The South Belfast Economic Forum was launched in the Crescent Arts Centre, one of South Belfast’s unique facilities. The Forum was created and is being driven by the South Belfast Partnership Board in order to enhance the economic and employability opportunities of those living in the area and to support existing businesses, whilst also attracting new businesses to the area.
Representatives of independent retailers as well as Queen’s University, Belfast Metropolitan College, Invest NI, DEL and local community and voluntary groups are collaborating in order to target their efforts towards raising the profile of the South Belfast which is often associated with leafy suburbs and students. South Belfast is sometimes overlooked when it comes to the economic and social opportunities and not all of its local communities are flourishing. This innovative and multi-sector partnership will focus on ways of widening the skills base in the area by providing greater support to local businesses and by also identifying potential economic opportunities for local traders and individuals.
Belfast Lord Mayor Councillor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, who helped launch the South Belfast Economic Forum, said:
“I wish this venture every success and pledge my support to do all that I can to endorse and help it achieve its aims. This is part of our city with immense potential, and by focusing our energy we can nurture and promote its vibrancy and all that it has to offer.”
Peter Dixon, Chair of the South Belfast Economic Forum said:
“Sometimes there are misconceptions about South Belfast that economic and social issues are not present, however this is not the case. The South Belfast Economic Forum has been created in order to unlock opportunities for those losing out by matching their skills to the needs of South Belfast businesses. There is a need for skilled employees and motivated job seekers right across south Belfast from Shaftsbury Square to Finaghy.”
Caroline Young, Director of Accommodation and Hospitality at Queen’s University and Chair of the Tourism Working group within the Forum said:
“We are delighted that the South Belfast Partnership Board has taken the initiative to develop the Forum and are excited about the opportunities to develop and grow business within the local area and increase visitor numbers and tourists to South Belfast. It is our hope that we can work in partnership with voluntary and business leaders to create meaningful job placements and apprenticeships for active jobseekers, helping them develop their business acumen which, in turn, will generate a strong and successful business community in South Belfast.”
The Economic Forum is promoting a ‘Digital South’ theme given the myriad of businesses promoting digital media forms in the area. The initial project to be undertaken by the Forum is a ‘Digital South’ Youth Event which will gather schools and community groups to the Lyric Theatre on the 31st March, where local digital media businesses will be showcasing their work and the range of careers available in this field. The Forum will also be promoting a tourism agenda as South Belfast seeks to become an area known for customer service excellence across its service sector attractions and encourages businesses to ‘Go Pink’ for the international biking event G’iro D’italia, which takes part of South Belfast into its route on Friday 9th May.
For more information on the South Belfast Economic Forum please contact Fiona @ [email protected] or call 90244070.