Foster launches multi-million pound programme to increase business competitiveness

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has launched a new £12million programme aimed at increasing the overall competitiveness of local businesses.

Invest Northern Ireland’s new Sustainable Productivity Programme includes a range of activities designed to help the business community achieve operational savings in water, energy and materials use and also identify new opportunities within the high growth renewable energy market.

Arlene Foster said: “Being competitive in business can be achieved in many ways. This includes ensuring that your business’s use of energy water and materials is managed as efficiently as possible. At the same time many companies are clearly demonstrating that increasing environmental performance can also deliver real competitive advantage.

“This new package of measures from Invest NI aligns with the Programme for Government’s aim to grow the green economy. I would encourage Northern Ireland firms to take advantage of the advice and financial support that is on offer through capital grants and interest free loans to implement projects that can help them increase their productivity and save money.”

Armagh-based Farmlay Eggs is one of a number of companies benefitting from Invest NI’s help. The egg production, packing and processing facility uses a substantial amount of packing materials, water and energy on a daily basis. The company approached Invest NI for help in reducing its costs and has recently completed an efficiency audit to identify potential savings within its operations. It is also receiving support to help it implement an environmental management system.

Jonathan Thompson at Farmlay Eggs, said: “We use the latest technology and equipment to ensure we can meet the needs and expectations of our customers. As a result our materials and energy use is high, and is a large business expense. Our first step in helping address this has been to complete an efficiency audit. I hope that our focus to become more efficient will boost our profits and ensure that the business is competitive and able to grow.”

The four strands of Invest NI’s Sustainable Productivity Programme include an Energy Efficiency Loan Fund; Industrial Symbiosis Services; a Capital Grant scheme and Project Management support.

Further information on how to avail of support through the programme can be obtained from: Nigel McClelland, Sustainable Development Manager – 028 9069 8830 or