The different approaches that are being adopted internationally to stimulate business start-ups were the subject of a mini-conference held yesterday as part of the 48th World Conference organised by the International Council for Small Business.

The mini-conference was sponsored by Invest Northern Ireland who are co-hosts of the prestigious international conference taking place this week in Belfast.

Leading the Stimulating Start-ups mini-conference was Professor Mark Hart from the Kingston University in London and Maureen O Reilly, senior research officer at the Northern Ireland Economic Research Centre. Other expert speakers included Professor Terri Scott, Managing Director of Entrepreneurship and Enterprise in Invest NI.

Professor Scott commented: “Stimulating business starts is a priority for governments worldwide and this event gives us a valuable insight into approaches elsewhere.

“Invest NI’s Accelerating Entrepreneurship Strategy will be launched later this month. This international conference provides an opportunity to benchmark our Strategy against the strategies of other economic development organisations worldwide and to exchange ideas with leading edge researchers and practitioners. “

A highlight of the mini-conference was a Celtic Forum in which Invest NI, Enterprise Ireland, Scottish Enterprise and the Welsh Development Agency came together to discuss their differing approaches to supporting and promoting entrepreneurship.

The Stimulating Start-ups mini-conference is one of four mini- conferences taking place as part of the ICSB international conference. The major conference, which presents an 18 track programme of events, is co-hosted by Invest Northern Ireland and the University of Ulster, in association with Belfast City Council.

The theme of this year’s conference is ‘Advancing Entrepreneurship and Small Business’. Over 800 delegates from 61 countries are attending the conference to discuss the latest research, policy and best practice for small business. This is the first time in its 47-year history that the prestigious conference has been held in the United Kingdom or Ireland.