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Attitude determines the altitude of our high-fliers

You've heard it all before: "Entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of the local economy."

But don't dismiss it as it really is easy to forget how important a thriving entrepreneurial spirit is to driving a productive and profitable economy, one which is able to compete on a global basis.

In today's straitened economic times,it's even more important to have people willing to risk it all in the pursuit of profit, but such a move is easier said than done. For one thing, the natural inclination in a storm is to hunker down and batten the hatches until calmer weather emerges. Overcoming such a natural instinct is difficult but there are rewards for those brave enough to try in the form of reduced competition on the sales side and being able to operate in a buyer's market when it comes to sourcing raw materials.

For others who embark on this route there's less of a decision to be made. Some are forced to carve an entrepreneurial niche for themselves, whether because of redundancy or simply that it's in their DNA.

It doesn't matter which category you belong to as long as you give it a go, and it's great to see the likes of the Ernst -amp; Young Entrepreneur of the Year programme recognising the achievements of some of our best in show such as Brian Conlon of First Derivatives

But it's all about attitude. If we can adopt the culture of countries such as the US, where failure as an entrepreneur is seen as a rite of passage rather than the death knell of a promising career, then there's no doubt our economy has the capacity to spring free from the shackles of recessionary chains which still hold a tentative grasp on us.

And there's no time for self doubt because when it's all boiled down there's little difference between those once-common local street vendors who used to sell three lighters for a pound on the streets of our towns and cities than the likes of Sir Alan Sugar or Sir Richard Branson (apart from a couple of knighthoods). Entrepreneurs every one of them - some more successful than others but all key to grabbing our economy by the scruff of the neck and pulling it onto the pathway of sustained and prolonged growth.

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We've proved we have plenty of people willing to give it a go and now we need government and the private sector to make sure that fire spirit isn't snuffed out but nurtured and fed.