part funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland and will be delivered to any businesses located in the council areas of Ards, Down, Craigavon, Armagh, Newry and Mourne or Banbridge.
Mark Bleakney, Manager of Invest NI’s Southern Regional Office, said:
“Northern Ireland is currently seeing a very significant investment in the renewable sector from international as well as local companies. This includes offshore and onshore wind, marine energy and biomass. The scale of the opportunities is huge and Invest NI, along with the councils in the Southern Eastern area, want to make sure that our indigenous businesses, from across all sectors and of all sizes, have a chance to benefit from this investment. That is what this programme is about and I hope as many companies as possible will get involved.”
Newry and Mourne Council’s Lord Mayor Cllr John McArdle said,
“We offer a range of business support programme under the SEED banner and I think this is one of the most exciting and relevant to date. We all acknowledge the potential of renewable energy to be a driver of economic growth. As local councils we want to support our local business community in plugging into that network. Energy Connections NI can be a real boost to the local economy.”
The programme is delivered on behalf of SEED by leading environmental consultancy Ricardo Energy & Environment with on the ground support from local communications specialists MW Advocate and Fehily Timoney, a specialist engineering firm with offices in Cork, Dublin and Belfast.