Odyssey Draws Largest Ever Crowd to Show

Belfast's Odyssey Arena rocked at the weekend, not to the usual sound of concert goers or ice hockey fans, but to the buzzing of potential entrepreneurs, as over 4,100 people attended the first of Invest Northern Irelands Start a Business Shows.

Over the two days, members of the public of all ages and from all walks of life, visited the largest such show ever to be held on the island of Ireland, to find out more about the challenges, opportunities and support available. Over 150 business advisors, drawn from the wider enterprise community, were on hand to provide advice, guidance and encouragement to those individuals thinking, planning, researching and preparing to Go for it and start a business.

Professor Terri Scott, Managing Director Entrepreneurship at Invest NI said; “We are absolutely delighted by the interest shown over the weekend. Many people obviously came to the show with clear business ideas which they are interested in pursuing, including from high tech, low tech and no tech. Over 580 appointments were made by visitors to progress their ideas further, with over 50 of these being in potential high growth sectors.

“The task now is to follow up and provide the support necessary to help these people move to the next stage and convert their enquiries into businesses. The attendance at the show clearly illustrates that there is a huge pool of latent talent in Northern Ireland.

“An event of this scale owes its success to the co-operation Invest NI received from our enterprise partners and the private sector, and also to the individuals, from all walks of life, who came in their thousands to find out more about the help available to start a business.”

The special seminars given by three international guest speakers Watt Nicol, Larry Farrell and Sahar Hashemi, were full to capacity, attracting over 1,700 people.