Project Title: Sustainable Business Networking (SBN)

Project Partners:       10 Member Councils of EBR LTD

                                 Southern Group Environmental Health Committee

                                 Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council

Project Budget:           £1,049,794

Project Aim:

The overall aim of the network is to encourage innovation and competitiveness which will lead to economic growth in small local businesses and industries and drive a strategic approach to sustainable development through the adoption of sustainable business practices.

The project will benefit local businesses by enabling them to make the necessary networks and links with other businesses North and South of the Border to enhance the economic viability of their business. It will empower them with the knowledge, tools and skills to develop and grow their business. This will have a positive impact on the local economy by reducing unemployment, generating more income in the area, enhancing the profile of the local area making it more attractive to tourism and attracting inward investment.

Based on a survey of the original STEM project, the businesses certified to BS 8555 or ISO 14001 are making collective savings of £554,000 per year in energy and waste. It is proposed that collective financial savings generated for the 220 businesses will be at £627,000 (average of £2,850 in energy, waste and water for each business) resulting in increased competitiveness within the region, and increased market access both within the region and beyond. (see Appendix 1,2,3)

The cost per business on the project is approx £5390 (£1,186,535 for services to 220 buinesses). Each business will save £2850 on average. Pay back on the project  for the businesses alone is estimated to be 1.89 years.


Project Summary:

The project will engage with 220 businesses within the East Border Region, from North and South of the border, across a number of industry sectors in a Sustainable Economic Development business networking programme.

The programme will see SMEs collaborate across jurisdictions and sectors, share knowledge, experience and resources, make financial savings in energy, water and waste, receive training and capacity building and adopt sustainable practices that will enhance their competitiveness and economic viability leading to a more diverse, competitive and prosperous region. Areas of mutual interest will be identified by the businesses. Members will be encouraged and supported to collaborate in areas such as tendering, training and buying. In addition up to 5 days on site support will be provided to each business participating.

ion criteria will be established, taking into consideration issues such as energy consumption, waste production, water consumption, risk of pollution, level of commitment to the network (list is not exhaustive). Sectors to be targeted include Construction, Manufacturing, Food and Drink, Engineering, Hospitality, Services and Retail (list is not exhaustive). Each network or cluster will develop a Business Plan with a set of SMART objectives and necessary "rules" and commitments to the network.

The networks will be facilitated by the project team, however it is intended that leaders within the businesses will be identified and trained to assume leadership for the networks developed.

The project will work with the East Border Region Councils to further develop the work of the STEM Project and extend the scope of the Council wide Environmental Management System. It will also develop and manage actions plans for sustainable development which will implement sustainable practices in operational activities and take cognizance of the 3 pillars of sustainable development (economic, social and environmental) and provide civic leadership to the local business and domestic community on sustainable development.

A steering Group will be formed with representation from each of the participating councils, EBR Ltd and Southern Group Environmental Health Committee (SHEHC). Invest NI, InterTrade Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and the County Enterprise Boards will be invited to join the steering group.

For Further Information on this project please contact:


Ms Anne Mason

Programme Manager

Tel: 028 3751 5810


Visit -

  • Monaghan
  • LCC
  • MCC
  • Newry, Mourne and Down District Council
  • Ards and North Down Borough Council
  • Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council