Castlebar Chamber of Commerce Enterprise Development group hosted a very successful business seminar last Tuesday evening in GMIT, Castlebar.
This was the first in a number of initiatives to support enterprise development in Castlebar and to develop improved infrastructure and support services for new and existing small and medium sized businesses.
The Western Development Commission CEO Lisa McAllister and her colleagues gave comprehensive presentations followed by a discussion on the key sectors of our local economy and what they can do to assist.
One of the aspects of their work is the provision of risk capital to viable business proposals where normal venture capital is not available in the west of Ireland. To date their investment fund has invested €33 million in 83 projects and this has also enabled additional project financing for many projects.
The WDC LookWest.ie campaign is really gaining popularity and momentum and is a great on-line resource to individuals and businesses who are considering locating or relocation to the west.
Key indigenous sectors where significant opportunities are envisaged are the creative sector, renewable energy, and IT.
One of the more controversial discussion topics identified on the evening was that Castlebar lost its eligibility to apply for Leader funds because it has been assigned hub status under the National Development Plan and the National Spatial Strategy.
Many of these topics will be revisited in detail in the months ahead with a view to addressing the gaps that exist.
Castlebar Chamber wishes to thank the WDC for its time and the quality of its presentations and also GMIT for hosting the event.