07/02/2019

New Strategic Forum Launched For Belfast Businesses

Belfast City Centre Management Ltd has launched a City Strategic Forum- a dynamic partnership of business representatives and organisations- to identify and respond to emerging issues affecting the area.

The forum will act as a channel for the business community to both influence central and local government, as well as progressing plans towards the sustainable growth of the city.

A new recruitment drive is currently underway for new board members to help support and deliver the ambitious project, with the application deadline set for next Monday, 11 February.

Andrew Webb, Chair of Belfast City Centre Management discussed the new initiative. He said: "Belfast remains the economic engine for Northern Ireland and the future strength and vibrancy of its economy is vital to the well-being of Northern Ireland. The City Strategic Forum is a mechanism to identify broader strategic issues and ensure Belfast is optimally positioned to realise its ambitions, and that its resources and priorities are aligned with the overarching vision for the City through the Belfast Agenda and with Northern Ireland's Programme for Government. This in turn will safeguard economic growth in the City which will continue to make a vital contribution to the wider Northern Ireland economy.
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"Challenges for the City abound, including the recent Bank Buildings fire, the changing face of the High Street and indeed the unfolding drama that is Brexit. Businesses continue to operate in the midst of increasing uncertainty on a deal or no deal scenario. They are a long way from being Brexit-ready as uncertainty continues on what the costs are or what the implications will impose."  

Mr Webb continued: "The skills, insight and expertise of the members of the City Strategic Forum, alongside other strategic partners, will continue to influence and encourage strategic decisions for the benefit of the city and support its business community. Significantly, one of the key benefits of the Forum is the inclusion of other strategic stakeholders who are not bound by geography, membership or remit.

"Membership of the Forum has been drawn initially from previous Board members of Belfast City Centre Management Ltd who remain key stakeholders within the City Centre. This development is part of the transition towards a more commercial model involving a new governance structure."

New members are now being sought as a way to help achieve this. 

Mr Webb concluded: "The new Board will enable it to make independent, strategic decisions allowing future projects to be more financially viable, controlled and performance-led allowing any profits made to be reinvested for the good of the entire City."



(JG/CM)


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