Dare to be different, urges Chamber chief

Derry should embrace the spirit of entrepreneurialism, Londonderry Chamber of Commerce President Padraig Canavan said in his speech to this year’s Chamber dinner, at which the First Minister Peter Robinson was the keynote speaker.

The annual dinner is the premier social event in the North West’s business calendar.

“The City of Culture year is a truly fantastic opportunity and one we should seize,” said Mr Canavan. “To make the most of it we need to be more entrepreneurial, and start being so now. Derry - and Northern Ireland - has a very low level of entrepreneurial activity.

“To change this we must all start stepping outside our comfort zone – live a little on the edge, stretch a little further in an effort to reach our goals, perhaps try something completely different to add a little spice to our economic life.

“That’s what we need in Derry – as many of us as possible trying out new things in response to this wonderful new and increasingly urgent opportunity. So my simple request is ‘dare to be different’. Abandon the dogma of the past. See Derry in a different light, indeed be a different light in Derry. And take pride in making this future happen.

“For each of us personally it means standing out, taking a chance. Think of Derry as a place of opportunity and make that opportunity a reality. But most of all I ask government and the civil service to think differently about Derry. Be creative in how you can help the city become what we all want it to be – a healthy economic contributor.”

The keynote speaker at the Chamber dinner was First Minister Peter Robinson.

“We are very privileged to be addressed by Mr Robinson and we sincerely thank him for attending,” said Padraig Canavan.

The Chamber dinner was sponsored by Ulster Bank. Nial Douglas, the Head of Ulster Bank’s North West Business Centre, says: “Ulster Bank is delighted to work in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce to support such a prestigious event, which highlights and underscores the City’s role as an important economic hub. There is much to be proud of and positive about in the City, from the opening of the Peace Bridge to the plans for the City of Culture celebrations, and Ulster Bank is committed to supporting businesses to help them maximise the potential that these and other opportunities offer.”