Mid Ulster District Council hosted NILGA’s Entrepreneurship Summit (29 November) which provided an opportunity for stakeholders to shape a future action plan for Northern Ireland prior to its launch in Brussels in 2018.
The Action Plan will identify smart paths and solutions to build, boost and develop entrepreneurship ecosystems supporting young entrepreneurs in Northern Ireland.
NILGA has been participating in the EU funded iEER Boost Interreg project since 2016 and has attended a number of best practise visits across Europe which has assisted with identifying gaps in entrepreneurship throughout Northern Ireland.
Speaking at the event, Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Councillor Kim Ashton, said:
“Mid Ulster is proud of its strong entrepreneurial reputation, boasting the largest business base outside of Belfast.
“However, with the ever changing business climate and environment it is crucial for local authorities to continue to work with and develop the local business environment, thereby encouraging young entrepreneurs to invest in themselves and the future.”
“Today provided an opportunity for stakeholders to feed into the preparation of the final Action Plan and share in the knowledge of best practise identified by the various visits conducted throughout Europe”.
Alderman Arnold Hatch, NILGA President added “Participation in the iEER Boost project has enabled NILGA to learn about initiatives to improve entrepreneurial culture and mindsets, smart specialisation techniques and access to finance. By sharing this learning our member councils and entrepreneurship stakeholders can improve policy and practice in entrepreneurship. Stakeholders today proposed initiatives including the establishment of an Entrepreneurial Forum, investment in early education and a reconfiguration of signposting and tracking mechanisms as essential components of Northern Ireland’s Action Plan. The importance of this work is underlined by the recent GEM report which found that Northern Ireland’s level of Total Early Stage Entrepreneurial Activity is 6.3%, lower than the UK average of 8.8%.”