London was the perfect setting to pitch Sligo to the diaspora

I was honoured to represent Sligo Chamber of Commerce this week at our annual meeting with the Sligo-London Business Network at the Bloomsbury Hotel in the UK capital. 

In a rapidly changing business environment, Sligo Chamber understands the importance of a steady influx of fresh ideas and perspectives to maintaining the region’s competitiveness.

Across Ireland, returning emigres are using ideas gleaned from industries in Australia, the United States and the UK to drive innovation in their native towns and cities.

This process cannot be relied upon to happen naturally, which is why I was in London this week to connect with the Sligo diaspora and put forward the benefits of returning to work, live and invest in their native county.

I was just one part of the three-prong team, which included Chief Executive of Sligo County Council Martin Lydon, and Brendan McCormack, Head of College at the Atlantic Technological University Sligo Campus.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic we were unable to hold the event for the last two years. In Martin’s address, he outlined the transformative effect that outside investment has had in Sligo since the last event, and spoke passionately about the story of Sligo and our shared vision for the future.

Brendan’s presentation focused on the benefits of Sligo becoming a university town following the establishment of the ATU in April 2022, while my own address centred on the collaboration between members of Sligo Chamber and industry in terms of providing access to skills training, and our mission to become a key resource for SMEs across the region.

Many of the Sligo-London Business Network’s 500 members were in attendance, a number of whom travelled from the outer reaches of the capital for the event.

It’s always inspiring to meet so many people connected to the Yeats County who have built successful businesses abroad. Indeed, that particular theme extended to our hosts, the Bloomsbury Hotel, which is owned by Sligo native Eileen Monahan.

White Hag and Lough Gill Brewery provided refreshments on the night, their delicious range of beers and whiskey showcasing the fantastic local talent producing items with broad appeal to both domestic and international markets.

It was a heart-warming night in London, and special thanks must go to Sligo-London Business Network chief Andy Rogers for giving us the opportunity to connect with the next generation of the diaspora and make the case for Sligo as an excellent place to live and work.

Tara Rodgers, President of Sligo Chamber of Commerce and Industry