28/02/2006

High-tech business village opens in Bangor

North Down has received a major boost with the official opening of a new, high-tech business village in Bangor, bringing small businesses and further education closer together.

Opening the North Down Business Village, which comprises of 18 modern business start-up units, Enterprise Minister, Angela Smith said: "This 15 acre facility, which has already attracted over £10 million in funding, will ensure that local start up businesses have the necessary infrastructure and facilities in which to grow. In addition, this Village will also provide fledgling companies with access to the technology development, product development and training provided by North Down & Ards Institute.

"Innovation is key to Northern Ireland's future prosperity, and closer interaction between our colleges and universities and industry is vital. Indeed the importance of the FE sector in this role has been identified in the Review of Further Education.

"The North Down Business Village concept is one of the first initiatives to link the infrastructure, economic support programmes and the education sector together to provide the skills needed by the business community. The business village will help small businesses grow faster, create local employment opportunities and contribute to North Down's sustainable development."

North Down Business Village Ltd has been created to spearhead the project and is made up of representatives from Invest Northern Ireland, North Down Borough Council, North Down Development Organisation, North Down and Ards Institute and North Down Local Strategy Partnership. The company is funded by the EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation and Invest NI.

Speaking at the launch Brian Henry, Chairperson of NDBV and Director of the North Down and Ards Institute, said: "North Down Business Village presents an excellent opportunity to mould together the strengths North Down has to offer 'new economy' businesses which are exploiting knowledge or technology to gain international competitive advantage. This new facility will be very attractive to knowledge based businesses interested in locating or continuing to grow in North Down."

(CD/SP)

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