Posted on Thursday 6 June 2013 by Ulster Business

The hub small

Tracy Meharg, Invest NI's Executive Director of Business Solutions, centre, pictured with Diarmuid Moloney of Rotor and Celine Magill, Art on Fashion along with other Propel participants.

A new HUB for high growth potential start-ups has opened in Belfast, bringing together 26 export-focused start-up businesses to share knowledge and ideas.

A shared workspace for participants on the Invest Northern Ireland Propel programme, 'The HUB' offers hot desks and meeting areas as well as open space for events and networking. Here the participant entrepreneurs will develop and fast-track their businesses with ongoing support from the Propel programme team.

Located in the heart of Belfast's Cathedral Quarter, home to the city's creative and digital community, 'The HUB's' key philosophy and purpose is to nurture and drive knowledge sharing experiences and peer to peer support.

The space will also provide a venue for a number of guest speaker events, including organisations such as Loughshore Investments and the InterTradeIreland Seedcorn competition. It will also be a shared space for the programme mentors to work directly with the participants, the first of whom is Bill Liao - best known as a social networking pioneer and co-founder of the successful CoderDojo.com movement.

Ranging from app platforms through to equestrian equipment, the current intake of Propel programme entrepreneurs come from an array of industry sectors across Northern Ireland. Set to fast-track their businesses via an intensive period of workshops and mentoring over the coming 10 months, the participants will also have access to the hot-desking facility and £20,000 of support through the Invest NI programme.

Tracy Meharg of Invest NI said: "Invest NI's Propel programme seeks to strengthen the local economy by providing a range of support to help people develop new high growth businesses with worldwide commercial appeal. We recognise that fledgling entrepreneurs can benefit significantly from the support of other businesses, so are delighted to be able to launch this flexible workspace which aims to encourage cross fertilization of learning and ideas development."

Open to anyone with an idea for a new high growth, export focused business located in Northern Ireland, the Propel programme has already helped 30 local companies gain over £4m of investment. Previous participants include global gaming platform Goprezzo, Farmvet Systems – an innovative software programme for veterinary management and Okotech offering wireless heating control systems.

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