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Bank Backs Scaling For Growth Programme

David Bell, Managing Director of GPS Colour Graphics, Gavin Kennedy, Head of Business Banking NI at Bank of Ireland UK and Ann McGregor, Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry

 

Bank of Ireland UK has announced it has strengthened its partnership with the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry to launch a new ‘Scaling for Growth’ programme, designed to support small and medium sized businesses who have ambitions to expand their operations.

 

The new programme, funded by Bank of Ireland UK, will provide a comprehensive package of support that will include a business assessment, a dedicated business professionals mentoring panel with workshops tackling the challenges SMEs face in scaling up. The programme forms part of the Learn Grow Excel suite of private sector business support provided by the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry to local businesses.

Gavin Kennedy, Head of Business Banking NI at Bank of Ireland UK said: "As a leading business bank we provide much more than finance to local companies who want to develop new products and explore new markets.

 

"Today’s launch of the Scaling for Growth programme demonstrates our commitment to helping businesses achieve their ambitions. We recognise that scaling a business brings its own challenges. A strong export proposition is vital, as is having a mentor to encourage businesses to take that first step into a new market and to give them the confidence that they can succeed in doing so.

 

"With feedback from both our customers and local business more widely, we are determined that any support we provide is practical and will deliver real and tangible benefits. We are delighted to have joined forces with the Chamber to fund this timely, new and innovative programme. It will take a practical approach on how to scale and provide access to networks of those who have already done it, to help build confidence within businesses to seize new opportunities for growth and to meet their expansion objectives."

 

Ann McGregor, Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry said:

Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s absolute focus and priority is supporting businesses to grow and ultimately export. The support provided is private sector designed and delivered and we are delighted to be working with Bank of Ireland on scaling for growth. This will enable us to provide more intensive support to our growth members especially those that aspire to the success of leading companies such as Ulster Carpets, MJM, Almac and Randox.”

 

One example of a local business Bank of Ireland UK is supporting as it invests in growth is Belfast based GPS Colour Graphics, a family owned and managed print business that was founded over 200 years ago and incorporated more than a century ago. GPS is primarily known as a producer of high quality catalogues, books and magazines in medium to high volumes.

 

The business has recently moved from their former 25,000 sq. ft. premises to a 125,000 sq. ft. purpose built print facility. David Bell, Managing Director, GPS Colour Graphics said: "Our new premises represent a significant investment to expand and grow the business over the next five years. We are a major player in the market with customers who are major players in their own right and who have ever greater demands.

 

"The increased space has given us the opportunity to invest in new and innovative machinery and innovative technology - some of it on the largest scale in Ireland, some the first of its type. Crucially it provides the business with efficiencies, significantly more capacity and greater flexibility. We now have the most production capacity of its type in Northern Ireland and possibly Ireland on one site. It also massively increases the businesses capability in our traditional printing and new areas, for example in the coming weeks we will be installing wide format print equipment that will allow us to create large scale posters and banners – it’s our first step into that market and it enables us to be a one stop shop for our customers and provide the full services they want."

 

The investment has also boosted our short run digital offering and is paying dividends in hugely increasing productivity and quality of the product.

 

"This is an amazing facility with massive potential. We service customers based in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and increasingly the rest of the UK.

 

"Bank of Ireland UK understood our ambitions and supported our business objectives. Without their funding and support we could not have achieved this growth and expansion of the business. Our relationship manager was more than helpful and the whole business team were creative and responsive to our needs.

 

"Scaling a business is not without its challenges but we embraced the change wholeheartedly and had a bank who came on the journey with us and supported us throughout."

 

The Scaling for Growth Programme launches ahead of Enterprise Week, Bank of Ireland UK’s own business support initiative that is now in its eighth year. It will once again actively support local, ambitious businesses with a week-long series of events that provide networking opportunities as well as the chance share learnings and develop new skills.