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Agency WIN contract

Newry and Mourne Enterprise Agency (NMEA) will once again deliver Invest NI’s business start up programme – a year after losing the £3.5m contract for the Go For It programme. In September 2011 it emerged that Invest NI had awarded the contract for the delivery of the programme to KPMG and Scottish Agency ‘The Go Group.’In the September 14 2011 edition of the Reporter it was revealed that NMEA (known locally as Work in Newry – WIN) and the other 31 agencies that makeup Enterprise NI (ENI) would challenge the decision. This meant that the programme was effectively stalled something Minister for Enterprise Trade and Investment alluded to in the assembly on Monday. “Members will be aware that for over a year Invest NI has not been in a position to deliver a full business support programme to individuals interested in starting their own business because of a legal challenge launched following the original procurement exercise,” she said. “As a consequence a further tender competition was held and the outcome of which is being advised to the tenderers today. As with all such procurement exercises a ten day period will follow before the contract becomes operational and the successful tenderer can begin to deliver the contract. That means that after over a year of being unable to provide a full support service to individuals who are interested in starting their own business, Invest NI will shortly be in a position to reintroduce a new business start programme.” Although the identity of the ed tenderer has yet to be officially confirmed the Reporter understands that ENI has been successful will the programme expected to be rolled out from October onwards. This will bring to an end the year long battle that in April saw Invest NI confirm that the contract would be re-tendered. In a joint statement at the time Invest NI and Enterprise NI said: “The legal challenge and current trial are taking much longer than all parties anticipated. As the proposed contract under scrutiny would only run until September 2013 any further delays would have a detrimental impact on the logistics of organising and introducing a new service of this type. ON this basis the parties whilst continuing to differ in their views in relation to the issues raised in the litigation have agreed that Invest NI will terminate the current procurement process and that the  legal action will end on the basis that Invest NI will be going back out to the market with a revised proposal for the provision of a business start service .” This revised proposal involved splitting the programme into five regional based packages with Enterprise NI understood to have secured the contract in all five areas.


Newry Reporter

19th September 2012