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Mid Ulster businesses ‘held back by lack of funding’

'Rogue trader' Nick Leeson, of Barings Bank fame with Cookstown man Conor Devine, who heads the business and Darwin Allen and Louis Watters, from the GDP Partnership. INMM0714-105ar.

'Rogue trader' Nick Leeson, of Barings Bank fame with Cookstown man Conor Devine, who heads the business and Darwin Allen and Louis Watters, from the GDP Partnership. INMM0714-105ar.

Business owners in Cookstown say they are being held back as they can’t access the necessary funds to plan their growth.

Thirty-four per cent say access to finance is the main barrier to business, according to polling results at the Big Bang To Tomlinson event at the Burnavon in Cookstown last Tuesday (February 4).

Over 130 businessmen and women heard from former rogue trader turned business advisor Nick Leeson at the event sponsored by GDP Partnership, which offers bank mediation, restructuring, asset management, corporate finance and real estate advice.

Audience polling undertaken on the night also revealed that 33 per cent of attendees believe that a complete overhaul of banking regulation is needed.

Former Cookstown man Conor Devine of GDP Partnership said, a third of the audience, which was made up of business owners from across all sectors of the economy, are citing access to finance as the biggest barrier.

“What struck me even more is the call from 38 per cent of attendees for a review on all banks trading in Ireland and the UK. “It is time that the banks realised that they need to change the way they operate and begin to work with their customers in a positive manner to ensure that viable businesses aren’t pushed to the wall,” he said.

Nick Leeson, whose risk-taking caused the collapse of Barings bank in 1995, joined GDP last year, and now specialises in bringing solutions to banks on behalf of borrowers in distress.

He holds the role of Principal in the Dublin office of GDP, which is made up of a team of property, accountancy and banking professionals led by Belfast-based partners, Conor Devine and James Gibbons.

Mr Leeson said the number of people who attended the Cookstown event last Tuesday evening is testament to the fact that there are hundreds of people who are concerned about their business and their relationship with their bank.

“People are still finding it tough and unfortunately too many people believe bankruptcy is the only option available to them. This is not the case.”

 

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