The organisation, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a brand new look, a name change from Ards Business Centre and a new strategic vision, is looking to the future with innovative ideas to stimulate a new generation of entrepreneurs in IT, science and technology, agri-food and the creative industries.
The Chair of Ards Business Hub, David Blevings, speaking at the launch of its new three year strategy, said it would be working even more closely with strategic partners such as Ards and North Down Borough Council and Enterprise NI to transform the economy.
Mr Blevings said the aim is to develop a stronger business base by encouraging start-ups and existing businesses to be more innovative and by targeting those areas with the most potential for growth.
He said: “These ambitious plans involve working with up to 1,000 businesses and individuals in the area over the next three years. We are confident that we can meet those objectives to help attract more inward investment, create sustainable jobs and ensure that more people are working within our area to grow the local economy.”
Ards Business Hub is an independent social enterprise run by a board of nine voluntary directors. As well as providing workspace units ranging from workshops to hi-tech offices it delivers business support programme contracts in partnership with the council and other agencies.
Mayor of Ards and North Down, Alderman Bill Keery, said: “Over the past 30 years, Ards Business Centre – as it was then known – has assisted thousands of businesses, helping many of them to become operational and develop into thriving, profitable companies.”
“The Centre is now celebrating its 30th anniversary and has been rebranded to Ards Business Hub. Combined with a three-year strategic plan, this signifies an exciting new era that will help the local economy grow even further.”
“Ards Business Hub will provide support to businesses which will help to create more investment and more jobs in Ards and North Down, ensuring that a diverse range of businesses thrive for many years to come.”
As the organisation looks to the future, it is celebrating the achievements of the past three decades which include assisting with the start-up and development of more than 2,500 SMEs. With three business parks providing over 80,000 square feet of lettable space, the organisation is now looking to develop a fourth site.
The new strategy targets a number of key objectives over three years, which include providing enterprise awareness support to 350 individuals; business start-up support to 250 individuals; business development support to 100 existing SME’s; innovative support services targeted at 200 creative businesses and 30 artisan food makers; and to develop a co-working space used by 25 SMEs
To find more about Ards Business Hub go to www.ardsbusiness.com.