Food for thought at Mayor’s Conference

Ciarán Staunton
by Ciarán Staunton on April 17, 2014.

On Wednesday morning the Mayor opened up his annual conference in Blanchardstown emphasising the theme “Working Together for Success”.

On Wednesday morning the Mayor opened up his annual conference in Blanchardstown by emphasising the theme “Working Together for Success”. His opening speech focused on the experience that as we move away from recession people and businesses of Fingal enjoy an enviable position in terms of people,  infrastructure and opportunity.

Those in attendance got to hear from the new Director of Economic Development Services Ethna Feltan who explained the changing role of the Local Authority due to changes in the economy and at a policy level in national government. This has resulted in the beefing up of services to business in Fingal, as well as the absorption of the County Enterprise Board into the Local Authority in the context of the Local Enterprise Office.

Newly appointed County Manager Paul Reid was welcomed on stage for his first public meeting with the businesses of Fingal. Paul explained that within his first two weeks in the job Fingal had enjoyed significant jobs announcements from Alexion and Ryanair. He outlined that there is now a strong team within the Council, and one that is well able to meet the challenges ahead as we make Fingal the best customer service ethos to businesses across all Council services.

Oisín Geoghegan Head of Local Enterprise elaborated on how the creation of the Local Enterprise Office (LEO) meant that all the previous County Enterprise Board services would be maintained, and that new services would be developed as the LEO would be partly staffed by Economic Development Unit staff from the Council. Oisín stated that the LEO is very much open for business and that he looked forward to a new era of supporting Enterprise under the banner of LEO.

Keynote speaker Susan Hayes (also known as the positive economist) had the audience enthralled with her inimitable style and energy setting out how “Fingal has an enviable economic environment” with three unique selling points, namely; Dublin Airport, your young population and your world leading food industry”. Susan offered ten simple ideas that can be done by businesses to increase the visibility of the Fingal Economy.

Dominic Byrne and Ciarán Staunton explained how Fingal County Council has amassed significant experience of data sharing and data analytics and outlined ideas that were formed by businesses in this area. It was recognised that both the Council itself and the businesses all over Fingal require data to support decision making and market intelligence. Future plans which will lead to new data supports to businesses were outlined.

Rachel Lindsay outlined an ideas process run by Fingal County Council in March 2014. This process allowed business leaders to form suggestions for the Council to develop new services. Rachel explained how these ideas are being scrutinised and evaluated and that the Council would incorporate some of these ideas and comments in the Economic Development Plan.

Nicholas O’Kane described what will be known as the Northwest Enterprise Zone with a diverse cluster of 20 business parks under a single brand to encourage and attract new business and maximise the potential of this area. This area has 700 hectares of zoned and serviced land ready for development and as the economy recovers this will allow Fingal to concentrate its economic growth.

The second keynote speaker was DIT Professor of Entrepreneurship Tom Cooney. Professor Cooney told the audience that “Entrepreneurs need to be the leaders of any successful start-up community” and that Government hierarchies are not a good structure to pro“Migrant communities in Fingal have huge untapped potential for entrepreneurship and international trade”.

In his closing address Mayor Dennison sent a mixed audience of business leaders, economic experts and key state support agencies off with new thoughts. Fingal County Council will open a new chapter in its relationship with local businesses. By working together for success both the Council and the businesses of Fingal will enjoy a bright future.

All presentations are available here: http://slidesha.re/1gBLBzU