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We're off to see great and powerful Woz...

Getting the founding father of modern technology to come and speak in Londonderry is a coup.

That the man who built the first Apple computer is gracing us with his time and insight into the world of technology says a lot about the draw of the north west. But perhaps more of a feather in the cap of the region is the fact they managed to persuade the organisers of such a large and influential conference to come here.

The European Business Network (EBN) is no village fete and attracts some of the most powerful investors the world has to offer, making it a very important place to be for any high-tech company looking for funding.

Luckily for us, we're blessed with a pipeline of high-tech companies just waiting for the opportunity to pitch their wares and there's no doubt Mr Wozniak and his ilk will be impressed with the local sector when they head there in May.

Aside from the focus of the congress, the economic benefits which will come from having such a large business audience in the region for the three-day period will be immense with everything from hotels to restaurants to bars able to benefit.

Attracting more business conferences, which come with the elevated spend of the business traveller, is key to helping the tourism and service industry in Northern Ireland recover its lustre and hopefully the EBN will be the start of many more.

In saying that, it shouldn't be forgotten that we've already managed to attract the biggest business conference of them all, the G8, but that should only be the start of our conferencing ambitions rather than marking the zenith.

Economic benefits from the G8 are difficult to quantify but there's no doubt that particular event will give Northern Ireland one of the best possible opportunities to show off our capabilities we could ask for.

Let's hope we can use it, and the EBN conference, as a window to say to the world that Northern Ireland is a place to do business in, and with.

We've already put in a good showing with the likes of the MTV Awards, the Irish Open and indeed with the opening of the Titanic Building so this year's events should mean we're able to shine even more.

Belfast Telegraph


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