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Time Running Out to ‘Access’ €2.2million Funding Programme

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Time Running Out to ‘Access’ €2.2million Funding Programme

Time Running Out to ‘Access’ €2.2million Funding Programme
July 24
11:53 2013

Access 6, which was launched in April and is funded by the European Union’s INTEREG IVA programme for regional development, has received an overwhelming response with only a few places remaining for eligible companies. Aiming to help those involved capitalise on their export potential and increase sales by Eur22 million, the programme is open to 30 companies in each of three priority regions – the borders counties of Republic of Ireland, Western Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

Access 6 also brings together the collective skills and experience of the sector’s three main representative bodies –the Irish Exporters Association (IEA), Scotland Food & Drink (SFD), and Northern Ireland Food & Drink (NIFDA).

One company already signed up to the scheme is Aruna Sauces based in Ardee, Co. Louth. Managing director Sarah Nic Lochlainn says: “This programme has been extremely well thought through, offering practical support to help companies access channels to reach their market, identify customers and develop strong relationships with retailers. We know how important it is to build up strong relations, and we look forward to emulating our success locally within our new export markets. We are aiming to sell a million units in the UK next year, and we are also exploring opportunities in France and Spain. It is a very exciting time for the company and we are delighted to have the extra support and expert advice offered by the IEA and the Access 6 programme.”

Collaboration and sharing of best practice is key to the success of the three-year programme, with the participating companies grouped according to their target market. Through training and mentoring on core skills such as management practice, marketing and logistical support, the programme will help create competition advantage and open direct routes to national and global markets.

John Whelan, chief executive of the Irish Exporters Association comments: “We’re delighted with the immediate response to Access 6 and would encourage those interested in the programme to apply as soon as possible, as only a few places remain. This truly is an example of collaboration at its best – both regionally and also in in terms of skills-sets and expertise. Ultimately this approach will benefit the companies involved, the local agri-food sector and the wider economy.”

In addition to Eur22 million in sales growth, the programme aims to create an additional 90 new jobs within the participating businesses, and also up-skill a further 400 SMEs across the region as a whole.

CAPTION:

Pictured at the launch of the Access 6 programme are Sarah Nic Lochlainn of Aruna Sauces and Michael O’Dowd from Enterprise Ireland.

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