29/11/2001

IoD warn enterprise culture is vital for local economy

Local business have been told that Northern Ireland’s long-term ability to compete on a global basis could be restricted by the absence of an ‘enterprise culture’ in province.

The warning came at the Institute of Directors (IoD) Northern Ireland Division inaugural conference – ‘Getting Down to Business’ – which brought together the province’s leading public and private sector officials to tackle the question of economic regeneration here.

The key area of concern raised at the conference identified by conference speakers, which included leading business strategists, Richard Scase and Michael Best, was Northern Ireland’s historical lack of ‘entrepreneurship’.

Another related issue raised was the province’s ‘dependency’ culture. Eric Bell, Chairman of IoD Northern Ireland, explained: “There can be no denying the importance of inward investment in helping Northern Ireland find its feet in the marketplace. However, in the current economic climate, attracting such investment will continue to be difficult for some time to come.

“This conference looks, among other things, at what steps Northern Ireland should be taking to fill the employment gap and a key conclusion is that we need to create and promote our own businesses. This is something that can only be done as a joint enterprise between the business community and public sector decision-makers.

“Greater focus on training combined with changes to the education system and a general shift away from grant dependency are some of the key issues which need to be addressed.”

Noel Brady, Chairman of the IoD’s Professional Development Committee, added that the diversity of sectors represented at the conference was a clear indication of its relevance to the local business community and that Northern Ireland was at a critical stage in its economic development. (MB)

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