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Westport seeks hi-tech jobs

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Westport seeks hi-tech jobs

Padraig Burns

A major campaign has been launched to attract multinational companies to bring hi-tech jobs to Westport.
Despite the town’s economic success from tourism, Westport is not resting on its laurels and has begun a big campaign to add more diversity to the town’s economy.
A newly-formed group called the Westport Multi Agency Enterprise Group (WMAEG) has been set up to attract multi-national technology industry to the new Westport Business Technology Park.
On foot of advice from the IDA that the town would have to sell itself, the group has invested in a website and DVD as part of the campaign which has already been endorsed by the Minister for Enterprise and Employment, Mr Micheál Martin.
One of the leading industrialists in America, Mr David Pyott, the Chairman and Chief Executive of Allergan Pharmaceuticals, has also thrown his weight behind the town.
Business and industrial consultant James O’Doherty is on the group aiming to attract new business. He explained that the campaign was about selling the uniqueness of the west Mayo town.
“It’s about convincing people that Westport is the place to set up business. What we are trying to do is sell the uniqueness of Westport both as an industrial base and as a place to live. The industries that have set up here have thrived and are still growing, so there is a base already in place.
“This campaign allows us to be proactive and instead of relying on the State agencies such as the IDA we will be out there ourselves selling the place as well as we can. We have the support of the IDA but we have got to go out and do it ourselves as well,’’ he said.
If successful, the campaign will boost multi-national job creation. Recent figures revealed that the IDA is struggling to sell the county; it managed to attract just 88 jobs to Mayo last year.
The town’s plans is also a contrast to other parts of the county, in particular Ballina which has been hit by job losses this year. A new business park is also held up in a legal wrangle.
Mr O’Doherty said the DVD and the website were tools but the next part of the strategy was to make physical contacts with business people and convince them of the worth of setting up here. He said there may be Westport natives in America or Japan and they may be in a position to network for the town to attract investment.
The campaign theme is ‘Building on Success’; a reference to Westport’s reputation of attracting multinational industries. Allergan Pharmaceutical is the obvious example but there are others such as Field Boxmore, Botox, Isotron and Nomadic.
However Allergan, which set up in the 1970s, remains the main employer in the town with several hundred now working at its factory.
If companies move to Westport they will have access to the new 50-acre full serviced business technology park. It has sites immediately available for development.
Minister Martin welcomed the local initiative, and committed the resources of the State agencies in support. He acknowledged the vitality and success of the business community in Westport and promised business leaders his support for the development projects that will allow Westport to grow and thrive into the 21st century.
The members of WMAEG are Peter Hynes, Westport Town Manager; Cllr Myles Staunton, Westport Town Council; Owen Hughes, President, Westport Chamber of Commerce; James O’Doherty, Westport Chamber of Commerce.
For more information, visit www.westportworks.com.