Voice for Locals Initiative Project Lead, Jay Thattai is pictured with business owner Sonya Cassidy. Sonya is based in Limavady and runs a Public Relations agency.
A new initative which aims to support County Derry businesses by providing access to intelligent online marketing and customer experience development tools has been launched.
'Voice For Locals' is a levelling up initiative sponsored by the UK Community Renewal Fund (UKCRF) focused on investment in skill development and local business.
It successfully secured a grant to offer participating NI micro and small businesses a range of free skills, marketing and other services to aid business recovery post-Covid.
Voice for Locals’ Founder / Steering Authority, Jay Thattai, who visited a number of businesses in Dungiven last week to speak to them about the project benefits, said: “This is a mission-oriented innovation programme personalised for local businesses in Northern Ireland to recover, rebuild and rebound post-Covid.
"We will provide simple toolkits, built using emerging technologies, to help local businesses own and analyse their business data and introduce process improvements through on the job training in customer experience and marketing.
"The initiative helps change ways of working and delivery of services in line with the 10X vision laid out by the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland.”
Mr Thattai added: “While talent is spread equally, opportunity is not. Levelling up is a mission to challenge, and change, that inequity. Levelling up gives everyone the opportunity to flourish.
"It means living longer and more fulfilling lives, and benefitting from sustained rises in living standards and well-being, everywhere.
“Local businesses operating anywhere in Northern Ireland deserve the best-in-class personalised support to boost their credibility and expand their visibility for sustainable profitability.
"By engaging in the Voice for Locals Initiative, local business owners will derive a number of business benefits. In addition to collecting post-Covid customer expectations and experiences, they will be made self-reliant, empowered to make data-driven business and marketing decisions confidently.
“In addition, there is a facility to develop and drive customer loyalty programmes, develop referral programmes to drive new business and personalise a series of rewards for loyal customers.
"Participants will also be offered an e-learning course on which they can attain new skills. Having this recognised by City & Guilds will in turn advance professional development and build credibility with local customers.
“We will list all rated local businesses in a directory for Northern Ireland. Businesses will be listed by their cities, skills, trade, ratings, reviews and a number of other metrics. Consumers will be both encouraged and empowered to shop locally with greater confidence.”
This programme’s directory will act as a unique 'Shop Local initiative': to buy, book and hire from local businesses in simple clicks; genuinely rate local retail and service businesses to allow them to correct any customer service gaps and help them improve and grow.
Local consumers will be encouraged to join the local loyalty programmes and gain reward and referral points as part of the journey.
Voice for Locals aims to recognise exemplars in their field too with the launch of a 'Special NI Edition of Top-Rated Businesses’ highlighting the best micro and small businesses in the retail and service sectors as the programme evolves.
For further information about the Voice for Locals Initiative log on to www.voiceforlocals.co.uk.
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