Laois Chamber of Commerce Launched!
Laois is open for business! That was the overwhelming message at today’s (24th September) launch of Laois Chamber of Commerce. The establishment of the Chamber comes after a hiatus spanning several years in which Laois was just one of two counties without a Chamber.
Outlining the vision for the Chamber, CEO Bernie Everard told the assembled guests that “Laois is an untapped county that is a hidden gem and a vibrant Chamber is crucial to help and encourage growth”.
She said “ Laois has three unique selling points that I can see; it offers great ease of movement from town to town with a superb road infrastructure that connects urban and rural locations quickly and conveniently, and from both inside and outside the county; It takes 90 minutes to get to our major cities from Laois and that is critical for business; There are tourist possibilities in the county that are under the radar and we have a very vibrant Agri Food sector. All of these combine to make Laois a county of amenities and facilities that we can all work at promoting”.
A Chamber that is inclusive and welcoming for all business, large and small is one of the key aims for the new CEO and her Board as she explained,
“Laois Chamber has already started building on the strengths within the county collaborating with Laois County Council, Local Enterprise Office (LEO), BSU, Laois Tourism, Enterprise Ireland , IDA, LOETB to name but a few. Connecting the dots will translate into a significant county Chamber within the midlands region that will in turn attract businesses to come and “set up shop in Laois”.
“My goal is to build a membership organisation with a strong foundation that will be the voice for business in Laois Chamber servicing the sole trader to large corporate and everything in between”.
“We will endeavour to deliver a service that will suit all sizes of business delivering member benefits through Inspirational Speaker Series, lobbying, advice, training and networking that will enable engagement and will lead to business growth and sustainability”.
“This will encompass my own core values of inclusivity, respect, accountability, transparency, collaboration, connecting and innovation”.
“Membership is the life blood of any Chamber and I am urging business to join with us as we embark on what is an exciting chapter for Co. Laois”.
“Let’s all work together now to make Laois the centre of Ireland to do business”.
Hopes are high that large numbers of jobs are to be created in Laois following confirmation that an application to Enterprise Ireland is to be made inside the next week or so, which if successful ,could see massive investment for the county.
Hugely successful Business woman Louse Phelan, made this revelation during her keynote address at the official launch of Laois Chamber of Commerce .
The Rathdowney native told the packed event at the Heritage in Killenard that “I want big numbers of jobs for Laois and so I’m delighted the re establishment of Laois Chamber of Commerce .It is an extremely important milestone for the local business environment, and critical to the success of any county. I have worked for decades for American companies and every single time they go to set up in a new town, it is to the Chamber they first head”.
“There are 12,000 people leaving Laois every day and that is not sustainable. I am here today as I see that Laois has a great opportunity to create new employment at scale. The Chamber is essential to the sustained economic growth of the county, and it’s critical to ensuring that we are first and foremost in getting jobs to Laois, because Laois is indeed at a tipping point, with the new improved bypass, Laois has continued to grow at record rates and businesses within the county have continued to punch above their weight, but we are not done and I and a number of people in this room can bring more jobs to Laois” .
Making a passionate pitch on the benefits of remote working Louise Phelan said ““When people have to commute long distances every day to go to work , it has negative knock on effects, it’s soulless. When I wanted to bring 1,000 new jobs to Laois in 2012 I couldn’t do it as we didn’t have the necessary broadband and ancillary infrastructure, but today all that’s changed and Laois is ready to go”.
“There is a saying that ‘if you don’t innovate, you evaporate’. CEO’S have to think out of the box, they have to realise that they don’t need to see their employees every day and remote working is the future .People are not productive if they are spending hours getting to work and hours getting home. I use the old saying ‘A fish rots from the head down , there has to be a top down approach that will allow Laois to punch above its weight”.
“People want to live where they work, it’s quality of life and it makes for a productive workforce”. “The co working hubs are a starting place . I want to bring big jobs here, I want big numbers .Every job created brings huge benefits to the local community; workers buy their sandwiches locally, they shop where they work and live”.
“There are massive opportunities for Laois , It is my county, it is our county, we own it and I am asking you to collaborate with us , support us to get stuff done .Most Companies don’t want to be in Dublin, together let’s bring them to Laois”.
John Mulholland CEO of Laois County Council said that the launch of Laois Chamber is a signal that the “County is hungry for business. Collaboration is key and while the Chamber is an independent business body, it has the support of government funded bodies in Laois . We have to work together”.
Ian Talbot, Chambers Ireland CEO , quipped “It was great not having to commute to Dublin today; Laois is superbly located ,guaranteeing ease of access and the launch of the Chamber couldn’t have come at a better time”.
Echoing the need for a Chamber that will work to represent all businesses in Laois ,Chamber President Martin Crowley revealed there are hopes that an international Agri Business will set up in Laois following ongoing negotiations and a recent visit to the county by the company’s CEO.
Confident of this development he said “We will land this company ;Laois is going to thrive”.
Mr Crowley said that said a thriving county has a positive knock on effect on people’s finances and wellbeing.
“There’s not just a WILL for Laois to prosper but in fact a massive amount of GOODWILL throughout the county. Opportunities will arise out there for this county to prosper and we as a Chamber must be ready to facilitate a connection between businesses, the County Council and state bodies to ensure that we are ready to grab these opportunities when they surface.”
“This will be a Chamber inclusive of big and small businesses throughout the county. It will facilitate and create connections for businesses in Laois to succeed. Keeping things simple will be a big objective. We will encourage businesses in Laois to support each other and sharing experiences that have proven to be very successful to others, to help them become leaders in their fields. All these initiatives will have a positive effect on the standard of living and wellbeing of the people living here in Laois. Laois chamber will take a business approach to helping businesses throughout the county. Some of the best ideas will come from our members. We want to show that you don’t have to operate within the bounds of the M50 to do business”.