Posted on Friday 16 March 2012 by Ulster Business

CAUS chairman calls for bold new vision

The key to success for Northern Ireland’s economy is having the confidence to aim high and be different, believes the Chairman of the Chartered Accountants Ulster Society.

Speaking last night to over 350 guests at the Ulster Society’s Annual Dinner, sponsored by Tughans and Northern Bank, Michael Black called on political and business leaders to be bold in their ambitions and their economic development strategy.

“Instilling well placed confidence is a vital part of encouraging our entrepreneurs and our young people if we are to take our economy forward,” said Mr Black.

“To do that, we need strong leadership with a bold vision, speed of action, coupled with a relentless focus and investment in the key areas where we can be global competitors. We also need to be able to think differently and innovate.

“With the current Economic Strategy document we have the opportunity to think differently. Unless we think differently we will be looking back 10 or 20 years from now asking why not much has changed.

“Northern Ireland needs to decide what we want to be famous for, and back an aggressive strategy to achieve that. Doing ‘a little bit of everything’ won’t move the needle very much. We must set out to capture a game changing vision and move away from the risk-averse culture we currently have.”

The Society’s chairman welcomed the Economic Strategy focus on tourism, and the bold investments to support it, such as the £100m Titanic Signature Project.

He said: “If we really believe in, for example, a focus on ICT as one of our five key sectors, then investments supporting ICT of a similar order of magnitude to the Titanic Project will be needed to develop our people and attract large international companies.

“A huge focus on investment and skills development – incorporating attracting skilled migrant workers – is needed if we are to compete for international high value projects. Even the investors in Northern Ireland today are struggling to find the skills they need.”

Mr Black added: “Sometimes the biggest thing that we need to have is confidence; confidence to aim high; confidence to succeed; confidence that we can be every bit as good as anywhere else in the world.”

The guest speakers at the Ulster Society’s Annual Dinner at the Ramada Plaza Hotel were Jon Moulton, Chairman of Better Capital LLP and Brendan Keenan, Business Editor, Irish Independent, pictured here with Michael Black, Kevin Kingston of Northern Bank and John-George Willis from Tughans.

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