Useful Information


Welcome to the Business Support section for BID members. We hope you find the information below beneficial in helping your business.

As BID members, we are all working towards the common goal of improving Ballymena Town Centre for the benefit of all traders and retailers and also for those considering trading in Ballymena.

There are lots of business support services available to BID members, not just from the BID but also from many local organisations.


What help is available to you from the Ballymena BID?

The services provided by the Ballymena BID include:

  • Ballymena BID has partnered with BOI Payment Acceptance UK (BOIPA UK), in an effort to reduce businesses’ costs for credit and debit card transactions and acceptance fees.  Find out more here:
  • BID members can make savings on their business’ electricity costs through the BID teaming up with Renewable Partnerships Ltd. Find out more here:
  • Ballymena Retailers Against Crime (BRAC) has agreed, under a Service Agreement with the Ballymena BID Co, to extend the Retail Theft Awareness Training that has been available to BRAC Radio Link Members, to include BID members. Find out more here:

What local organisations can I receive help from?

The local organisations that provide business support are:

Find out more about each of the organisations using the relevant links.

What programmes are available to traders in the area?

a. Amplify Programme

Amplify is a new and fresh Integrated Economic Development Strategy that is led by the Mid and East Antrim Borough Council. The programme aims to support the development of Mid and East Antrim, right through until 2030.

Amplify promotes a shared vision for growing the economy in the Mid and East Antrim area. The strategy’s framework is intended to catalyse and guide the work of all stakeholders as they strive to improve the prospects of the area’s people, businesses and communities.

A range of business programmes has been created as part of Amplify, each one offering specialist mentoring and bespoke services to businesses at any stage. This ensures that entrepreneurs and business owners get the right support at the right time.

The Amplify programme will be delivered through five critical strategic economic priorities:

  • Enterprise and Entrepreneurship
  • Innovation
  • Employment and Skills
  • Infrastructure
  • Inclusion and Wellbeing

To find out more about Amplify, visit the website here:

or email

b. Kickstart Programme

The Kickstart Programme from Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is an innovative programme designed to provide practical guidance and advice to individuals who are about to launch their business, as well as individuals who are at the early stages of business trading.

Participants will benefit from a business baseline audit, one-to-one specialist mentoring, interactive workshops focusing on marketing, money and management and an opportunity to network with likeminded entrepreneurs.

Having access to a support network is a crucial element in sustaining long term survival for any business, especially a start-up business. This initiative will equip local businesses with the ‘know how’ and the ‘know who’ to ensure they have all the specialist skills and knowledge to grow and develop their business.

The Kickstart Programme is part of a suite of business programmes being delivered through the aforementioned ‘Amplify’ programme. Kickstart will be delivered free of charge by Ballymena Business Centre, Carrickfergus Enterprise and LEDCOM.

For more information on the Kickstart programme, contact Stephen Scullion, Ballymena Business Centre, 62 Fenaghy Road, Ballymena, BT42 1FL

Telephone 028 2565 8616

c. Go for It Programme

The Go for It programme provides individuals who wish to start a business with advice and the capability to produce their own business plan and register for self-employment. The programme helps those who have a business idea become a reality.

Go for It is delivered free of charge by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council in partnership with Enterprise Northern Ireland and the Local Enterprise network in the council area – Ballymena Business Centre, LEDCOM and Carrickfergus Enterprise.

The key aims of the Go for It Programme are:

  • To raise the overall number of business starts and new jobs per annum in Northern Ireland
  • Provision of a start-up programme that is universal (i.e. offers support to anyone seeking to start a business)
  • Provide an information, diagnostic and start-up support service to ensure businesses are able to access the most appropriate services to address specific business issues and help them realise future opportunities
  • Provide access to a range of information that will help reduce the perception of risk and increase the level of awareness and understanding of the business start-up and development process.
  • Support enterprise and employment activity across the region to obtain a more optimal distribution of economic activity. To deliver an accessible service that deliver on Local Government’s equality and diversity agenda, including females and young people who are NEETS (Not in Education, Employment or Training),
  • To effectively signpost all new business starts to the wide range of support and advice available through the network of organisations servicing this customer base (e.g.: Councils, Local Chambers of Commerce, Enterprise Agencies and Invest NI)
  • To provide specific advice and capability to enable entrepreneurs to develop a credible and high quality business plan
  • To provide a flow of new businesses that will access further financial direct support from Invest NI.

Go for It is open to anyone over the age of 16 thinking about self-employment or starting a new business. Support includes:

  • One to one time with a specialist business advisor
  • One to one financial and business planning advice
  • Advice on how to access funding
  • Access to best practice guides, tools and videos

For further information, call 0800 027 0639 or visit

d. Business Escalator Programme

Amplify Business Escalator Programme is dedicated to providing business growth support to existing businesses and social enterprises, through a bespoke, FREE, one-to-one mentoring service.

To access support from the programme, your business must be:

  • Based within the area of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council
  • Trading more than 6 months
  • Have less than 50 employees
  • Unable to access existing business support
  • In a position to create at least one sustainable job before 2020

As part of the programme, you will benefit from mentoring in the areas of:

  • Planning & Development
  • Financial Management
  • Marketing
  • ICT
  • E-commerce
  • Sales
  • Exporting
  • Procurement

e. Michelin Development 

Michelin Development Ltd offers local entrepreneurs access to finance and mentoring support. Michelin has always been involved in supporting local communities, both socially through participation in local initiatives and in the form of economic development support. However, the launch of Michelin Development provides an opportunity to have a far greater impact on our ability to support the regeneration of the local business community and in particular the creation of quality sustainable jobs.

Find out more about the Michelin Development fund here:


Through the Ballymena Business Centre, Stephen Scullion

T: 028 2565 8616

f. The Start Up Loan

The Start Up Loan is an unsecured personal loan for the purpose of starting a business.  Loans of up to £25k can be repayable between 1 and 5 years.  Successful applicants can benefit from up to 15 hours free mentoring support.

For More Information:

T: 028 7776 3555

g. The NI Small Business Loan Fund

The NI Small Business Loan Fund provides typically unsecured loans to individuals, private companies and social enterprises in the SME and micro enterprise size range, in the start-up and growth phases of development.

What are the terms?

There is a maximum loan amount of £15k to start-up enterprises, with potential for follow-on lending up to a maximum of £50k. Existing businesses can apply for loans of up to £50k.

Applicants will need to clearly demonstrate their ability to service the loan repayments.

The loans will typically be unsecured and personal guarantees may be sought.

Pricing will depend upon a risk assessment.

Mentoring support will be offered where loans of less that £15,000 are availed of.

For more information:


T:  0800 988 2879



h. Vacant Property Promotion