COUNCIL TARGETS FOOD & DRINK SECTOR FOR ENTERPRISE WEEK
‘Inspire, Innovate & Invest’ call by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council
Lord Mayor Gareth Wilson
Businesses and entrepreneurs in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon are being urged to sign up for a packed programme of events as the Council launches its Enterprise Week (November 13th – 18th).
Under the theme of ‘Inspire, Innovate and Invest’ the week supports ambitions to create over 7,000 new jobs within the Borough by 2026 and includes free events providing practical advice for both start-ups and established businesses.
The area is already home to the Food Heartland initiative due to its abundance of award-winning agri-food businesses, artisan producers and chefs. Last month 31 local products were awarded Great Taste stars in world’s best known blind-tasted food competition. Ulster Bank is the principal sponsor for the event with further support from CIDO Ltd and Banbridge District Enterprise Ltd.
Lord Mayor, Alderman Gareth Wilson, said:
“Enterprise Week is about inspiring businesses and budding entrepreneurs to look for new commercial opportunities. The Borough is already home to some of Northern Ireland’s best known manufacturing, agri-food and pharmaceutical companies, but we want to foster an even greater culture of enterprise.
“Forecasts by Ulster University suggest that a favourable economic climate over the next decade could help create 7,500 new jobs in the Borough and boost local GVA to £4.3bn.
“Over 70% of the local economy is driven by the private sector and that’s likely to grow. Enterprise Week is part of a strategic push by the Council to provide a framework which helps business flourish.”
Sean Farnan, Head Chef at The Moody Boar in Armagh, and a member of the Food Heartland added:
“The Food Heartland initiative has been a great demonstration of how Council has worked with the private sector to promote our industry and take advantage of new commercial opportunities.
“There is much entrepreneurial flair in the food and drink, and hospitality sectors locally, and Enterprise Week is a great way for business to network and get practical advice on how to grow.”
The area is already home to over 8,000 businesses and is an increasingly important contributor to Northern Ireland’s economy. The Borough accounts for 11% (£3.7bn) of Northern Ireland’s economic output, up from 9.4% in 2013, and is the most economically active area outside of Belfast.
High-profile companies based in the area include Almac, Moy Park, Hyster Yale, Interface, Ulster Carpets, Irwin’s and Tayto. There are also over 13,000 people in self-employment.
Partnering with organisations such as Deloitte, FSB, Invest NI, Enterprise NI and YouthBank Banbridge, Enterprise Week events include ‘An Entrepreneurs’ Journey’, ‘Ready, Set, Grow’ and ‘To Innovation and Beyond’.
The aim is to showcase local successes and give businesses easy access to funders, advisors and support programmes. The events are aimed at new entrepreneurs, start-ups, potential exporters, existing firms seeking growth opportunities and those involved with digi-tech. There will also be a ‘Night of Ambition’ to foster students’ interest in entrepreneurship.
Roger Wilson, CEO, Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, added:
“The large number of multi-nationals based in the Borough is proof that this is a great place to do business with excellent transport links, a strategic location on the Belfast-Dublin corridor and a skilled talent pool.
“We want, however, to do more, to encourage a new generation of entrepreneurs and create an environment where enterprise permeates everything we do. Enterprise Week is a chance for businesses to network and identify new partners and customers.”
The Council is also planning raise its profile with potential inward investors through its links with Global Entrepreneurship Week, now into its tenth year. With a workforce totalling c.125,000, strong infrastructure and a unique mix of world-class industrial and agri-food firms, the Borough offers a diverse proposition.
For details on all the events featured at Enterprise Week and to reserve your place visit https://abcenterpriseweektickets2017.eventbrite.co.uk The Global Entrepreneurship Week debate can be followed on Facebook and Twitter #GEW2017 and #ABCEW17.