Mid Ulster has been confirmed as the ‘most entrepreneurial’ region in the latest report to be published on Northern Ireland’s level of entrepreneurship.
The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) report is an international project which involves 65 countries and measures the entrepreneurial activity of working age adults, providing data which allows comparisons and benchmarking between and within participating countries.
Invest Northern Ireland sponsors the Northern Ireland element of the annual report, which was launched at an event hosted by Mid Ulster District Council in Cookstown, where delegates heard from the report authors, Professor Mark Hart from Aston Business School and Dr Karen Bonner, QUB, and from Patricia Devine, Entrepreneurship Manager from Invest NI. Speaking at the event, Deputy Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Councillor Mark Glasgow, said:
“Mid Ulster boasts the largest business base outside of Belfast, being home to just over 8,000 registered businesses, and we are justifiably proud of this region’s strong entrepreneurial reputation.
“Statistics show that 91.7% of businesses employ 9 people or less and 98.5% employ 49 or less, so to say that business starts form the backbone of our economy is no exaggeration.
“The GEM report demonstrates very clearly that the enterprising nature of our population is a crucial factor in economic growth and development and as a Council, we in Mid Ulster are committed to ensuring our support for our home-grown industry”.
Prof Mark Hart, Deputy Director of the Enterprise Research Centre at Aston Business School, said: "The evidence from the latest GEM data for Northern Ireland paints a very positive picture of the entrepreneurial ambitions of many individuals and communities. The level of new venture creation in Northern Ireland has increased significantly since we began the GEM NI survey 15 years ago - especially in rural areas. This is an important feature of the local economy which cannot be jeopardised as a result of any uncertainty over future trade relations on the island of Ireland."
Invest NI’s Patricia Devine added: “Northern Ireland has a thriving business community and a supportive environment where Invest NI and councils are among the many providers of support for economic development.
“Stimulating entrepreneurship remains an important challenge and local councils are working collaboratively to support entrepreneurs to create new businesses in Northern Ireland. We want to make Northern Ireland the best region in which to start, and grow, a business. This latest GEM report is a helpful resource that aligns with our Business Strategy priorities.”