Vote now for your local Enterprise Centre

Dungannon Enterprise Centre is calling for the local community to vote for them.
Dungannon Enterprise Centre is calling for the local community to vote for them.

Not-for-profit social organization, Dungannon Enterprise Centre, is one of six not-for-profit groups across Northern Ireland who have been shortlisted for grants of up to £35K.

Dungannon Enterprise has been shortlisted for its Inspire to Innovate project which seeks to help women learn practical skills that will boost their knowledge of and confidence in starting and growing a business.

The group plans to use role model engagement, one-to-one mentoring and experiential learning sessions to help break down barriers to enterprise for women and close the gender gap in entrepreneurship in the Dungannon region.

The high quality and diverse range of groups shortlisted also includes: Carrickfergus Enterprise; Magherafelt based Workspace Enterprises Ltd; Christian Brothers School (CBS) in West Belfast; YouthAction Northern Ireland and Naturally North Coast and Glens.

Ulster Bank is asking members of the public to have their say on who the final winners are and everyone is invited to vote for one group in Northern Ireland. Voting is open and once each person has voted they can encourage others to do the same using #skillsandopportunities.

To find out more about each shortlisted organisation and the projects they are seeking support for, go to http://skillsandopportunitiesfund.ulsterbank.com/vote/

The winners will be announced on Monday, December 10.

The Ulster Bank Skills & Opportunities Fund, now in its fourth and final year, offers not-for-profit organisations across Northern Ireland grants of up to £35k to fund community projects that provide life-enhancing financial capability and enterprise skills and opportunities to those most in need.

Previous winners, Ballybeen Women’s Centre have been committed to enabling women, young people and pre-school children to realise their full potential, in an area of low community infrastructure, for over 33 years. They were awarded an Ulster Bank Skills & Opportunities Fund grant to deliver their Steps to Employment Programme (StEP).

Tanya Hughes, Chief Executive of BWC, explains how the programme works: “Lots of women want to work but they face many barriers. We help them figure out what’s stopping them – it could be anything from a lack of childcare, to outdated IT skills – and help them to change this, so they can get back into work.”

Through Ballybeen’s Steps to Employment women can complete training in IT, literacy and numeracy skills, and are coached on how to look and apply for jobs, helping them towards competing more effectively in the labour market.

In total, the programme has helped 84 participants to gain new skills, leading to 65 qualifications. In addition, five participants who completed the ‘Beauty Practitioner Skills and Exploring Enterprise’ course, are now setting up their own business to offer beauty treatments to the public – testimony to the success of the Centre’s work to reduce social and economic exclusion in the community.

Richard Donnan, Head of Ulster Bank in Northern Ireland said: “Since the Ulster Bank Skills & Opportunities Fund first launched in 2015, it has distributed over £269,000 in funding in Northern Ireland, reaching over 5,600 people, through the work of a diverse and inspiring network of 18 community organisations, as well as directly contributing to the creation of 16 new businesses and 24 jobs in Northern Ireland, in some of our most disadvantaged communities.

“Voting for the community group you’d like to see receive funding takes just minutes, but the long-term effects have the potential to be truly life changing. Please do take a minute to vote - every vote makes a difference.”