A fortnight-long series of events to facilitate networking, showcase innovation and inspire new thinking among local businesses and budding entrepreneurs in Mid and East Antrim has come to a successful close.
Enterprise Fortnight (12 – 24 November 2018), led by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, in partnership with local business support organisations, held more than 26 free events and attracted well over 650 local businesses, budding entrepreneurs and almost 500 schoolchildren from across the borough.
Delivered by leading experts within industry, local entrepreneurs and support agencies the highly successful initiative urged local businesses and business start-ups to sign up to a wide range of topical business related information seminars, workshops, talks and drop-in clinics.
Speaking after the event, Councillor Lindsay Millar, Mayor of Mid and East Antrim said: “These two ambitious weeks have brought together the finest of our local business success and created an opportunity to inspire and help generate new business potential throughout the Borough.
“Enterprise Fortnight underpins Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s commitment to help nurture and develop the local economy and has been a great opportunity to not only highlight the services we have on offer for the local business community, but it also encourages established businesses and potential start-ups to look at what additional support, expertise and opportunities are readily available on our doorstep.
Regarding the local economy she said: “Despite facing a climate of uncertainty and continued economic challenges, we are still witnessing a real zest for business development and entrepreneurial growth which needs to be encouraged.
“We are very grateful to our partners for collaborating with us and delivering such a successful and inspiring programme of events that will help existing businesses adapt and indeed thrive in an ever-changing economy and encourage the next generation of business start-ups to come forward.”
One of the many highlights of the fortnight-long programme included a 4C UR Future event which saw some of the most exciting companies from across the borough open their doors to the next generation of engineers and entrepreneurs at Northern Regional College’s Ballymena campus.
Over 150 school children from Ballymena Academy, St. Patrick’s College, Carrickfergus Grammar and Larne High School took part in workshops, enabling them to experience typical engineering roles; speak with staff from local businesses; experience a range of interactive exhibits including virtual reality welding headsets, drones, generators and a full-scale Wrightbus.
Other programme highlights included an Enterprising Women networking event, Global Entrepreneur Business Masterclass for primary school children, a visit to the food experts at Foodovation, a Day of Invention for Year 13 pupils and Schools Digital Makers event for Year 10 students which focused on innovative thinking and the digital sector.
Organisations who took part included Danske Bank, Ballymena Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Catalyst Inc., Sentinus, Young Enterprise NI, The Princes Trust and the local Enterprise Agencies.
Alderman Gregg McKeen, Chair of Economic Growth and Tourism Committee at Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, said: “I am absolutely thrilled with the feedback from our partners, participants and all those who have contributed to make enterprise fortnight such a success.
“We extended our programme of events this year in a bid to offer even more support to our local business network and future start-ups and we will continue to place economic growth as our number one key priority.”
For details on all the events featured at Enterprise Fortnight go to: www.amplifymidandeastantrim.com
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