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Voice for Locals
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Lisburn Chamber of Commerce

Lisburn Chamber of Commerce announces partnership with Voice For Locals

The Voice For Locals Initiative offers state of the art technology tools, marketing techniques and customer experience training for small firms, and it is set to digitise businesses in the Lisburn area

Voice For Locals, a consortium launched in Northern Ireland to support businesses who want to level up their services after the challenges of the pandemic, has announced a partnership with Lisburn Chamber of Commerce.

Voice For Locals, which was awarded £1.82m by the UK Community Renewal Fund, offers micro and small businesses a range of free skills, marketing and other services to aid their business’ recovery.

The team has digitised over 230 local firms across Northern Ireland in the last 30 days and 71% of business owners have introduced new innovative processes to their ways of working.

Following the recent success of transforming St George’s Market in Belfast to online trading, Voice For Locals is all set to level up local businesses across the Lisburn area and is meeting with local councils, town management, enterprise agencies and chambers of commerce.

Lisburn Chamber of Commerce has a diverse range of members. It provides professional advice and gives a voice to the business sector in the local area. Welcoming the initiative Dr Katrina Collins, President of Lisburn Chamber of Commerce and owner of The Daily Apron, Lisburn’s first artisan bakery, said:

“The Chamber is delighted to welcome Voice For Locals to Lisburn to help micro and small businesses recover, rebuild and rebound post pandemic. Lisburn is a wonderful place to live, visit and do business.

“However, our members are facing a perfect storm of challenges including energy hikes, labour shortages, National Insurance increases and Covid-19. Lisburn is a vibrant economy with many small businesses showing the resilience and entrepreneurship associated with the area and I would encourage all local businesses to register. It takes less than ten minutes to sign up and I am confident Voice For Locals will allow business owners to increase their visibility and credibility, and boost profitability to mitigate growing costs.

“Many small businesses here have been through one of the most challenging periods in their own history. Forced closures, changing consumer trends with a backdrop of limited funding has meant recovery is a long and frustrating journey. Many businesses have been fast-tracked into a completely different world; a digitally focused world accented by changing consumer habits.

“At The Daily Apron our values are based around 'cake, kindness and community’. Having used Voice for Locals services, I have been able to collect ratings, reviews, manage bookings and drive loyalty effortlessly, whilst maintaining a community bricks and mortar business. Their support and intelligence, in particular data capture, has been instrumental in helping me keep up to track with how retail is changing and it will be key in future proofing my business.”

Jay Thattai, Founder and Steering Authority at Voice For Locals, said:

“We are looking forward to working in partnership with Lisburn Chamber. There are so many synergies and collective efforts yield better results than individual efforts. The membership organisation is a priceless asset to the local business community, helping it navigate some of the hardest times ever faced. The Chamber’s objectives align perfectly with ours in that it wants to support members and help them rebuild and recover.

“We provide the digital tools for data driven business decisions and enable business owners to go digital with mobile apps, get marketed locally, get certified with e-learning courses endorsed by City & Guilds, and avail of personalised business and technology advice, to build a self-reliant economy in the wake of the pandemic.

“The levelling up initiative has been designed to address a number of challenges. At a local level, it allows engagement with a broader audience, on a more consistent basis, thanks to the Voice For Locals digital directory of all rated businesses across Northern Ireland, Meanwhile, with an expanded digital presence, local businesses can now tap into rest of the UK, Europe and world markets that would have otherwise been unattainable.”

Mr Thattai adds: “Each business will have a dedicated landing page with a business description, an enquiry button to generate leads, and pictures and videos featured in the Voice For Locals NI directory. Business owners will be given the tools to collect genuine customer ratings and reviews which will reflect online automatically, encouraging online shoppers to shop locally with confidence.

“This is a personalised small business success programme. A dedicated team is in place to provide mentoring until the business owners become self-reliant. It is completely free and fully funded by the UK Government. The consortium, which includes firms Unloc Limited and TieTa UK, hopes to support even more businesses in Lisburn as they navigate recovery post pandemic.”

The consortium’s tender win for the project makes it the recipient of the fifth largest grant in the UK and the largest in Northern Ireland. Unloc will provide the technology, marketing and skills development element of the offering while TieTa will offer business and technical support. The team is working closely with City & Guilds to gain recognition for e-learning programmes delivered to local businesses throughout the scheme’s duration.

This project is funded by the UK Government through the UK Community Renewal Fund. For further information log on to