One of Northern Ireland’s top business enterprise centres helped to create 235 jobs in new start-up companies this year with a financial boost of £5m to the economy.
LEDCOM (Local Economic Development Company) in Larne also provided opportunities to more than 1,000 people with a range of skills development programmes.
The figures were revealed at the social enterprise’s AGM as it unveiled its new chair, Dr. Norman Apsley, former CEO of Catalyst Inc.
The directors’ report highlighted LEDCOM’s social and economic impact by injecting almost £350,000 into the wider social economy and delivering support to 157 business and social enterprise start-ups.
CEO Ken Nelson described this year’s figures as “excellent”, saying that it “showed that LEDCOM was continuing its key role in supporting economic development across Antrim and Newtownabbey and Mid and East Antrim areas working in partnership with local councils and other bodies”.
Mr Nelson welcomed the appointment of Dr Apsley, who is taking over from Henry Fletcher who served with distinction in the post for six years.
“Dr. Apsley has a long and distinguished career in business, including 18 years as CEO of Catalyst Inc, formerly the Northern Ireland Science Park.
“He is dedicated to the promotion of innovation and enterprise and we look forward to his advice and influence. I would also like to pay tribute to our outgoing chair Henry Fletcher who has been a great servant to LEDCOM and the business life of this area for many years.”
Dr. Apsley said he looked forward to the challenge of working with one of Northern Ireland’s longest established enterprise agencies: “LEDCOM’s record of economic development in Northern Ireland over more than 33 years is second to none. It has continually adapted to changing circumstances and has been at the forefront of enterprise, innovation and business support. I hope that my experience will help to add value to its ongoing work.”
The company currently has 54 tenant businesses and 350 employment and training places at its business parks and continues to offer managed workspace with “wrap round” support to encourage new businesses to develop and grow.