Ledcom reflects on outstanding year - and creation of 300 jobs

Ledcom chair Henry Fletcher (left), guest speaker Dr Brendan Murtagh and Ledcom chief executive Ken Nelson at the company’s AGM

LEDCOM business enterprise centre in Larne has helped its clients to create and safeguard more than 300 jobs during 2017, its annual general meeting heard.

The annual report showed that Ledcom worked with more than 1400 people in training or job schemes, supported 135 social enterprise start-up businesses and invested more than £119,000 in the local community through voluntary time and pro bono services.

Its chair Henry Fletcher said that it had been "an outstanding year", noting that the organisation was a self-financing social enterprise delivering local economic development support in a best value way with re-investment in local communities.

During 2017 Ledcom was involved with initiatives and services which supported 1418 people, helping to create 300 new jobs and 135 new businesses and social enterprises through a variety of programmes, including business start-up advice, social entrepreneurship, and community engagement and employability.

Through its job promotion programmes, Ledcom ( focused on those from disadvantaged areas such as the long term unemployed, young people searching for work and those with disabilities.

The company currently has 52 tenant businesses and 388 employment and training places on its properties with the offer discounted rentals and incubation support to encourage new businesses to develop and grow.

Mr Fletcher added: “We act as a one-stop-shop for business advice to individuals and start-up businesses, providing incubation support and mentoring.

"This year we were chosen to deliver the new Northern Ireland Business Start Programme in Larne and for all of the Antrim & Newtownabbey council area. So far 94 clients have submitted business plans and we look forward to seeing new businesses grow from them.”

Keynote speaker at the meeting was Dr Brendan Murtagh of Queen's University, an expert on urban regeneration, who has carried out an in-depth study of Ledcom in order to measure the economic impact of social enterprises on the local economy.

Dr Murtagh found that during the study period Ledcom traded with 17 other social enterprises across the north and had re-invested more than £386,000 back into the social economy, equating to more than half of its total expenditure.

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