The importance and potential growth of the small business sector in Northern Ireland was top of the agenda at a recent NIABT breakfast briefing.
Scott Daugherty, the Commissioner for Small Business in North Carolina, was on hand to share his experiences on how the small business sector in North Carolina has had a very positive effect on the local economy as a whole.
Appointed by the State Governor, Scott is the first, and indeed only, state Commissioner for Small Business in the United States, serving as primary policy and programme advisor on all issues affecting small businesses.
As well as advising on policy, the Commissioner also supervises the Department of Commerce Business LINK North Carolina unit which provides free consultations, information and referrals to small existing and start up enterprises throughout the state.
The Commission told NIABT members that there were a lot of similarities between the North Carolina experience and the local business environment. Both, he said, have a high percentage of SMEs and are similarly reliant on the contribution made by this particular sector.
This well attended event stimulated a lot of interest and questions from NIABT members who were all interested to learn how and if the North Carolina experience could benefit small business planning, development and support in Northern Ireland.