£5m boost for the East Antrim economy

More than 200 jobs have been created in East Antrim resulting in a £5m boost to the economy thanks to the support of a Larne-based enterprise company.

Dr Jim McIlroy, (left) head of operations at Millicent Pharma; Kevin Holland, the new CEO of Invest NI and Ken Nelson, CEO of LEDCOM
Dr Jim McIlroy, (left) head of operations at Millicent Pharma; Kevin Holland, the new CEO of Invest NI and Ken Nelson, CEO of LEDCOM

The figures were highlighted in the directors’ report at the AGM of LEDCOM (Local Economic Development Company), which operates in Mid and East Antrim and Antrim and Newtownabbey council areas.

LEDCOM chair Dr Norman Apsley said the organisation has helped support thousands of business start-ups since its’ formation in 1985.

Mr. Apsley said: “In the midst of economic challenges, including the closure of large manufacturing employers, LEDCOM has worked hard to develop new opportunities by encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation.

“This year there are 224 more people in employment through a mix of programmes, mentoring and targeted support. We have also helped support a further 942 individuals offering a better future to unemployed young people, the long term unemployed and people with disabilities.”

The directors’ report underlined LEDCOM’s social and economic impact with more than £400,000 poured into the wider social economy, with the organisation delivering support to 155 business and social enterprise start-ups.

LEDCOM, in association with Intertrade Ireland and Enterprise, delivered the Co-Innovate Programme designed to support SMEs and micro-businesses in Northern Ireland and the Border Region to develop and improve their innovation capabilities and boost cross border trade.

It also provided mentoring and business support for small businesses by delivering a range of enterprise initiatives for local councils and Enterprise NI including the Northern Ireland Business Start Programme; Exploring Enterprise 4, the ASK/Amplify Programme and the Kickstart Programme.

With EU Peace IV funding LEDCOM has developed and delivered a range of initiatives supporting community groups, young people and women. These include Fresh Frontiers, a cross community youth development programme and The Women Interacting Sharing and Engagement (WISE) programme, a cross-community women’s development project in the Mid and East Antrim area.

The keynote speaker at the AGM event was Dr Jim McIlroy, head of operations at Millicent Pharma, who spoke about how a start-up pharmaceuticals company with global ambitions set up in Larne, backed by one of the world’s largest equity firms, the Carlyle Group. Also attending was the newly appointed CEO of Invest NI, Kevin Holland who shared his ambitions for Invest NI and the Northern Ireland economy.

The company currently has 57 tenant businesses and 350 employment and training places at its business parks and continues to offer managed workspace with wrap round support to encourage new businesses to develop and grow.