15 February 2010


Mr. Sean Neeson MLA
Lord Ballyedmond – Norbrook Laboratories
Mr. John Rooney – Rooney Fish
Mr. John O’Farrell – NI-ICTU
Mr Alec McRitchie, Bombardier
Mr Glyn Roberts – NIIRTA
Mr. Robin Newton MLA
Mr Leslie Cree MLA
Dr Garerth McGrath
Ms Dawn Purvis MLA
Mr. William Wright – Wrightbus Ltd
Mr Declan O’Loan MLA
Mr Paul Butler MLA.

Mr. James Devlin – BT NI

In Attendance:
Ms. Sheila McClelland – Company Secretary
Mr. Ivor Gibson – NIA Secretariat
Mr. Stephen Todd – NIA Secretariat
Edward Haughey – Norbrook Laboratories
Mr. Con O’Neill – NI Manufacturing
Ms Melanie Humphrey – Mallusk Enterprise Park.

1. Apologies

Apologies were recorded and noted above.

2. Minutes of previous meeting

The minutes of the meeting of 11 January 2010 were agreed and adopted. The proposer was John Rooney and this was seconded by Dawn Purvis.

3. Matters arising

Most matters arising formed substantive agenda items.

4. Correspondence

Correspondence received from NI Manufacturing in relation to the AGM panel debate was received on 11 January 2010. A reply to NI Manufacturing was issued on 18 January; copies of both letters were available in members’ packs.

Correspondence has also been received from Next Level Impact who has asked the Trust to co-host a presentation in Parliament Buildings for their “Celebrating Success – Effective Manager Programme”. The request was discussed and it was decided to take advice on the matter before making a decision. A letter will be issued to Next Level Impact to this effect.

5. Request for Legal Advice

At our previous meeting it was agreed that the Trust should seek legal advice to ascertain if the NIABT Articles of Association take account of new Companies’ Act and the Charities Bill. A request is being drafted to be forwarded to Legal Services.

6. Business Planning Process

At the last meeting the Trustees agreed that the NIABT business plan should be strategically reviewed. It was recommended that a sub-group of Trustees be established to work with Sheila McClelland to consider proposals for reviewing the Trust and drawing up plans accordingly. They would be expected to feed back to the main Board within 3 months. Alec McRitchie, Leslie Cree MLA, Dr Gareth McGrath and John Rooney volunteered to form the sub-group.

7. Membership

The Board of Trustees approved an application from Quarry Products Association to join the NIABT.

8. Future Initiatives

Sheila briefed the Board on European SME Week which runs from 25 May – 1 June 2010. Linking to a series of events held across Europe to promote entrepreneurship during this week, it is intended that the NIABT and ETI Committee jointly hold events to promote European SME Week in Northern Ireland. These events will take place during May/June which is being encouraged within the concept of SME Week. Sheila gave evidence to this effect to the ETI Committee on Thursday 11 February. It was a very useful exchange where the possibility of exploring a number of proposals to mark European SME Week was presented to the Committee. e.g. Balmoral Show, an SME breakfast reception, a banking event, an SME sectoral themed workshop, an ETI Committee visit to Europe and a STEM sector mini lecture and reception. The importance of co-coordinating with other NI events was highlighted.

9. Programmes

The Chair briefed the Board on recent and planned NIABT Programmes. These are listed below.


15 January: Simon Hamilton fellowship with Royal Mail.

27 January: OFMDFM European Report Breakfast.

1-4 February: European Educational Programme.


19 February: Alastair Ross Fellowship with Stratagem.

26 February: Alastair Ross Fellowship with Belfast International Airport.

12 March: Speaker’s Dinner.

9 April: Simon Hamilton Fellowship with Firmus Energy.

April: Assembly Awareness Programme

May-Dec : Visits to major NIABT Companies

May/June: European SME Week runs from 25 th May – 1 st June 2010.

10. President’s Dinner

Sheila McClelland reported to the Board on the proposed plans for the President’s Dinner on Friday 12 March 2010. Declan Kelly, US Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland and Sir Reg Empey MLA, Minister for Employment and Learning, will be the guest speakers on the evening. The invitations were to be issued imminently, in the hope of having 120 guests, made up from the business sector and Parliamentarians. Detailed consideration has been given to the invitee list. In addition to the current Trust members, a number of companies who have expressed interest in the work of the Trust and a number of businesses identified for their innovation have been invited. This widened invitation list has been identified providing a strong cross section of organizations by location, size and core business interest.

The planned running order for the dinner was outlined.

11. European Programme Feedback

An NIABT delegation spent a number of days in Brussels during the first week of February participating in the European Educational Programme. The Programme was made available to business members and in addition, each political party was invited to send a representative to the Programme. Against the background of wider political events, 1 MLA was able to attend the Programme and he was joined by 8 business representatives. The initial feedback received from participants reflected that the programme was very busy and that there were many opportunities provided to gain an understanding of the political institutions in Brussels and how they interconnect with the regions and NI in particular. The Chair reported that he was delighted with the written feedback and welcomed the opportunity to hear verbal feedback from three business participants on the trip who had agreed to attend the meeting.

Melanie Humphrey from Mallusk Business Park, Edward Haughey Jr who represented Norbrook and Con O’Neill from Harland and Wolff who attended from NI Manufacturing each took time to report to the Board. The feedback given on Europe stimulated lengthy debate from the Board.

12. AOB

The Finance & Personnel Committee are publishing a Report next week on Public Procurement in Northern Ireland; the Board agreed to make an approach to the Finance and Personnel Committee Chair with a view to delivering a Report briefing to NIABT members.