Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir has urged uptake of the Back in Business rate support scheme.
The Back in Business initiative offers a 50% rate reduction for up to a year for business owners that occupy a retail property that was previously empty.
Speaking as he launched the rebranded scheme at General Merchants cafe on the Ormeau Road in Belfast, the Minister said: “We all want to see our town centres and shopping areas thriving. This excellent rate support scheme aims to bring vibrancy, footfall and investment back to our high streets while providing businesses with a boost in their first year of trading.
“General Merchants is a tremendous example of the benefits of this scheme. The difference that a bustling business can make to a once empty property on a main thoroughfare is striking. I would urge anyone planning to start a business or expand an existing business to consider setting up in an empty unit and avail of the support on offer from Back in Business.”
General Merchants Cafe opened in June 2015 in Ballyhackamore and due to its success, a second cafe was opened on the Ormeau Road in April 2016. The cafe has recently benefited from the Back in Business rate support scheme. Manager Jane Hodgers commented: “This scheme provides valuable support to businesses that are moving into empty premises for their first year and helps to champion our high streets. I would encourage other businesses to avail of this initiative and take advantage of the assistance on offer.”
Further information on the Back in Business rate support scheme including an application form to apply can be found at:www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/