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A Hypothetical Case Study - Manufacturing firm in Northern Ireland

July 2007 (School for Startups)

This is a fictional study intended to highlight the variety of government grants and other assistance available to entrepreneurs. Colleen is a ficitional character based in Northern Ireland, who wished to start up her own manufacturing firm.


Colleen stumbled across a method of manufacturing Wellington boots entirely from recycled newspapers. Although she had management experience from her job as the regional head of a large retail firm, she had never previously run her own company. She therefore resolved to find herself as much help as she could before launching out on her own.

Through the Invest Northern Ireland website she was able to contact Women in Enterprise , the regional branch of the Business Women’s Network Northern Ireland. The organization aims to “encourage, support and empower women into business”, and with help from the contacts she made there, Colleen was able to draw up a solid business plan to take to the banks.

However, her lack of experience counted against her, and despite her great idea the banks were reluctant to finance her dream. Colleen therefore conducted further research into sources of funding and support, and found the Business Innovation Link , an offshoot of Invest Northern Ireland. After detailed evaluation of the feasibility of her idea, they were able to provide help in securing her intellectual property, and awarded her a grant to produce some prototype Wellingtons.

So impressive were these boots that Invest Northern Ireland felt she was now a suitable candidate for starting an internationally focused export company. For a share in her company they provided her with finance to cover start-up costs, put her into contact with potential importers of her product, and introduced her to sources of venture capital. Her business now employs 15 people on a full time basis, and following considerable interest from Chinese importers, Colleen is currently negotiating with venture capitalists to expand her company and move into global exports.


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