Europe's high flyers jet in for prestigious innovation workshop
Some100 business leaders, policy makers and academics from 17 regions across Europe are in Belfast this week to hear how Northern Ireland has transformed its economy through innovation.
The three-day event takes the form of a workshop focusing on service innovation and is the result of Northern Ireland being selected as one of six 'model demonstrator' regions of Europe and subsequently winning the bid to host the workshop.
Delegates also include representatives from the EU Commission and the European Service Innovation Centre.
The workshop is organised by the European Commission's Enterprise and Industry Directorate-General in co-operation with Invest Northern Ireland and acts as a forum for discussing economic challenges that can be addressed through service innovation, sharing experience and setting an agenda for change towards service-driven economies.
Welcoming the delegates, Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster (left) said that she was delighted that Northern Ireland was chosen as host of the workshop.
"It reflects an appreciation of how Belfast has used innovation as a driver for change following the decline of its traditional industries," she said.
"The city has applied old skill sets to new sectors and developed global partnerships in order to exploit emerging economic opportunities.
"A number of Northern Ireland businesses are working with global partners on projects across a range of diverse sectors such as broadcasting, advanced materials and energy, thereby ensuring a competitive economic landscape for Belfast in the 21st century."