Top awards at the Enterprise NI Conference

Omagh Enterprise Company were the recipient of two awards at the Enterprise Northern Ireland 10th Anniversary “Growing the Private Sector” conference, held recently at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast. The company received the award for the best overall delivery throughout the 32 Enterprise Agencies of the Exploring Enterprise Programme and the best Regional delivery of the Social Entrepreneurship Programme.  Both these programmes encourage and support business start up in the area.

Enterprise Northern Ireland, the organisation representing the network of local enterprise agencies in Northern Ireland hosted the large event which aimed to showcase the work of the local enterprise agency network and highlight the contribution that agencies have made to the Northern Ireland economy. The event which was sponsored by BT and Ulster Bank was attended by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Owen Patterson.

Secretary of State Owen Patterson stated: “What we have to do is build the private sector by looking at ways in which we can turn Northern Ireland into an Enterprise zone. We need to make Northern Ireland increasingly attractive to inward investments and encourage indigenous industries to grow and prosper. Everyone I have spoken to who has had experience of doing business in NI speaks highly of the quality of work force, of the availability of well educated young people, of the advantage of good infrastructure, broadband availability and the highly competitive cost base. There is so much going for NI that can be built on given the right environment.”

Chief Executive of Omagh Enterprise Company Dr Nicholas O’Shiel commented on the organisation’s success: “We are delighted to have received this recognition today, considering there are 32 enterprise agencies across NI all of which work tirelessly to innovate, inspire and support start-up and growth businesses. These awards are testament to the high quality support available in the Omagh area to individuals who wish to embrace a new business idea.”

He added: “There needs to be a change in our political and educational thinking and it must focus on the issue of job creation. From a political perspective, we have to put a greater focus on how to create the jobs we need. The most direct way is to encourage more new start-up businesses and support the growth of existing businesses – because ultimately most jobs in the economy are created from the ground up by start-ups and small companies.

From an educational perspective, we must realise it is no longer sufficient to train our young people in the traditional linear way to simply be ‘good employees’. We need to teach people how to think more creatively, so they can be ‘good employers’ and help create the jobs we need. In order to do this, we have to focus on the contribution that start-up and growth businesses make to our economy and our society. The only way for us to afford the health service, the education system, and the public services we want is to create more jobs”.

Mary MacRory, ICT and Business Development Manager at Omagh Enterprise Company stated: “These awards are testament to the hard work of the staff and highlight the contribution agencies such as Omagh Enterprise Company make to our economy. In the past year alone we have helped support 104 clients to successfully start up their own business. We appreciate that taking the first step in the current financial and economic climate can be a challenge without the right support, which is why we offer a number of specifically tailored programmes free of charge to support start-up and growth businesses.

We would encourage anyone who has thought of starting a business or simply has a business idea to contact Maureen on 028 82 249494 or alternatively via email at for further information.”