LEDCOM, the Enterprise Centre for Larne and Ballyclare has recently published its annual report for the year ending 30th September 2023, showing that the overall economic impact of its activities and clients equates to over £19 million within the local economy.
The organisation has been supporting local businesses and social enterprise start-ups for nearly forty years and offers a wide range of initiatives and training in addition to providing workspaces and conferencing facilities for new and existing businesses.
This year-end report reveals that 300 businesses were directly supported by LEDCOM with 87 businesses and organisations availing of LEDCOM’s workspaces and over 750 individuals benefiting from its services. The success of 2022-23 builds on the positive results of the previous year, when 250 businesses and start-ups were supported.
LEDCOM works closely with both Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council and Mid and East Antrim Council and its figures for this year show that over £555,000 was recirculated into the social economy of both Council areas by LEDCOM activities. These include offering training, particularly among unemployed people and delivering mentoring. For the year ending 2023, LEDCOM delivered a 40+ Fresh Start Programme in conjunction with Mid and East Antrim Borough Council which aimed to raise awareness of self-employment to those aged over 40. It followed the successful delivery of a similar programme in the previous year for those aged over 50.
During the year LEDCOM focused on the development of its subsidiary social enterprises and supporting them to scale up. Businesses also benefitted from LEDCOM’s expertise in helping them access loan funding and other sources of support.
A key service LEDCOM provides is its workspace and conferencing facilities which number over 100 units across four locations in the wider Larne and Ballyclare areas. It continued to work on a significant social enterprise project in Ballyclare by improving and growing the operation of its Foundry House facility and its Ballyclare co-working/hot-desking facility (The Work Cube) was progressed in partnership with Choice Housing and supported by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council. The conference and meeting facilities were increasingly used by both tenants and non-tenants.
Through its activities it has helped boost urban and rural economic regeneration in County Antrim. Dr Norman Apsley OBE, Chairman of LEDCOM said, “We are delighted that LEDCOM has successfully delivered on our 2023 objectives. As a supporting organisation, we are committed to helping the local business community and investing in our local area. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our delivery partners and we are very much looking forward to helping new and existing clients in 2024.”
LEDCOM published its annual report at its recent annual conference where the audience heard from keynote speakers including the organisation’s CEO, Ken Nelson MBE and Gary Wilmot, CEO of Kilwaughter Minerals, LEDCOM’s local corporate partner.
Ken Nelson MBE, LEDCOM’s Chief Executive commented, “Our focus is on inspiring and supporting local businesses and individuals to help them develop and further grow their businesses. We do that by effectively working with local Councils and a range of delivery partners. I am delighted that this year’s report has highlighted how we have helped to contribute over £19 million worth of economic investment for the local area. This is testament to the enthusiasm and commitment of our staff and voluntary Board who gives freely of their time and guidance. LEDCOM has had a positive impact in the local area and as we prepare for 2024, we are confident we will be able to deliver additional mentoring and support to those embarking on their business journey.”
Gary Wilmot, CEO of Kilwaughter Minerals said, “As LEDCOM’s corporate partner, we have been a keen supporter of the organisation for many years, acting as both a client of the facilities and contributor to its programmes and services. I would like to congratulate the whole LEDCOM team in the delivery of such a strong annual report. The services it provides are vital, bringing added value to the local towns and community and we are proud to champion the work it does.”
For more information on how to avail of LEDCOM’s services and workspaces please visit its website ledcom.org.