Chamber Toasts 230 Years at Titanic Celebration
Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce toasted its 230th Anniversary on 17 April 2012 at a celebration gala ball at Titanic Belfast – the first business event of its kind in the new iconic landmark building. Almost 800 business leaders from across Northern Ireland gathered for the Chamber230 Gala event, with dignitaries including Secretary of State Owen Paterson, PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott, and the Ministers for Justice, Employment and Learning, Social Development and Regional Development.
The event was hosted in partnership with headline sponsor bmi, British Midlands International and supporting partners Cleaver Fulton Rankin, DSV, Power NI and the Ulster Business School at the University of Ulster.
Entertainment was provided by global jazz star Jamie Cullum and the keynote speaker was Ireland rugby legend Brian O’Driscoll, who paid compliment to the Northern Ireland business community for its drive and resilience in striving for economic recovery, and drew parallels between the professionalism and leadership qualities required to succeed in both business and sport.
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Owen Paterson meanwhile congratulated Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce on its 230th Anniversary, saying that the organisation had never been more important in Northern Ireland business and would be crucial to the next 230 years of business success and prosperity here.
Addressing the guests before dinner, NI Chamber President Francis Martin said: "Our Chamber today continues to be guided by the same objectives set when it was first established in 1782, and the founding fathers would surely be impressed by the breadth and extent of its work today in representing the interests of business here to policymakers and in creating opportunities for members to prosper at home, nationally and in international markets.
"More than 1,000 businesses - truly representative of the scale and profile of business in Northern Ireland - now hold membership of what has become the region's most-respected business body. Northern Ireland Chamber now has a powerful influence in policy formation and has also developed a broad range of professional services shaped to help companies here to succeed and flourish.
"While we cherish our heritage, we are also focused sharply on the future growth of the economy and community development. Our policy work and professionally delivered services are designed to assist companies here to develop skills, knowledge and experience that will enhance their overall capability and ability to compete for and win business, particularly in markets outside Northern Ireland.
"Our overall objective for 2012 and beyond is to provide an effective and flexible support structure for a more dynamic private sector and to create a more vibrant, robust and high-growth economy that will ensure quality and will reward employment. The Chamber, I am confident, is well on its way to realising its undoubted potential as Northern Ireland's leading business organisation."
NI Chamber Chief Executive Ann McGregor suggested that the popularity of the event demonstrated an emerging optimism among the Northern Ireland business community: “The current business agenda tends to be very much dominated with doom and gloom but, despite facing some of the most challenging times on record, there is a sense of cautious optimism emerging among Northern Ireland companies.
“Tonight's event in this world-class venue sold out within a matter of days of tickets going on sale, with companies seizing the opportunity to celebrate some of the excellent achievements of NI Chamber and the Northern Ireland business community over the past 230 years and look forward to bigger and better times ahead for business here.
“We were delighted to have bmi, British Midland International on board as our headline sponsor and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them, together with our supporting partners, for their generous support – without which tonight’s event not have been possible."
Speaking on behalf of the Chamber230 partners, Brenda Morgan, bmi Sales Manager Ireland said: “Just like Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce, bmi, British Midland International plays a major role in supporting Northern Ireland businesses – providing a vital gateway between companies here and the worldwide business market through our important Belfast to London Heathrow route.
“bmi is proud to have partnered with Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce for tonight’s event - marking its 230th anniversary, celebrating all that is good about business here and looking towards a thriving economic future for Northern Ireland.”
A gallery of photos from the event is available at:
Videos from Chamber230 are also available on the Chamber's Youtube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/nichamber
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