The Ambition to Grow programme looks for 40 of Northern Ireland’s most innovative and ambitious businesses to take part in a competition to receive up to £45,000 in funding, and ultimately become part of Invest Northern Ireland’s client portfolio.

Applications for Ambition to Grow have now closed.

Designed specifically to help micro, small and medium local enterprises, the competition will support businesses to create great jobs and to sell innovative products or services outside Northern Ireland.

Eligible businesses must:

  • Have the ambition to grow
  • Be innovative with an ambition to grow sales to £1M
  • Have a product or service with a strong USP to take to markets outside Northern Ireland
  • Be a start-up or an established company that has not worked with Invest NI before
  • Need government support to create great jobs and to sell innovative products or services outside Northern Ireland

Financial support

Funding will be awarded to applicants on a competitive basis. Applications will be assessed and scored, with the highest scoring companies in each region awarded funding following a successful validation interview.

A maximum of £45,000 is available for each successful application as follows:

  • £5,000 per new job (a minimum of 3 jobs must be created) over and above existing employment levels within the business (to a maximum of £30,000)
  • £10,000 towards business development activities, where the amount of support provided shall be no more than 50% of the cost of eligible activities listed in the application
  • £5,000 on the completion of an export health check and development of an export growth plan, to the satisfaction of Invest NI by 1 March 2023

Financial support payments are not up-front and are dependent on the execution of specific activities as outlined in any offer of support such as job creation or exporting.

Applications for Ambition to Grow have now closed. 

Only businesses which are not Invest NI client businesses are eligible to take part in Ambition to Grow.

The following businesses are not eligible to apply:

  • Businesses already in receipt of or intending to gain other government support for the project.
  • Businesses that have an outstanding liability to Invest NI brought about through grant clawback proceedings. If a satisfactory repayment plan is in place, the business may submit an application for consideration.
  • Businesses or any member of Senior Management within the business that are subject to a current bankruptcy order, Individual Voluntary Arrangement, Company Voluntary Arrangement, County Court Judgement, or Company Director Disqualification.
  • Businesses involved in Agricultural Production, Fisheries & Aquaculture Sectors (Production and Processing), Steel, Coal, Shipbuilding, Synthetic Fibres, Transport and its infrastructure, Energy generation, wholesale, retail (including on-line), distribution & infrastructure.
  • Applications which include or relate to activities that Invest Northern Ireland considers as ineligible or as involving an unacceptable reputational risk, such as gambling, tobacco products and drug-based products, which are not authorised as medicines.