Council celebrates European award

Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council recently held events to celebrate Northern Ireland receiving the European Entrepreneurial Region (EER) Award this year.

The guest speaker was Joanna Drake, Director for Entrepreneurship & SMEs within the European Commission in Brussels. Joanna spoke at the two council organised events held in Lagan Valley Island and Hilden Brewery respectively.

Alderman Allan Ewart, Chairman of the Council’s Development Committee, speaking at the business event in Lagan Valley Island, said: “I am delighted that the Council could host this event to bring local SMEs and key stakeholders together to explore how they can best benefit from Northern Ireland receiving the EER Award. Within the Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council area, the receipt of this award will enhance our investment proposition and sends a positive message that it is a city, which supports entrepreneurship and small businesses.

The Council has a direct link into EU SME development policy and can ensure that the needs of the local private sector are represented at a high level in the EU, and this will be built upon locally,” concluded Alderman Ewart.

Joanne Drake spoke about the current thinking within the Commission on entrepreneurship and SME policy. She also highlighted the several support networks that the Commission sponsors to provide support and information to SMEs wishing to boost their business.

During the lunchtime event, Joanna also took questions from these present to identify ways that could be strengthened between Northern Ireland and the EU Commission for the benefit of local SMEs.

The Mayor, Councillor Thomas Beckett, speaking at the evening event in Hilden Brewery, said: “Within the Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council area there is tremendous support offered to local businesses including a Soft Landing Programme to offer support to those businesses that have recently invested in the area.”