The joint venture was launched recently as the Erris Business Development Initiatives programme, which is supported by local development agencies, and comprises three separate initiatives.

The first of these is the Erris Business on the Internet initiative, which aims to increase the level of awareness among businesses in Erris of the value of the internet and to enable them to optimise their presence on and usage of the internet.

Businesses will be offered financial assistance to help them develop a website of their own or redevelop an existing one. There will also be support available for other innovative web-related proposals.

The second category of support is the Erris Business Marketing initiative and it will comprise of a series of workshops, interspersed with one-to-one advisory sessions.

The final strand of the three-pronged programme is the Erris Business Start Programme, through which funding will be available to new and early start businesses that is not generally available to them. The objective is to stimulate the establishment of new businesses in the area and to assist fledgling enterprises.

Frank Fullard, CEO of Mayo County Enterprise Board, urged local businesses to avail of the opportunities presented.

“This package of initiatives has something to offer every small business in Erris and will better equip them to meet the challenges to be faced in the current economic climate. It should enable businesses to overcome those challenges and come out of the recession stronger,” he said.

Mr Terry Nolan, Managing Director, Shell E&P Ireland Limited, expressed his delight at the programme, and complimented the Board of the Fund on being so progressive in their thinking.

“Enterprise is one of the key areas through which the Corrib Natural Gas Erris Development Fund can bring real benefits to the Erris region, and this has been recognised by the Board of the Fund,” he said.

For application forms, contact the Mayo County Enterprise Board offices on 094 9022887 or the Údarás na Gaeltachta office in Belmullet on 097 81418.