Carrickfergus Enterprise pointed to an increase in local business confidence as the company held its annual general meeting.
This is evidenced through the continued upward trend in occupancy levels at its Meadowbank Road site as well as an increase in the volume of clients it has assisted in 2013 through business support programmes.
Many of its tenant businesses continue to prosper within the borough, taking on additional staff, investing in equipment and developing their sales potential both in the home market and further afield. Leading examples include Advanced Sensors, Old Mill Whips, Marapco and Bio Colour.
In his report, Billy Adamson, chairman of Carrickfergus Enterprise, highlighted achievements across the key areas of workspace, conference hire and business support delivery. Occupancy levels have remained high with over 35 firms located at the site employing over 130 staff.
The company aims to capitalise on the renewed confidence and demand for workspace with a phase 4 development. It is developing a business case and sourcing finance to fund this. Planning permission has also been recently renewed on its Cheston Street premises, a reflection of the upturn in the property market.
Mr Adamson reported that 2013 had been one of the busiest years to date with targets surpassed in all business support areas including Regional Start Initiative, Steps to Work, as well as Carrickfergus Council’s Business Improvement Programme.
The latter, according to Carrickfergus Enterprise, is particularly important given the lack of post start mentoring available to the small business sector.
“Carrickfergus Enterprise is delighted that Carrickfergus Borough Council recognise the critical and timely support the programme offers and are grateful that they continue to provide funding to deliver this initiative in the local area.”
Mr Adamson added that “2013 can be seen as a watershed year for the province as the Review of Public Administration has now been resolved and a shadow transition administration of the new 11 ‘super councils’ is now in place”.
The chairman went on to say the economic climate, Review of Public Administration and other developments in the economic sector will raise fresh challenges but with 33 years behind it the company will rise to these by extending its portfolio of services and potential business opportunities. It will also pursue new avenues of investment.