Thu 23rd Jun 2016
June 2016: Nick Coburn, Newly Elected NI Chamber President
This is my first ‘View from the Chair’ as the newly elected President of Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry and it is indeed a genuine honour to assume the position.
My predecessor Stephen McCully did a sterling job in his year as President and I thank him for his guidance as I take over the role.
I believe that in the last decade especially, NI Chamber has provided tremendous leadership to the business community, particularly during some very difficult times for the economy.
In my experience, NI Chamber works on a very practical level with businesses from right across Northern Ireland and from all sectors. This includes micro companies with a handful of employees through to global exporters such as my own company, Ulster Carpets. From established networking events, targeted support programmes around sales and exports through to the contribution we make to the development of government policy, NI Chamber is active on behalf of NI plc, every day, every week of the year.
During my time in office, I will continue with the particular emphasis which NI Chamber places on growth driven by export sales. We have world leading businesses in Northern Ireland, who are helping to make this region set an international benchmark in specific sectors such as life sciences, pharmaceutical innovation, and specialised manufacturing.
In Ulster Carpets we sell 70 per cent of our floor coverings abroad. Our carpets can be found in every continent and our target markets continue to grow. That requires investment and we haven’t been slow to make the necessary commitments in our manufacturing processes and crucially in our people. We have done so in the context of a long term strategic plan. We have certainly benefitted from Invest NI Trade Missions, especially to the United Arab Emirates and I think our successful export model can be applied to so many more companies in Northern Ireland.
I am committed to sharing my experience in export markets with others, just as NI Chamber will continue to facilitate and support that work.
With the new ministers now in place, a settled NI Executive means we can hope for a more joined up approach between ministers. The early signs are positive and the ministers have certainly hit the ground running. They will need to maintain that early energy because the issues in front of them are manifold. NI Chamber stands ready to work with them to drive us all towards a more prosperous economic future.