Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster, addressed delegates from across the globe at the 11th UK Business Incubation (UKBI) conference, held in Belfast.
UKBI is the professional body for the business incubation industry. With over 1,000 members it works to help create the right environment for entrepreneurs and innovative young businesses to succeed. UKBI partnered with Enterprise Northern Ireland, the membership body for the local enterprise agency network, to bring the conference to Northern Ireland for the first time.
Addressing the opening session of the conference the Minister said: “By nurturing innovation from the earliest stages, we give young companies the best chance of success. Often, highly innovative young businesses require specialised support. An effective incubation process can make a significant difference to the speed of commercialisation of innovative ideas and to the survival rates of early stage businesses.
“This conference is an opportunity for leaders in the field of business incubation to share their insights and experience and to help all those involved in business incubation to achieve best practice.
“My department’s focus, realised through Invest Northern Ireland, is to offer a sophisticated suite of support for the business incubation process, prioritising those projects that have the potential to add the most value to the Northern Ireland economy.
“This takes the form of specialised programmes of support that address the key concerns of young innovative businesses such as attracting investment, protecting intellectual property, funding prototypes, and establishing a market presence.”
The conference theme is ‘Driving Forward Economic Recovery’ and it ran from 1–3 December.