MORE evidence is emerging of Dungannon’s economic success story with new figures showing that local people are the most entrepreneurial in Northern Ireland.

Opening up a small business in a tough economic climate is a big gamble, but it seems that Dungannon people are the best in Northern Ireland at building their own businesses.

Over 1,000 indigenous business start ups have been formed in the South Tyrone and Fermanagh constituency in recent years, the highest total in Northern Ireland, according to figures released this week by Enterprise Minister
Arlene Foster.

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Ms Foster had been asked to provide details of the number of the number of indigenous business start-ups, broken down by constituency, over the last five years, by the Ulster Unionist Party’s economic spokesperson Sandra Overend.

The Minister’s figures reveal that there has been a disproportionately high number of new businesses start ups in the Dungannon District. Mid Ulster had the second highest number of start-ups.

After those two constituency areas, came West Tyrone and East Londonderry.

Secretary of State Theresa Villiers praised Dungannon for its success story.

“In many ways it seems that business in the Dungannon area has bucked the economic trend of recent years and found new and creative ways to thrive”, she said.

“While I certainly do not underestimate the challenges that have been faced and those still to come, I feel sure that as participants today consider the question of whether Dungannon is Up for Business, the answer will be a resounding ‘Yes’!

According to Dungannon Enterprise Centre Director Brian MacAuley , Dungannon’s entrepreneurial streak is what makes it exceptional. He said that while there was much to be positive about, local businesses should not rest on the their laurels and more should be done by the government to support the economy.

“We are now calling on the government to show more leniency towards businesses struggling to pay tax bills”, he said. “It has been alarming to hear that many local businesses are experiencing more punitive measures around tax payments.

“In addition, the lack of broadband coverage for parts of the district is another major stumbling block for many businesses. There should be no blackspot areas. Broadband provision should be regarded as another essential utility such as water or electricity. We need complete broadband saturation in the area as it is the lifeblood of businesses in the 21st century.

“We look forward to an exciting year for Dungannon town centre with the start of the Public Realm Scheme and we ask landlords to invest in their properties and help give the town an extra boost.”