More than 1,000 delegates from the small and medium sized business sector across the globe are meeting in Belfast today to discuss how to maintain their competitiveness in the current economic downturn.
They are attending the International Small Business Congress (ISBC) — being held in Ireland for the first time — and the Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ISBE) conferences. Those at the four-day gatherings in the Europa Hotel represent the cream of SME practitioners, policymakers and academics.
Professor Ken O’Neill, Professor of Enterprise and Small Business Development at the University of Ulster, who is largely responsible for attracting the conferences to Northern Ireland, said: “There are many issues affecting SMEs in the current economic climate and this is the first opportunity for experts from the sector worldwide to meet and discuss the way forward.
“Delegates will be putting forward their views on how the financial institutions and the policy makers can help the sector weather the current economic storm. We have a distinguished list of keynote speakers who will bring their own expertise and experience to bear on the discussions.”
Among those speaking at the conference are Padraic White, former managing director of the Industrial Development Authority in the Republic of Ireland; Graham Davis, director of regional economic development, Invest NI and Professor Jim Bell, professor of international business entrepreneurship, University of Ulster.