Séan Neeson MLA said: “During difficult economic times like these we need to see radical thought from the Executive to protect the local economy. The Stormont Executive claims that their number one priority is the economy, yet they are failing on one of the most important aspects of this – entrepreneurship.
“Small to medium-sized enterprises, created through local entrepreneurship, form the backbone of our economy. The Executive must look to new ways to encourage the creation of new businesses of this nature in Northern Ireland.
“As part of the Review of Invest Northern Ireland, we need to see how the organisation can more effectively promote entrepreneurship locally.
“There needs to be better joined-up government and inter-departmental co-operation for the Executive to succeed in protecting our economy, and this applies in particular to the promotion of entrepreneurship.
“Any new strategy must target the right age group. There is currently too much emphasis placed on graduates and I believe that pupils need to be given more encouragement in relation to starting a business as soon as they leave school. Entrepreneurship is about instincts and ideas more than about theoretical qualifications.
“The Executive must also make attracting entrepreneurs who have left Northern Ireland a key aim. The brain-drain has led to this region losing many business-minded people and the bright ideas they have successfully marketed in other parts of the UK and further afield. I want to see the Executive make progress on this issue this year, as we need decisive action to address the effects of the downturn on our economy.”