Forum to focus on economic development of West Cork

The future development of West Cork’s economy will come under the spotlight at a special meeting later this week.

A number of experts will address the forum, which is being organised by West Cork Development Partnership and will focus on employment, economic development and innovation. Speakers will discuss and review the impact of the contraction in the economy, increased emigration, the return to high unemployment and broadband connectivity.

The event will take place at Kilmacsimon Community Centre on Friday from 9am to 4.30pm.

WCDP chief executive Ian Dempsey said his organisation was proud to present one of the most comprehensive ever analyses of economic development in West Cork. “It’s one which charts significant changes in enterprise development, employment and business formation and decline in the period 2006-2012,” he said.

“The analysis charts key changes in the local economy and will be of interest to all with a role in planning and delivering economic and enterprise development policy in the region.”

He said contributors would look at the key sectors which drive economic growth locally, what skills deficits were apparent, and how important tourism and agri-food business were to the region.

Mr Dempsey said the forum would also examine where wealth was created and by whom, as well as the critical success factors in building resilient and innovative enterprises.

Dr Bernadette Power of UCC’s department of economic research, will be one of the speakers. Others include Justin Doran, UCC department of economics, who will provide an analysis of Ownership, Exports and Gross Value Added in West Cork Firms, as well as UCC Entrepreneur in Residence, Owen O’Brien and Sean McNulty, chief executive of Dolmen.

They will each share their perspectives on the opportunities for West Cork businesses and on the types of supports that can best help business owners to achieve their ambitions.

“Our current mindset and approach to supporting business development is seriously flawed: built on a logic over years where the past predicted the future with certainty, and change happened over decades,” Mr McNulty said. “I will highlight three things that we should and can change in our approach right now.”

Patrick Neary, technical director of the National Broadband Plan with the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources will discuss the future of broadband infrastructure. The development partnership has invested over €4m in support and funding to businesses in West Cork over the past six years.


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