” Entrepreneurship is about building strong communities. It is about creating jobs and making business play its part in forming a better society for each of us to live and work in”

Gerry Carlile is a well known local businessman from West Belfast.

He has written an interesting article about the need for a new generation of entrepreneurs to emerge in West Belfast to help drive the economy forward.

This caught my eye as mostly it chimes with my own thinking that SME’s are Northern Ireland’s route to economic salvation in the longer term and simply we have too few policy-makers who have not been involved in running a business.

Anyway the entire article is well worth a read;

With a population of approximately one hundred thousand, similar to the total number of people in Derry city, west Belfast makes up a significant percentage of the entire population of the six counties. From Castle Street stretching out almost as far as Derriaghy there are vast swathes of people, homes and communities.

Right across west Belfast over past decades, educational attainment has significantly improved and the number of school leavers entering universities and colleges is now at record numbers. The areas of law and education are two vocations where west Belfast graduates have performed particularly well in recent years.

In fact the two top legal figures in the north’s justice system are former Andersonstown-based and now Director of Public Prosecutions Barra McGrory QC and former St Mary’s Glen Road student, John Larkin QC, Attorney General. It is well known that the legal profession boasts many sons and daughters of working class west Belfast including prominent solicitors, QC’s, barristers and judges.

West Belfast has also produced many renowned figures in the world of education. Some have held high office in the education department or CCMS and there have been vast numbers of teachers churned out with many reaching vice-principal and principal positions. St Mary’s University College on the Falls Road is an undoubted jewel in that academic crown.

On the accounting front Riverdale’s Shaun Kelly is the global CEO of accountancy world leader KPMG and talking of leaders we have produced an abundance of outstanding community leaders in the form of the phenomenal Damien Lindsay, Failte Feirste Thiar’s Harry Connolly, Feile an Phobail’s Kevin Gamble and one of the most renowned leaders in Irish history, Gerry Adams.

But for the wealth of talent we have in law, education, politics and the community there is a deficit of entrepreneurial spirit. We can select a few examples of those who are bucking the trend like JDM Management’s Jim, David and Martin Conlon, Paul Hesketh from St James’s who recently formed Belfast City Coaches and Northern Property’s Declan and Tony Donnelly.

However west Belfast needs more entrepreneurs. In fact what it needs is a new generation of entrepreneurs to emerge. It is true to say that industry, commerce and business have not traditionally been the domains of communities like ours but that must change.

Business is powerful and has many responsibilities. West Belfast needs to produce a wave of entrepreneurs who can drive the economy forward. This entrepreneurial revolution does not have to be exclusively young entrepreneurs. Anybody of any age with a business idea should go and do it. The more self-starters we have, the more our economy will improve and the more our community will benefit.

The backbone of a strong economy is a strong sense of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs create jobs and jobs give people purpose. West Belfast has drawn the short straw in terms of our fair share for as long as I can remember but it doesn’t have to stay like that. Invest NI do not have a good record in west Belfast so I have invited the Chief Executive Alastair Hamilton to address an event in Andersonstown later this year. I want to know why west Belfast tends to creep under the radar of Invest NI and I want to know what we need to do to change that.

We are a confident community, highly resourceful, intelligent and enthusiastic but we need more people to become business-minded. Our community needs to create more in terms of jobs and wealth. This isn’t necessarily something for politicians to do. This is something you can do. What politicians can do is create an environment to allow that spirit of entrepreneurship to flourish.

West Belfast is a socially aware community. We want first class public services. A highly performing private sector should work hand in hand with a highly performing public sector. More entrepreneurship means more jobs and that means more people paying tax, which then means more money to be reinvested back into public services.

We need to eradicate old ideas of entrepreneurship being right wing and aligned closely with Tories. Entrepreneurship is about building strong communities. It is about creating jobs and making business play its part in forming a better society for each of us to live and work in. It is about creating, making and doing. Over the coming period you should reflect on what you want to achieve in your career or life in general. Reflect on how you want to impact positively on your community. If you have a business idea, research it, plan it and start it. This is the right time for west Belfast to emerge in the business world. Let’s do it.

 

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  • Croiteir

    I agree. But entrepreneurs will emerge from the generation after the solicitors teachers and architects. I am mindful of a statement attributed to George Washington, “I am a soldier so that my son can be a farmer and his son a poet.” The people of west Belfast will have their entrepreneurs in time. Given that they will no longer suffer the discrimination in the future that they had in the past. Of that I gave no doubt. But it will be a generational thing. It will develop

  • northstar

    During the worst of times West Belfast delivered North’s 1st ground-up Industrial complex “Ballymurphy Enterprises” which was then destroyed under Special Powers Act to allow Fort Mona to be built to protect the people of the area from the….mmm, oh yes protect them from the people in the Fort! Strange!
    About the same time a Newspaper(now Belfast Media Group) was started and the North’s 1st Irish medium school – midst threats of legal action from BELB. An internal Transport System was also started – first community transport system in Europe which was harassed from birth. Numerous community groups also flourished in those years.
    One man (there were many others too) was central to most of these – he then went on to lead establishment of North’s 1st Irish medium Secondary school and Belfast’s Culturlann.
    We did this whilst most of us involved in any of the above groups were basically looked upon as Enemies of the State and treated thus when we met the State.
    West Belfast can do it – but we find it easier to do it when we are under pressure. Strange! #RebelBlood or something?

  • Zig70

    I went to investni with a business idea, coming from a company that closed down after millions were pumped into it by investni. It was a US owned startup, I was asked if I had a rich uncle I could borrow the money from. When I asked how it all worked, I was told that I was essentially dealing with Ledu. They had no access to the same funds. The balance was wrong then and from what I know, still is.

  • Zig70

    There is a lot said about Catholic business folk screwing their community over and people finding that Protestant business’ treated them better. Even now if I ask for a quote for work, I would say a Catholic owned firm is less likely to even reply to a phone call or email enquiry. All anecdotal, but my impression is that the population of West Belfast won’t get that experience and culture of running business’ from nowhere. It is hard to teach. West Belfast needs the work brought in. I had a comment earlier on a different thread about folk needing to catch themselves on and make their own way in life. That kind of right wing stupidity drives me nuts. Fine if you want to keep the poor down and the wealth to yourself but don’t pretend you care.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    I found ths great documentary on the community initiative you mention: http://archive.northernvisions.org/specialcollections/ogfeatures/ballymurphy-the-peoples-co-ops/
    I’d like to think the same sense of self confidence persists.

  • Newton Emerson

    I’d have thought the best thing to do for the next generation in West Belfast is to tell them the world doesn’t end at the Westlink. One third of the jobs in Northern Ireland are in the city centre and anyone is as free to work there as anyone else.

  • Croiteir

    Really Newton. Bet no one thought of that

  • Croiteir

    They are only interested if you are successful in their terms. Just like a bank they are only interested if you don’t need their umbrella

  • Kevin Breslin

    Brilliant Newton, and do you work there in Belfast City Centre?

    No you are a freelance journalist/commentator and you can work wherever the hell you like.

    You could get the laptop or tablet, pitch a tent and work on the top of Divis Mountain if you wanted to.

    I don’t believe that the only solution to our unemployment problems is to bring more people into a retail sector that is declining rapidly. As more people buy stuff from Amazon and E-Bay, the reliance on highly expensive stores in the cities to bring in the money is ridiculous.

    For all the declines in manufacturing, putting all the eggs into the retail basket isn’t helping us deal with losing the likes of B&Q and Austins several other store chains.

    Yet Andor Technology, a high tech manufacturing company and exporter of scientific cameras of West Belfast is thriving and growing. Tourism in West Belfast has been growing significantly since the end of the Troubles too.

    The idea that West Belfast people who are qualified, refuse to go to inner city Belfast to do professional services, higher education, consultancy, software engineering etc. is utter ridiculous too.

    Why wouldn’t they if they had these skills?

    We probably don’t need to have 1/3 of our jobs based around inner city Belfast retail, there is certainly a market for retail outside of the inner cities anyway. 2/3 are not.

    West Belfast might not be able to compete with South Belfast, but surely it has the potential to recreate the sort of non-retail jobs you get in Newtonabbey and Antrim and other towns just outside of Belfast.

    This is about “entrepreneurship” and the only solution that is yet again being offered is the shops of South Belfast!

    What’s entrepreneurial about going to established South Belfast shops and industries?

    Should Entrepreneurial activity be discouraged from West Belfast, should it simply become a South Belfast suburb? North Belfast & East Belfast too?

  • Newton Emerson

    I just found the original post oddly ‘partitionist’ – looking way out to the edges of what is in effect part of a small city’s suburbs, instead of looking at the city overall. Tens of thousands of people spend hours a day driving into Belfast for work. The idea that one of its inner quarters should be a self-sufficient job market is just bizarre.

  • Kevin Breslin

    “Gerry Carlile is a well known local businessman from West Belfast.”
    Surely he does know a little about what he is talking about?

  • Croiteir

    I agree with that. However I do get the posters point that the area of West Belfast is economically challenged, (see I can do the PC stuff if I try), and that is what needs addressed and debated. Anything that detracts from that sounds like gratuitous smart arsery to me.

  • Old Mortality

    Kevin
    What is Mr Carlile’s business?

  • whatif1984true

    Most people want security and will not change jobs unless there is sufficient benefit. An entrepreneur is outside the norm due to either circumstances or personality.

    If you hate working for others you may breakaway and work for yourself but that will cover only a few, security is a strong bond to your job. If you have a family, mortgage etc. how likely are you to give up the security of employment?

    The majority of newly self employed comes from older middle management who lose their jobs.

    There finally comes the type who has self belief/arrogance/energy, is young with no ties/commitments and for whom the risk of failure is not significant.

    Big businesses were all small once and it is often forgotten that the early years when the entrepreneur is building his business may outwardly show little growth. From zero to earning enough to having an income comparable to employed status can take a long time. Taking on the first employee is a big step but it gets easier. Getting to the size that Government agencies take you seriously takes many years. Searching for grants/support diminishes effort put into building the business. Having come from poor Belfast and been very successful in 3 businesses I ignored grants etc and mostly tried to avoid businesses who were dependent on Government support (they were in my opinion the late payers and incompetents who turned into bad debts).

    Ask a student doing a degree in Business about their plans and aspirations and you will be shocked at the banality of their answers if they have actually even thought about life after Uni.
    West Belfast has produced teachers, accountants and legal people these are the careers of security and cannot be used to extrapolate to Entrepreneurship except in saying that those people got a good education and were smart enough to benefit from it.

    1 and 2 man businesses will mostly stay that size because of the people involved or the nature of the business (dependent on the skill/expertise of the main person). Those businesses should be applauded and recognised in the same way American multinationals are. Ultimately those very small businesses will employ more than the multinationals and some might just become large themselves.

    Large redundancies in Government middle management might just be the only shock tactic to unleash entrepreneurship. The over reliance of our economy on Government jobs (which pay better than private business) is a dampner on business creation. Redundancies and the associated redundancy packages may be the sole quick fix we have available.

  • Old Mortality

    Northstar
    Did any of the activities you mention involve selling goods and services outside West Belfast? At first glance, they appear to provide little evidence that ‘West Belfast can do it’.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Watch the video link. Orders for golf sweaters were coming in from the US.

  • murdockp

    As some one who returned to NI from the UK and has now been here for six years and is also heavily involved in working in Dublin, I can say with authority and absolute fact, that NI is the most anti business part of the UK.

    If some one asked me to develop an economic strategy that will ensure that entrepreneurship is crushed and SME’s destroyed this is what I would do in NI:-

    Ensure economic conditions exist where the banks don’t lend to start-ups
    Create red tape that stops business in it tracks
    Create a planning system that does not function
    Ensure there is no infrastructure strategy
    Ensure business rates are so high that commercial property is un-lettable
    Create the economic conditions where our brightest and best have to emigrate

    Yet these are the economic policies all our political parties have signed up to.

    Unless you actually work in London, Dublin or the US you will never understand how anti business we are here.

    We keep voting left wing inept parties into power, term after term at some point this has to stop.
    Socialism does not work, when are we finally going to realise this.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Where does the idea of ‘a self sufficient job market’ come from? The examples provided in the OP but also by northstar clearly indicate otherwise.
    It’s interesting that Ballymurphy Enterprises generated a community led co-operative initiative and this occurred for a variety of reasons not least because of a strong sense of community and camaraderie at the time as well as addressing a pressing economic need. Of course the days of West Belfast Commune are gone but I see no reason why such an exporting kibbutz lite economy could not emerge again, nonetheless I don’t think anyone is arguing for that anyway.
    On the less micro level I doubt that any businessman (whose business still exists) would believe for a moment that commerce can exist in a vacuum. Even in the days of Ballymurphy Enterprises that wasn’t the case. What has to be celebrated is the self-start mentality that has slipped under the radar.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    You’ve an interesting and, may I say, unique interpretation of socialism.

  • Old Mortality

    Croiteir
    I sincerely hope you’re right. However, it might be helpful if politicians did more to discourage rather than encourage dependence on the state. Their blind, reflexive opposition to welfare reform betrayed their negativity in this respect. If you keep telling people that they’re too ‘vulnerable’ to fend for themselves, they may well be inclined to believe it.

  • northstar

    Try starting up a Paper, School, Transport-System, Industrial Complex (which sold many goods to USA etc) whilst Authorities are trying to smash all the fore-mentioned. West Belfast and Nationalist Belfast as a whole led the way in Community actions which are now being applied throughout Belfast and Ireland, Europe and right now in Gaza. This is not an opinion this is documented History.

  • John Collins

    You are so right. In the recent independence referendum in Scotland the impression was put about by establishment politicians and the media that pensions and social welfare payments would be undermined by a change. It worked a treat. The manner in which the ‘too ‘vulnerable to fend for themselves’ card was played was classic.
    Some contributor to slugger claimed that those under 35 were in favour of change and then went on to state that this indicated the result would be reversed in future. He forgets there will always be those who are over 35 and they will seldom want change.

  • John Collins

    They also have an umbrella themselves in that if they go bust, no government can afford to let them go under.
    Talk about having your cake buttered and jammed up on both sides.

  • Croiteir

    I agree. There is a problem however. You need to wean the patient of the drip. This is endemic throughout the north however bad it is in particular in certain areas. It is a result of living in a dependant economy. The effect trickles down. People get the message that the economy is poor and understand that in that environment risk is simply to high. Couple that with active suppression of government for generations give you the result of West Belfast on particular and the region in general. The cure is as you say stop giving the junkie the drug. That also applies to the north as a region as to any particular group or area.

    Get rid of the surplus civil servants that we have here. Encourage people to start their own businesses by whatever means is allowed by the EU.

    Now how you do that without to much pain for the patient I do not know. The patient that is the state has been on the drug of central support it was formed or near enough since.

    Perhaps there is no cure within the UK.

    Maybe we better not go down that path at all?

  • Zig70

    So the right wing, f the poor approach hasn’t worked. Any other ideas? More cake?

  • murdockp

    Socialism in its truest sense is fine if people all work for the common good. In NI our greatest supporters of socialism do not work, relying on the state to provide for them and expect others to work and generate the taxes.

    Northern Ireland socialism for me is like an temperamental teenage child bleating about how annoying it is to live in the same house as mum and dad and how they tell their mates how badly treated they are and that they will be moving out soon to live on their own, but when it comes down to it they need hand outs from mummy and daddy to survive and still live in the box room.

  • Reader

    Kevin – you keep on going on about retail – Newton didn’t mention retail.
    And I am sure that qualified westies do just as well as anyone else in the job market.
    Instead, the deprivation and unemployment hits the people without skills and qualifications. If they limit their own mobility as well, then their chances are poor. It may be that some new west Belfast entrepreneurs will eventually create jobs for pallet stackers and floor sweepers. But I bet that isn’t who they will be looking for in the first instance.
    My daily commute, to Belfast city centre, is an hour each way, with 35 minutes on foot each way. I’m sure the exercise does me good.

  • Kev Hughes

    Yeah, and I think many just found your post slightly facetious. I don’t believe he said that WB should be a self-sufficient job market cut off from the rest of Belfast and it’s surrounding areas, more that their should be more entrepreneurship in that particular area to help rejuvenate and make the area more prosperous.

    But then again, I must have read something else…

  • murdockp

    It is not religion specific, it is just NI culture as stems from how difficult wealth creation is here

  • Reader

    This guy, I think:
    http://www.agentgerry.com/
    the links from a google search on his name all seem to point to the same guy plus a google link explaining the right to be forgotten.

  • Reader

    northstar: This is not an opinion this is documented History.
    Since it would be ridiculous to claim the first community newspaper, first community school, first community transport system, or first community industrial complex – what *are* you actually claiming?

  • Reader

    It’s amazing that a local chap like Gerry Carlile would compile a very long list of West Belfast notables and miss out two local Nobel Prize winners – Mairead Corrigan and Betty Williams.

  • whatif1984true

    I ignored the West Belfast angle and took the comment as applying to all parts of Belfast indeed Northern Ireland. I do not think in terms of ghettos nor should anyone else. This is all a further variation on whataboutery. Politics to one side everyone is equal should be our theme and the question is why everyone is not more entrepreneurial.

  • whatif1984true

    Booze and food.

  • whatif1984true

    The solicitors et al will be in South Belfast or elsewhere.

  • whatif1984true

    One need only look at Africa to see how well aid works. Many would advocate that we take our money and leave Africa alone to stand alone and take responsibility for its self. I do not include health care aid in that.

  • Brendan Heading

    Bit of an elephant in the room thing going there, with the omission of the other organisation that did everything it could to increase unemployment to the record levels it still stands at today. The kidnapping and murder of Thomas Neidermayer was a grim signal to send to any major company wishing to establish a factory or large business in the area.

    Organising taxis, setting up a school and establishing a newspaper are fine community achievements but they are not avenues to employment for many people.

  • aquifer

    Socialism does work, for the secure and well paid workers and apparatchiks paid by the social democratic British state. Pity about the rest though. They could try their traditional route, the Liverpool ferry.

  • northstar

    I write only of my experiences and knowledge of those things I mentioned. Mr.Heading writes about his POV. If he means the IRA I suggest he ask them why they allowed themselves to become embroiled in a conflict initiated by the same authorities I accuse of impeding the growth of my community. There were few jobs in W.Belfast before the authorities chose conflict – maybe Mr. Heading could tell me if I am mistaken on this matter. Perhaps the border makes things difficult for him to understand the history of the times.

  • northstar

    I am claiming the North’s first community newspaper, scoil, industrial complex and Europe’s 1st Community Transport system. All whilst Authorities who should have did these things tried to oppose all these projects by threat of legal action, administrative obstruction and strongarm tactics on the ground by their mercenary armed groups.Clear enuff now!

  • northstar

    He was talking about community action for jobs not political movements. Mairead would be the first to applaud most of the initiatives I mentioned. She is a first class Human! Do you know her? – If you do not let me assure you it is a privilege for those of us who do.

  • northstar

    Socialism is a bandied word. Social Justice though is a dream of many – its little odds the Dogmas which compete to achieve this, when we have it we will know it. NI or the North has never been a self sufficient entity, it was created that way. Without benevolent socialist attitudes to it in London since it was conceived as a state it would have shrivelled decades ago.

  • Kevin Breslin

    What is the main industry in Belfast City Centre if not Retail?
    Farming?
    Manufacturing?
    Mining?

    Erm…Engineering, Finance and Professional Services?

    (LOL nearly just as unlikely as the previous three in modern BCC!)

    It’s Retail (Branded shops and stores outlets) and Entertainment (Bars and Restaurants mainly), maybe Hospitality can be thrown into that general package … there is hardly anything that would be considered a successful homegrown startup there these days particularly outside the areas I mentioned.

    Where’s the major evidence of Belfast City Centre’s own homegrown entrepeneurship after loads of money invested by Invest NI?

    My bigger question is why the hell is it assumed every entrepreneur in Northern Ireland should be competing for office space along the Laganbank?

    There are business people who managed to set up an international trading knitwear company on the Aran Islands! You lot would say this lot should have gone to Galway!

    http://inismeain.ie/
    http://www.independent.ie/business/irish/knitwear-bosss-fears-over-aran-islands-air-service-34605090.html

    {I know because I have met a graduate student who was working there as part of the all-Ireland InterTradeIreland Fusion project.}

  • Annie Breensson

    Someone should start a wee business making and selling Ivory Coast flags. Business would be brisk for the next 3 months.

  • Reader

    Community Newspapers – you seem to be excluding long existing papers like the Newtownards Chronicle. Plus, you previously claimed to lead the way in Europe, not just in Northern Ireland.
    By 1st Community Transport system do you mean the Shankill Black Taxis? I don’t think that the nationalist community led the way there. However, there’s an argument that community transport systems are not for profit, which excludes both the Shankill and Falls black taxi services. However, that does point to, e.g. the cars that carry old and lame orangemen on the 12th. Probably Hibernians too. Those are community transport systems that pre-date even the Shankill Black taxis.
    As for your scoil – surely the hedge schools pre-dated that, and count as community schools? In fact, before the 19th century, almost all schools were community schools. Why do you not recognise them?

  • Reader

    Most of the names he lists are political, professional and cultural figures, *not* related to entrepreneurial activity at all. In fact he himself points out the scarcity of entrepreneurs in comparison with the others.

  • Reader

    Kevin, I work in the city centre, not in retail. As you walk around, lift your eyes up from the retail space on the ground floor and look at the multiple floors of office accommodation above.
    The jobs are in Belfast because the commuter routes lead to Belfast. And the commuter routes lead to Belfast because the jobs are in Belfast. Personally, I would prefer to work in Bangor, but I commute to Belfast instead. There aren’t actually that many jobs in Bangor – people raised in Bangor know they will either commute, or they had better come up with a plan B *before* they hit the job market.

  • northstar

    N/T/Ards paper you mention is a private enterprise. FTA was the basis for Shankill Taxis. Paisley recognised the Nationalist drive for self-sustaining community projects and urged Unionists to follow suit. I stand over my knowledge your opinions are just that.

  • northstar

    TBH I do not care what he listed. I just used the opp to point out the successes community groups had in the past in spite of the Authorities being everything from unhelpful to downright destructive. If you have some historical facts come back to me. If you have a retrospective wish-list, hopes that the facts were different and a POV which demands you reply at all costs, well in that case – Slan leat!

  • northstar

    What a wonderful comment. So constructive and no latent resentment.

  • Kevin Breslin

    And how much does it cost to rent that office space and what start up enterprises actually need to start there?

    Is that really a good place to actually start your first business?

    What sickens me is the perceptual obsession that we need to put every job in Belfast right into the centre of the city.

    How much are actually start up enterprises?

    Because that’s what the City Centre Centric mentality actually seems to think, there are companies and jobs in the BCC and they get there by magic, jobs anywhere else are a waste of money. I would image every one of those companies from fast food restaurants to consultancy to charity shop didn’t start off right there in the city centre of Belfast or any other one.

    Do you honestly think unemployed West Belfast people are going to start a company should go all in and start in the same building as an established recruitment agency and recruitment agency?

    That’s fairly high risk, surely you should grow in your own turf before taking that risk! Maybe start your own cooperative, practice or firm in a smaller area. Microsoft didn’t begin with inner city Seatle office space but two guys making custom hardware in their own homes.

    Does a plumber, or an electrician or an undertaker really need office space in Shaftsbury Square to serve Belfast City Centre? Absolutely not!

  • Reader

    I was disagreeing with you about what jobs there actually are in Belfast city centre.
    I don’t think we disagree about (1) Whether everything *should* be there, or (2) that concentrating in Belfast centre is a bad thing, or (3) that set-up costs are atrocious.
    However, now that centralising has actually happened, when a big company sets up in Carrick instead, they lose access to recruits and job-changers living in Lisburn and Bangor. If they set up in Belfast, at least they avoid that problem.

  • Kevin Breslin

    South Antrim has a better employment rate than South Belfast, East Antrim isn’t that far off it. So decentralising to the commuter belt must have some advantages. (East Belfast has by far the highest employment rates and that’s not really city central for the most part, containing Castlereagh etc. Mid Ulster has significantly higher employment rates than West Belfast but is more remote and less qualified)

    If people have problems going from the southern end of the Belfast commuter belt to the northern end of the Belfast commuter belt maybe they can rent a place halfway in between in say West Belfast and boost that region’s employment figures. There’s probably not that big a buy to let market there though.

    Centralisation only works for some big businesses and their business model, B&Q moved out of their premises on the Boucher Road and the Buncrana Road to focus on Newtonabbey and Hollywood. Recruitment wasn’t so much of an issue as operating costs. So a person from Lisburn could get trains to Holywood or someone from Carrick the bus to Newtonabbey.

    Case and point, the next biggest employer in Port Talbot beside the steelworks is actually Amazon.

  • Old Mortality

    Well, to the extent that his establishment(s) provide sustenance to visitors rather than locals, he would be more economically useful than, say, a property developer.
    However, it is unlikely that WB will ever prosper by selling food and drink to themselves so Mr Carlisle is probably not the kind of entrepreneur that’s needed.

  • Old Mortality

    Were they fulfilled and were there repeat orders?

  • aquifer

    “West Belfast needs the work brought in” Economies don’t tend to work like that, the work could be anywhere. Maybe we need bus services that cross town, or have the black diesel taxis convert to electric cars and uber and stop giving the kids asthma.

  • Zig70

    The idea of having cross town transport is interesting. Probably costly and under utilised but might break the ghetto mentality. In many places around the world companies put on buses to bring people to work and collect them from their homes. Could be an fdi stipulation to have buses from the areas of highest unemployment.

  • Zig70

    I wouldn’t really go along with that. Actually, they were a great help. Provided me with training, mentoring, access to research and advice. My point was more that the playing field is weighted against local entrepreneurs. Unless you know the right people.

  • Cosmo

    Judging by the shape (and future ill-health) of N,S,W & E Belfast’s teenagers, potential and young parents – surely there’s a worthwhile and socially profitable activity to be gained and undertaken in a kind of renaissance in communal cooking for good nutrition, culinary skills and appreciation of quality ingredients and nutrition, and their source. (a kick up the arse to our own farmers.) Just a few generations ago, many ordinary city dwellers even had skills to run tiny but productive vegetable gardens, which supplied vitamin-rich veg, all year round. And there was a fair bit of transacting going on. Every year, big numbers of young people leave school with less than the 5-o’level qualifications. What are they going to do? It’s a Developed world problem, not just for NI. Wouldn’t it be smart and entrepreneurial to operate in this most essential activities?
    and maybe even ‘good’ to ‘use’ energy from a bit of west-east rivalry (jest).

  • whatif1984true

    Thanks

  • Cosmo

    1) Surely the threat of paramilitarist demands for protection money/skims here (also overspilt into South), is a real deterrent to people considering SME’s start-ups? it was, to me. I would say getting our mafia(s) back in the box is a priority.

    2) Unfortunately, employees of US corporations nth&Sth, have bad news coming on the horizon…… with proposals for US corporate tax repatriation (debated by all presidential candidates). Obama’s proposals for (tax repatriation amnesty) were delayed by Republicans – but this is a policy idea that is quickly becoming mainstream.

  • Old Mortality

    Greenflag
    I was, of course, referring to the political representatives of West Belfast. They like to refer to themselves as ‘progressive’ but they are the ones who are most guilty of perpetuating the negativity to which you refer.

  • Old Mortality

    John
    See my response to Greenflag above. Maybe its the local politicians who should be brave enough to suggest to their constituents that its time to start being more self-reliant. SF does mean ‘Ourselves Alone’, after all.