Speech by Damien English T.D., Minister for Housing and Urban Development
for Meath Enterprise Week Business Conference and Expo
Knightsbrook Hotel, Trim
Thursday, 16th November 2017
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Ladies and Gentlemen, entrepreneurs of County Meath, it is a great pleasure to be in Trim for the 4th Annual Meath Enterprise Week Business Conference and Expo.
I would like to pay tribute to Gary O’Meara and his team at Meath Enterprise for continuing with this showcase event that brings together the very best of Meath Entrepreneurship under one roof.
This year’s conference theme of ‘Collaboration, Innovation and Entrepreneurship’ encapsulates the essence of what it takes to bring an idea for a product or service from inception right through to the market.
But it is the ‘Innovation’ aspect of the expo that excites me the most. Innovation is nothing new to Meath.
Innovation is not just driven by bright ideas, innovation is driven by entrepreneurs, who take great ideas and bring them to life as new products, new services and new businesses.
Five thousand years ago Meath was at the cutting edge of innovation in Europe. The best Scientists and Engineers in Europe, in the world, were working to build the megalithic structure at Newgrange.
That building was precisely aligned to flood the inner burial chamber with light at dawn on the shortest day of the year and demonstrates just how innovative and skilled our remote ancestors were.
The factors which led to the creation of Western Europe’s first innovation hub in Meath, location and connectivity, a highly skilled workforce and a great quality of life, are still present in the county.
In point of fact they are stronger than ever.
My vision for Meath, a vision shared by Meath Co Council, Meath Enterprise and business in Meath is that Meath will not just be a great county to live in, but a great county to work in & to invest in.
And the Boyne Valley Food Innovation District is absolutely critical to making that vision a reality.
I think the secret to success for the Food Innovation District is collaboration. And the same is true for your success in business.
Collaboration within industry, between businesses and with academia and researchers can help unlock the full potential of what you are offering and deliver real impact for Meath and for job creation in the county.
It is through your success over the past few years in business that has seen more jobs created in Meath.
The national unemployment rate is now at 6%, and it continues to drop.
4 out of 5 jobs created in the last 12 months have been outside Dublin.
There are now approximately 85,000 Meath people in work
927 Meath jobs supported by the Local Enterprise Office (2016)
8,732 Meath Jobs in Meath Business supported by Enterprise Ireland, IDA and Uduras na Gaeltachta (2016)
Thousands upon thousands of jobs created by small business in Meath.
I want to thank you for your work, for developing your business and for your dedication to job creation in Meath.
I want to thank Meath Enterprise, Meath LEO, the IDA, Enterprise Ireland and all the State Agencies for working with you when needed.
I would like to leave you with a quote from Ewing Marion Kauffman
“All of the money in the world cannot solve problems unless we work together. And if we work together, there is no problem in the world that can stop us”
I have no doubt that if work together we will drive your business, our county and the Boyne Valley Region well on its way to being at the cutting edge centre of innovation & job creation in the 21st Century.
Together we will make Meath a great place to live, work, and build a brighter future for our children.