Radical change is needed
“Radical change is needed in how we approach the key issue of economic development,” I said.
“All of us want to grow the economy, create thousands of jobs and make Belfast a world-leader in enterprise and innovation.
“But to do that, ‘as you were’ isn’t good enough.
“It needs a fresh and determined focus.
“It needs an urgency and intensity not seen before.
“It needs us to raise our game as a city.
“It needs Belfast, in economic terms, to be a Champions League city.
“And, in my view, the Fresh Start at Stormont gives us the ideal opportunity to reboot our entire approach to economic development.”
There’s more on my website newbelfast.com but I think that’s the meat of the message right there.
And as Belfast gears up this coming week for a Sister Cities conference (great to see you again, Nashville and Boston) and the BelTech summit on big data, it’s clear the race is on.
And speaking of races: I will run the Belfast Marathon on 5 May for Mencap, an outstanding charity working with people with learning disabilities. I love their bold and uncompromising mission to ensure those with disabilities live full, equal and liberated lives.
“Mencap works with people with a learning disability to change laws, challenge prejudice and support them to live their lives as they choose,” is how they summarise their work.
They believe in a bolder vision.
Late last year, they replaced a dunderin inn headquarters they had been stuck with for a beautiful, purpose-built centre in South Belfast which speaks to inclusion and dignity.
So they have me hooked: I have agreed to run the local marathon for this great charity and am matching the first £1,000 raised. The good news: at our biz breakfast, we received donations totaling £540 so we’re motoring.
If you wish to throw in a few pounds or dollars or euro, it would be much appreciated by the many users of Mencap’s services and you would be taking a stand for equality and inclusion for all.