Judith Cochrane MLA said: “The last six years have been immensely challenging for Northern Ireland’s economy as we’ve been buffeted by the ill winds of the worst global recession in living memory. But the economy is improving. Not in every sector. Not everywhere. And not fast enough. But it is improving.
“Things are getting better and as the world’s economy improves, I believe Northern Ireland is well positioned to take advantage and it is important that government does all it can to assist our businesses in doing so.
“I am particularly keen on working with our small and medium sized enterprises, which make up the majority of our private sector. With this is mind, I established the Assembly Group on SMEs which serves as a useful conduit between politicians and local businesses and allows us to explore how the Assembly can assist and encourage all types of SMEs to establish, grow and maximise their potential.
“One of the aims of the Assembly Group will be to help create an environment whereby every SME in Northern Ireland can employ one more person in the next four years – or ‘1 more in 4’ for short.
“There is no doubt that we have a lot of people in Northern Ireland with great ideas but we need to create the environment to nurture that, and help develop business ideas and establish an ambition to grow large-scale international companies.”