Business

Apsley is new chair as Ledcom helps create 235 jobs

Ledcom chief executive Ken Nelson with the organisation's new chair Dr Norman Apsley and former chair Henry Fletcher

THE former head of Northern Ireland's science park has been confirmed as the new chairman of Ledcom, the local economic development company operating in the Larne and east Antrim area.

Dr Norman Apsley, a renowned expert in the knowledge economy, retired last month from his role as chief executive of Catalyst Inc, which over an 18-year period he helped grow from a disused site in the Titanic Quarter into an enterprise hub of 200 companies employing more than 3,000 people.

He was unveiled at Ledcom's annual general meeting at Willowbank business park in Larne, where he succeeds Henry Fletcher as chair.

Dr Apsley said he looked forward to the challenge of working with one of the north's longest-established enterprise agencies, adding: “Ledcom's record of economic development in Northern Ireland over more than 33 years is second to none.

"It has continually adapted to changing circumstances and has been at the forefront of enterprise, innovation and business support. I hop my experience will help to add value to its ongoing work.”

According to its financial report, Ledcom (www.ledcom.org) helped to create 235 jobs in new start-up companies this year with a financial boost of £5 million to the economy.

The directors' report highlighted Ledcom's social and economic impact by injecting almost £350,000 into the wider social economy and delivering support to 157 business and social enterprise start-ups.

Chief executive Ken Nelson described the year's figures as "excellent" and underlined that Ledcom was continuing its key role in supporting economic development across Antrim and Newtownabbey and Mid and East Antrim areas, working in partnership with local councils and other bodies.

Welcoming the appointment of a new Ledcom chair, Mr Nelson added: “Dr Apsley has a long and distinguished career in business, including 18 years as CEO of Catalyst Inc.

"He is dedicated to the promotion of innovation and enterprise and we look forward to his advice and influence. I would also like to pay tribute to our outgoing chair Henry Fletcher who has been a great servant to Ledcom and the business life of this area for many years.”

Ledcom currently has 54 tenant businesses and 350 employment and training places at its business parks and continues to offer managed workspace with wrap round support to encourage new businesses to develop and grow.

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