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Businesses must seek every opportunity for an Edge

Businesses must seek every opportunity for an Edge

Northern Ireland's business talent was ‘bigged up' by none other than U2's The Edge last week.

He was launching a new initiative, called Endeavor Ireland, that aims to support owners of high potential start-ups.

The Edge said that Northern Ireland has incredible businesses talent and that given the right opportunity, local entrepreneurs can really compete on a global basis.

He will chair the Irish chapter of Endeavor, a global not-for-profit organisation that supports and accelerates high-impact entrepreneurs by connecting them with talent and with global peer and mentor networks as well as connecting business owners to funding sources.

The other members of Endeavor's founding board include Anne Heraty, the founder of CPL Recruitment; Paddy McKillen Snr; Denis O'Brien and Mark Roden of Ding as well as Elaine Coughlan of growth equity fund Atlantic Bridge. Running costs for the venture will be funded by the board members.

The Edge said it was a natural fit for himself and for U2 to support entrepreneurs.

The cross-border initiative is supported by Enterprise Ireland and Invest NI. Endeavor will work with founders and companies that have passed through the initial start-up phase and who demonstrate the potential for rapid expansion and scale.

Between four and six entrepreneurs or businesses will be selected in Ireland each year to participate in the now world-renowned Endeavor programme, following a rigorous selection process which culminates in an international selection panel.

I think it's a welcome addition to the landscape supporting entrepreneurs in this part of the world, adding to what has become a much better picture of support in recent years.

We now have start-up and entrepreneur hubs offering advice and support, as well as really good programmes from a range of providers, including Invest NI and education establishments, designed to help entrepreneurial talent to take the next step.

The Edge is right that we do have great talent here. Very often, I think what entrepreneurs need is the stimulus and encouragement to think bigger and have the confidence to pursue larger opportunities.

I think sometimes people from this part of the world don't have the self-assurance and vision that their talent merits.

At one point in time, Novosco was maybe in that position. But we looked at the skills and talent of our team and realised that it was better than anywhere else, and that we could do as good a job as anyone on complex IT projects. We decided to have the confidence to pursue the kind of work we wanted, and that included bidding for major IT projects here and in England.

Matching our ambitions with the skills and talent of our team allowed us to transform our business and secure contracts of a significantly greater scale.

In short, I think The Edge is right; the talent is here, it just needs the support and encouragement to reach its full potential and to allow it to really compete on a global basis. Hopefully Endeavor will help that to happen.

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