Pictured are event sponsors (L-R)
Alastair Keith, A&L Goodbody; Francis Martin, BDO NI; Geoff Sharpe, Danske Bank and Mark Fahy, London Stock Exchange

NORTHERN Ireland’s future prosperity hinges on the growth ambition of mid-sized companies, a panel of industry finance specialists will tell entrepreneurs at a major conference beginning today (Thursday) at the Slieve Donard Hotel, Newcastle.

Now in its second year and co-sponsored by BDO Northern Ireland, Danske Bank, A&L Goodbody and the London Stock Exchange, the “Aspire: Driving Ambition, Accelerating Growth”conference is designed to challenge and assist organisations that are ready to scale up and progress to the next stage of their growth journey.

Taking place ahead of the second anniversary of the EU referendum, the two-day conference brings together a band of high performing businesses that have demonstrated the ambition and ability to develop new ideas and reach new levels of success.

Francis Martin, Partner at BDO Northern Ireland said:

“We advise many small to mid-sized businesses and know that scaling up can be a daunting process. Without proper guidance, it can be time consuming and challenging, but we need more dynamic companies to fully realise the scale of their potential.

“This conference is about giving them the opportunity to engage, network and learn from others who have similar growth aspirations and objectives.

“Entrepreneurially spirited businesses are the engine of our economy and should be given the support and confidence needed to fully progress in their growth journey.

“We have focused the event on four key drivers that can propel short to medium term growth and, in doing so, improve the balance and competitiveness of the Northern Ireland economy.”

Co-Sponsor of the conference, Geoff Sharpe, Head of Corporate, Danske Bank added:

“Danske Bank is committed to supporting ambitious local companies whether they are seeking to expand into new markets, recruit additional staff or invest in improving their infrastructure.

“We have no shortage of successful, entrepreneurial businesses here in NI, with growth coming from a number of sectors of the economy.

“At Danske, we want to play our part in making sure more of them are equipped to take the next steps towards scaling up.

 “The benefits of SME business owners being able to collaborate and share their experiences with peers who are facing the same risks or going through the same challenges should not be underestimated.”

Mark Fahy, Head of the UK Small & Mid-Cap team, London Stock Exchange, added:

“London Stock Exchange Group is committed to championing businesses from across the UK, giving them access to the capital, skills and networks they need to grow.

“AIM, the world’s leading growth market, has supported more than 3,800 businesses raise over £100 billion of long-term patient capital. LSEG’s businesses support and capital raising programme, ELITE, has supported over 130 UK businesses, including 5 from Northern Ireland, access funding and mentoring to help them scale-up.

“We were delighted to see 18 Northern Irish companies in our 2018 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain report, which highlights 1000 of the fastest growing businesses across the country.”

the Aspire conference takes place at the Slieve Donard Hotel, Newcastle on 14th and 15th June and will be facilitated by BBC’s Mark Simpson.

Leading Dublin writer and broadcaster, Matt Cooper, will address a Networking Dinner on Thursday 14th June.

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