How the business world is critical in helping the Mid South West Regional Economic Strategy reach its aim of supercharging the region’s economy

Companies have an important role to play in supercharging the Mid South West’s (MSW) economy as part of a unique collaboration between three of Northern Ireland’s most dynamic councils.

That’s the conclusion of the Mid South West Regional Economic Strategy which has been developed with the aim of boosting productivity across the three council areas of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council and Mid Ulster District Council.

The input from businesses across a range of sectors has been instrumental in helping to shape the strategy by identifying areas where investment is needed to allow them to grow unimpeded and their continued input will be vital as the strategy is rolled out in the coming months and years, according to councillor Robert Irvine, chairman of the Mid South West Region Governance Steering Group.

“Business sits at the heart of this strategy and will be fundamental in ensuring that the Mid South West’s economy flourishes in the future,” he said. “We have geared the actions identified in the strategy towards addressing business needs and areas of deficit in order to provide businesses, that are already proficient, with the optimum conditions for them to maximise their potential, not just locally but internationally. By targeting investment we will reinforce the region’s sectoral strengths in manufacturing, engineering, agri-food, health and life sciences, tourism and construction as well as in a fast-growing digital tech sector.

“The Mid South West Business Reference Group has provided invaluable insight into the development of the strategy and will continue to play an important roll in its delivery. Our ambitions for the Mid South West economy are far reaching, but we are confident that with the support of businesses and all stakeholders in the region they are wholly achievable.”

The Mid South West Regional Economic Strategy identifies challenges and opportunities and sets out four pillars to guide investment and grow the collective economy. The pillars are: future proofing the skills base, enabling infrastructure, boosting innovation and digital capacity and building a high performing tourism economy.

By focusing on those areas, the overriding goals of increasing productivity, driving business growth and competitiveness, fully realising sectoral strengths and opportunities, creating more and better-paid jobs and ensuring the ongoing internationalisation of MSW can be achieved.

The strategy will enable the Mid South West Region to leverage financial investment from a range of sources – such as the £250m Growth Deal funding committed by the UK Government and Northern Ireland Executive, the PEACE PLUS Programme, the UK Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund, Innovate UK and other central government funding.

The strategy was launched by First Minister Arlene Foster MLA and deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill MLA at a socially-distanced event held near Dungannon at the premises of EDGE Innovate, one of the companies represented on the Business Reference Group.

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