Enterprise Ireland and its Northern counterpart, Invest NI, have launched a business incubation programme that offers budding entrepreneurs help to establish companies that can trade globally.

The state development agencies say the programme will provide export-oriented entrepreneurs in Northern Ireland and the six border counties with financial support, skills, expertise, and contacts.

The 'Transform - Ideas into Businesses' programme starts in September, and offers 40 participants financial support of up to €38,000 towards their first year's salary as they develop their new business.

Brendan Flood of Enterprise Ireland said: 'Entrepreneurs will be assisted and challenged to develop strong start-up companies, with robust investor ready business plans'.

Ian Murphy, of Invest NI said: 'This new programme offers entrepreneurs the support they need to establish knowledge-intensive businesses that have a high potential for growth'.