Oct 14, 2004
Invest NI Unveils Action Plan for North WestThis demonstrates a commitment given by the Minister with responsibility for Enterprise, Trade & Investment, Ian Pearson, and the chief executive of Invest NI, Leslie Morrison, that the Agency would respond creatively to address the challenges facing the area as a result of extensive job losses.Leslie Morrison explains: “In response to concerns about the economy in the north west, Invest NI has developed a framework for action that addresses many of the issues that are constraining business growth and performance in this area.”The North West Action Plan was presented to key stakeholders in the region at a series of meetings this week. Professor Fabian Monds, Chairman, Leslie Morrison, Chief Executive, and senior Invest NI officials met with council representatives, the Civic Regeneration Forum and the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce to outline the key points of the plan. Professor Terri Scott, Invest NI Managing Director with responsibility for local economic development, said: “This is an important regional initiative which will apply the full resources and activities of Invest NI. It will involve extensive proactive engagement with the existing business community, educational institutions, local government and other partners.”The Action Plan is built around five themes, which encompass over 50 initiatives. The themes are:§ Stimulating innovation, and R&D § Growing indigenous business§ Increasing the number and quality of business starts§ Improving the FDI proposition§ Developing business infrastructure“Many initiatives are already well under way and we are seeing positive outcomes,” said Leslie Morrison. “There have been significant expansion investments by major employers such as Seagate and Invest NI has supported local companies to take part in trade missions to the USA and Sweden. We have also launched a northwest business club and initiated an SME broadband programme. “An FDI benchmarking study is currently being undertaken, which will enable Invest NI to market the northwest to potential inward investors in a focused manner, based on the actual strengths of the region,” he continued.As part of the implementation of the plan Invest NI has recently invited property developers to put forward proposals in respect of a 65,000 sq ft speculative build programme, which will create modern, flexible, office-style business space in central Londonderry. “Invest NI is working closely with the local councils, Ilex, and local stakeholders on the implementation of the Action Plan. The Agency has also pledged to increase its resources in the region to meet the anticipated increase in demand for business support resulting from the Action Plan,” Terri Scott concluded.