'Amplify' economy strategy is launched

Thursday, 1 February 2018

'Amplify' economy strategy is launched thumbnailMayor Paul Reid launches 'Amplify' with CEO Anne Donaghy and INvest NI's Alistair Hamilton

AS Ballymena faces a financial future without traditional mainstays of local employment such as JTI and, within months, Michelin, Mid and East Antrim Council have unveiled what they hope will be a  blueprint for economic prosperity in years to come.
And they hope that their ambitious strategy, entitled 'Amplify', will be a driving force which will boost the borough's economy right through until 2030.
According to Council, the strategy was prepared in collaboration with a number of 'key stakeholders' including Invest Northern Ireland, Northern Regional College, Catalyst Inc., local enterprise agencies and various Stormont Departments.
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr Paul Reid said that local economy was the Council's top priority and he was confident that 2018 would mark the start of an exciting phase of economic growth with the recent announcement of Rose Mary Stalker as the chair of the Manufacturing Task Force. He said that 'Amplify' would allow Council to support a number of businesses from the start-up to growth phases.
Cllr. Reid added: "The support and opportunities available from the new business programmes offered through 'Amplify' will help to create a vibrant business culture within our borough. This will not only build on our existing strengths in advanced manufacturing and agri-food, but open the door to the growth of new industry sectors such as digital, tourism and financial services.
“Our area has experienced significant challenges in recent years. Amplify seeks to provide innovation, certainty and stability for the benefit of our businesses and communities. This strategy will cement the fact that Mid and East Antrim is open for business and a solid investment."
Those attending the launch of the strategy at the Galgorm Resort were told that a range of business programmes have been created. Each one offering specialist mentoring and bespoke support services to businesses at any stage. This ensures entrepreneurs and business owners get the right support at the right time.
They were told that by 2030 Council wants Mid and East Antrim to have a nationally competitive economy, operate an economically active population known for its high-level skills providing critical labour to priority sectors, and be recognised as a vibrant, ambitious place to live and work.  This ambitious outcome would be delivered by focusing on five key themes; Entrepreneurship and Enterprise, Innovation, Employment and Skills, Infrastructure, and, Inclusion and Wellbeing.
Council's Chief Executive, Anne Donaghy said, "Mid and East Antrim is traditionally known for its advanced manufacturing and agri-food industries. In order to ensure future growth and create a more vibrant business culture, this strategy identifies emerging sectors, which will help boost business opportunities within the borough. It includes a number of strategic infrastructure projects. The redevelopment of St Patrick's Barracks in Ballymena, creating an Advanced Manufacturing Centre of Excellence, broadband improvements and key regeneration masterplans.
“There will also be a focus on employment and skills. Working with both further and higher educational institutes, this strategy aims to ensure that young people in the borough are fully equipped with the skills needed to get started in the world of work. Mid and East Antrim benefits from its strategic location within Northern Ireland. With close proximity to both major airports, home to port of Larne and recent investment in the A8 and A26, the area is ideally suited for commerce. 'Amplify' is a shared vision for growing the economy and about arming businesses and people with the right skills to succeed."
Invest NI's CEO Alastair Hamilton added, "Invest NI is committed to help optimise economic outcomes for businesses across the borough. We will continue to support Mid & East Antrim Borough Council's work to promote the region and ensure that businesses and entrepreneurs continue to get the support they need to succeed."
To find out more about the business programmes offered please google:-


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