The NIABT Board of Trustees held a strategic planning day in June 2016 to discuss the ongoing work and future goals of the NIABT. One outcome from the planning day was to review the efficiency of the work being undertaken by the Trust with a view to increasing its impact on members as well as the wider business community in Northern Ireland.
Following the review, reform proposals were presented to the NIABT Board outlining how the Trust’s aims and objectives could be better served and better delivered.
At its meeting on 13th November 2017 the Board of Trustees agreed a proposal that the NIABT be dissolved, with the membership voting to dissolve the Trust at the AGM on 13th December 2017. This decision was agreed in the context that the Northern Ireland Assembly is committed to developing a new programme of work entitled the Northern Ireland Assembly Business Network (ABN).
At the AGM members also voted on how the funds should be disbursed in line with the articles of the Trust.
The Board considered the options at its meeting on Wednesday 19th February 2018 and unanimously voted that any decision of how the funds should be disbursed would be put on hold until the political situation is clearer. It met again on 19th September 2018 and again unanimously voted that decision be postponed. The Board will meet again in February 2019 (unless the political situation is resolved sooner) to assess the situation.
On Monday 16th November 2015, the NIABT, in partnership with QUB, held the second of a two part event focusing on the upcoming EU Referendum and how this is likely to impact on Northern Ireland.
Colette Fitzgerald, NI Head of the European Commission Regional Office, Nigel Smyth, CBI NI, Mike Nesbitt MLA and Patsy McGlone MLA ,Chairpersons of the Committees for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister and, for Enterprise, Trade and Investment respectively formed the panel and took questions from the audience.
The Panel discussed a number of issues of concern to local businesses, ranging from agriculture, trade and cultural links with the rest of the Europe and border controls as well as looking at the current ideas for reforming the EU.
The conclusion from the large majority of the audience was that a reformed EU is the best option for the Northern Ireland economy.
On Monday 28th September, the NIABT in partnership with QUB held the first of a two part event, themed on the upcoming EU Referendum and how this is likely to impact on Northern Ireland.
Colette Fitzgerald, Head of the European Commission Regional Office in Northern Ireland, Professor David Phinnemore and Dr Lee McGowan addressed the audience on the issues facing Northern Ireland on the outcome of an announcement of a Brexit.
John McCallister MLA spent the afternoon at Danske Bank headquarters in Belfast to find out the banking sector. During his visit, Mr McCallister was greeted by Kevin Kingston (Deputy CEO) who explained key facts about Danske Bank in Northern Ireland, including their competitive market and business performance.
Mr McCallister then met with John Henning (Head of Agricultural Relations) where he was able to find out more about agriculture and business banking.
Brian Telford (Head of Markets) then spent some time explaining to John how this area of banking operates.
The NIABT President, Speaker Mitchel McLaughlin MLA presided over the NIABT AGM on Monday evening. Four new Board members were elected to the Board of Trustees, namely Norah Anne Barron, Nicola Bothwell, Noel Brady and Barry Turley.
Following the formalities, Professor Neil Gibson delivered an economic briefing where he looked at how society can all contribute to the future economy of Northern Ireland.
An NIABT delegation including six MLAs and nine business representatives took part in a week long educational programme during the first week of June this year. The programme started off in Washington DC where Norman Houston, Director at the Northern Ireland Bureau in Washington, D.C. had arranged two days of intensive meetings and presentations. The first meeting was with David Slack, Vice President, Government Affairs Bombardier and Ashleigh de la Torre, Principal at The Bockorny Group and during the stay in Washington D.C., the group also met with Ambassador David O’Sullivan, Head of the Delegation of the European Union, Congressman Richard Neal and Gerri Fiala: Deputy Assistant Secretary of Employment and Training Administration, US Department of Labor.
The group then moved on to Baltimore for meetings with members of the Greater Baltimore Committee, Mike Gill, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development and Mark Montgomery, President and CEO of Ports America.
The week ended with attendance at the two day New York New Belfast Conference where NIABT members were directly involved with a number of break out sessions on a variety of topics such as Transformational Projects in Cities on the Rise and How can Belfast make itself a must-visit destination for Irish Americans?