“The success of Cookstown Enterprise Centre over the past 10 years points to a very positive future for economic development in the town,”Sir Reg Empey, MLA, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, said today at its 10th anniversary celebration.

Paying tribute to the impressive work of the local enterprise agency over the last ten years, the Minister said: “Provision of this affordable workspace and the administrative support of the Centre staff, have been invaluable in nurturing the establishment, growth and development of small and medium sized indigenous businesses in Cookstown.

“The Enterprise Centre is most definitely the key economic development driver in the locality, working in partnership with other agencies and on behalf of the local community for the improvement of economic conditions in the area.

“The Centre has much to be proud of. It has helped to establish some 500 new businesses; it was the first local enterprise agency to achieve quality accreditation in Northern Ireland; it also piloted the e-commerce project for
enterprise agencies in Northern Ireland, which has since rolled out to 30 agencies.

“Most recently, the Board has taken a decision to form a charitable sister organisation that will strategically position the Centre to take advantage of market opportunities in sectors previously outside of their remit.”

Sir Reg thanked the Board, management and staff of the Centre for their dedication and commitment and made a special reference to Mary Monaghan, a member of staff since the Centre was set up 10 years ago.

Cookstown Enterprise Centre consists of 48,000 sq ft of lettable space, comprising units ranging from 250 sq ft to 5200 sq ft, currently providing for 40 businesses, which employ approximately 200 people. The Centre currently employs 10 full-time staff.

The Centre’s main activities include enterprise development, developing entrepreneurship, encouraging new business starts, promoting business opportunities, managing workspace, project management of the LEADER II programme, office services and consultancy.

As a key member in Enterprising West, the consortium of lead enterprise agencies in the western region, the Centre manages and delivers a Regional Action Plan of business development programmes for Tyrone and Fermanagh supported by the International Fund for Ireland and Invest NI.

Earlier in the day, Sir Reg paid a short informal visit to cement company, Lafarge Ireland Ltd, where he was met by Works Manager, Jim Ruxton. He was accompanied on a tour of the premises by David Millar, Commercial Director Ireland, Lowry Ferguson, Manufacturing Manager and Councillor Trevor Wilson.