Council Chair hosts Business Conference to support the local economy

3rd May 2024

Chair's Conference Launch Photo (May 2024)

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council’s Chair, Councillor Thomas O’Reilly, is hosting a Business Conference on Thursday 23 May 2024 in the Lough Erne Golf Resort, Enniskillen.

The event, which is open to all businesses, will focus on the future of our local economy with the aim of boosting growth and productivity, and achieving regional balance.

The Conference Keynote Speaker, Mr Ian Snowden, Interim Permanent Secretary for the Department for the Economy, will outline the Department’s Economic Vision set out by Minister Conor Murphy earlier this year which has four inter-related objectives; increasing the number of good jobs, raising productivity, promoting regional balance and reducing carbon emissions.

Fermanagh and Omagh is renowned for being an entrepreneurial region.  In recognition of this, the conference will provide advice and support to ensure the survival, sustainability and growth of businesses.

Speaking about the conference, the Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Thomas O’Reilly, said:

“I am delighted to be hosting the Council’s Business Conference as part of my series of events to support our local businesses and the economy.

Achieving regional balance requires investment in infrastructure, skills, innovation and enterprise.  This event will provide an opportunity for businesses to hear from various speakers on how we can take advantage of opportunities to achieve this and enhance our local economy to ensure it can continue to thrive in an inclusive and sustainable way.

I would encourage businesses, particularly those in the district, to attend as first-hand knowledge and experience is crucial to ensure we can work together to benefit everyone.”

A variety of other speakers will also be in attendance at the Conference to discuss the economic strengths and opportunities in the Fermanagh and Omagh District.

Emma Weaver who is a thought leader in the industry of mental wealth. She has dedicated over two decades to empowering individuals and organisations worldwide to prioritise mental wellbeing.  Founder of Mental Wealth International, Emma’s visionary leadership drives initiatives that foster resilience and growth, important factors for any business.  Emma is a best-selling author and a successful businesswoman who mentors and supports e-commerce ventures and a diverse range of businesses, striving to unlock their potential.

Martin McKendry, Director of Cafre, has over 30 years experience in agri-food education.  Cafre is the only agri-food college in Northern Ireland delivering knowledge transfer programmes to over 10,000 people working in the agri-food sector.  The Council is pleased to have a campus in Enniskillen delivering equine courses and providing excellent opportunities for students to gain experience with renowned international companies in the equine industry.

Niall O’Donnellan, Senior Research Associate at the Centre for Cross Border Studies, will focus on the ‘Prospect of Economic and Social Growth in the Southern North West with Fermanagh and Omagh as the key regional driver and catalyst’.  Niall has worked in a range of roles in economic development and is an independent strategy advisor/mentor and development economist.

Focussing on the importance of a good workforce and good jobs, Dr Lisa Wilson, Senior Economist at the Nevin Economic Research Institute, has carried out a range of work in areas related to the labour market.  Lisa is also an independent expert to the Minister for the Economy and is dedicated to advancing the wellbeing of individuals and communities.

Professor David Rooney, School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Queens University Belfast, will share his knowledge and experience of the green economy.  David’s research focuses on energy systems, particularly those at the interface between renewable energy generation, agri-tech and manufacturing.  These systems collectively contribute to achieving net-zero and addressing climate change across many parts of the world.

The MC for the event is BBC NI Journalist, Louise Cullen who has over 20 years’ experience in journalism across various roles and is currently the BBC NI Agriculture and Environment Correspondent.

Further speakers will be announced in the coming weeks.

Various organisations, including the Council’s Economic Development Team, Invest NI and the Business Team from South West College, will also be in attendance at the conference to provide Business Support advice to suit a range of businesses in the district.

Further information on the Conference will be available on the Council’s social media channels.  Click Here to register online by Monday 20 May 2024 at 12 noon.