Global Entrepreneurship Week

Ballymena Borough Chamber of Commerce and Industry hosted a breakfast on Thursday (19thNovember).  The breakfast was part of a series of events held in Ballymena as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week. 

The theme of the event was “Is a sustainable economy within reach in Northern Ireland…and how is it to be achieved?” A high profile panel of speakers took part in the debate:

• John Campbell, Business Editor BBC
• Glyn Roberts, Chief Executive NIIRTA
• Clare O’Neill, Northern Regional College
• Barry Corrigan, Dinsmore
L-R: Eugene Reid, Glyn Roberts, John Campbell, Alan Stewart, Barry Corrigan, Clare O’Neill and Eugene McKeever

All the speakers agreed that Northern Ireland faced a number of issues going forward. These issues included high energy costs and additional costs because of NI’s geographical location. The business rates review earlier this year had put many businesses under severe financial pressure and the introduction of the National Living Wage would add to this pressure. It was also pointed out that NI had not yet been affected by the austerity cuts as much as some regions in the UK, but that the cuts were about to kick in here shortly.

But it was not all doom and gloom, indeed the panel were quite upbeat about prospects going forward. All the speakers were thankful that the deadlock at Stormont was now over, a lot of time had been wasted and they urged Ministers to get NI moving forward again.

The speakers generally welcomed that a date had now been set for a cut in Corporation Tax. However they urged caution saying that this on its own would not bring in a flood of foreign investment and the only companies that would benefit are those earning good profits. It was also agreed that substantial cuts to the further education colleges would be a detrimental step – an educated and well trained labour force is high on the list of requirements for any company considering investing here.

The companies that will survive and prosper are those that are innovative, have a quality product, provide excellent customer service and a speedy response to their customer’s demands.

Chamber would like to thank all the speakers for giving up their time to be at this breakfast. Chamber is also very grateful to the Adair Arms Hotel and Mid and East Antrim Borough Council for supporting this breakfast.

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Ballymena Borough Chamber of Commerce and Industry, 4 Wellington Court, Ballymena, BT43 6EQ

Email: office@ballymenachamber.co.uk

Tel: 07801 738 359

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