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Transforming the economy

A Newry based business development body, responsible for the creation of around 3,500 jobs since 200, is hoping that new council powers can transform the local economy. Speaking to the Reporter, Dr Conor Patterson  the CEO of Newry and Mourne Enterprise Agency, says that he is hopeful that close engagement between his organization and the new Newry, Mourne and Down Council will deliver positive change. “We hope with the new Council that we will have a bigger role in terms of economic development and place making,” he said. “That can lead to flagship companies coming in, but transformation is a hard slog and can take 10-15 years, but there are benefits and positive change along the road.” Dr Patterson said that locally led business development had yielded significant results in an area that was traditionally an unemployment black spot. “We have helped create 1,844 businesses since April 200, with an estimated 3,500 jobs. In the past year we developed 188 business plans for start-ups, 160 of which we believe came to fruition creating up to 240 jobs.” With a new expanded Council district and with high hopes that Enterprise Agencies will play a key role in the coming years. Dr Patterson has said that his organization has already come to an agreement with counterparts in Downpatrick to ensure that both groups move forward together. “Local focus needs to be retained,” he said. “We signed a memorandum of understanding with Down Business Centre in the existing Down District in December,” he said. “We share resources and work jointly. We are respecting their local presence in the area. So it is a sharing of resources. They have one site and they have three and manage one other.”


Newry Reporter

14th January 2015