LEADING business lights will gather for the launch of the newly-formed Laois Chamber of Commerce next week.
Rathdowney native and top businesswoman Louise Phelan will be keynote speaker at the event, which will run from 8.30am to 10.30am on Tuesday 24 September at The Heritage in Killenard.
Louise will be joined at the launch by justice minister Charlie Flanagan and newly-appointed Chamber CEO Bernie Everard, who says that she will lay out a “vision and mission to make Laois the centre of Ireland to do business”.
After just a few weeks in the new job, Bernie has travelled to towns across the county, meeting business people and listening to what they want and need for their areas.
In a statement issued last Friday, she said: “Laois has so much to offer from so many points of interest, geographically, socially and financially. There are 12,000 people leaving Laois every day to work in other counties and we want to harness those. We have a very young population who want flexibility in their working arrangements and with our great co-working spaces we can offer them choice.”
Figures gathered by the new Chamber show that almost half (49%) of Laois residents are aged under-35 and the employment rate is 92%. The county also has an ideal central location, with 87% of the Irish population living within a 90-minute journey. Laois has a combined disposable household income of €1.46bn.
Bernie added: “Rents are cheaper, rates are cheaper, we can offer huge spaces for companies who need an excellent location coupled with state-of-the-art amenities. A variety of places to do business will have the knock-on effect of encouraging families to move to Laois and that would be beneficial for the entire business community, as people spend in the areas they live.”
The launch will feature what Bernie describes as a stellar line-up of speakers with a passion for Laois and a desire to see it thrive. She said: “They believe in the county and they are determined to work towards its future. I am urging business people in Laois to join us for the event and together we can put the county on the map.”