Published 12 December 2017 @ 13:31

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%.”
Note to Editor
Caption - Pictured at the NILGA Entrepreneurship Summit are, (l-r): Lisa O’Kane, Programmes Manager (Partnership & Investment) NILGA, Alderman Arnold Hatch, President NILGA, Councillor Kim Ashton, Chair Mid Ulster District Council, Lara Goodall, Consultant, and Derek McCallan, Chief Executive NILGA.
NILGA - The Northern Ireland Local Government Association is the representative body for the 11 councils in NI. Its Office Bearers are drawn from the five main political parties. NILGA’s all council Executive is a regional body which works in partnership with councils to ensure local government’s best interests are considered in decision making by Central and Regional Government, as well as investment partners and the EU. 
iEER Boosting innovative Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in Regions for young entrepreneurs 
iEER is an Interreg Europe funded flagship project bringing together 10 regions around Europe. Initiated by the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council, in partnership with regions awarded with the European Entrepreneurial Region label, iEER project will define smart paths and solutions to support the regional governments and authorities in supporting young entrepreneurs. iEER works closely with the EU Committee of the Regions and the European Commission DG Grow to ensure the project results and impact are transferred EU-wide.