Creating the new Midlands Economy

Some 75 business leaders representing key players in renewable technology, tourism, arts and crafts, technology, and food came together this week in Tullamore to develop their plans for a new Midlands economy, based on co-operation and innovation.

The event was facilitated by regional development agency Atlantic Corridor and Bord na Mona, a company which has a large presence and long history in the Midlands region of Ireland. Focussing on how companies in the region can work together to create new opportunities that will generate enterprise and employment, the workshop was characterised by lively group discussions and debate.

Gabriel D’Arcy, CEO of Bord na Mona commented, “Having attended many workshops and think-ins on enterprise, this event was truly different. All the opportunities identified were identified by those in business themselves in food, arts and crafts, technology, and so on. These people know their businesses better than anyone and what is needed to support and grow their businesses in the Midlands. It was an inspiring and energising event and I look forward to working on the various outcomes over the coming months with everyone involved.”

Companies participating in the event included companies as diverse as the award-winning food producer Glenisk, the Celtic Roots Studio, the Clay Pipe Centre, the Flatbread Company, Grant Engineering, and Grouse Lodge Studio. The workshop was facilitated by O’Kelly Sutton, a leading strategy and management consultancy. Acknowledging the strengths of the region in energy, life-sciences, crafts and tourism, participants worked together to develop plans for the Midlands region focusing on various sectors that have opportunities for growth. The workshop was developed by regional development agency Atlantic Corridor and CEO of Atlantic Corridor Jackie Gorman commented, “We look forward to working with everyone who participated today in developing the suggestions they have made with such energy and enthusiasm. We were fortunate to have not just the support of Bord na Mona but also industry leaders such as Jim O’Hara of Intel, Lulu O’Sullivan of giftsdirect.com, and others who took time to facilitate group discussions and share their invaluable experience. ”

In a speech delivered at the start of the event, Paul Carroll, business development director of CPL made an interesting observation, “If you transpose a map of North Carolina onto the map of Ireland and align the three universities with those of Dublin, Cork, and Galway then the research triangle park maps directly over Tullamore. We need to change the focus from decentralise to recentralise.”

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