Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson said more investment and support should be targeted towards Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) to help grow the economy.
Ms Anderson is currently hosting representative of SMEs and community and voluntary organisations from across the North.
Ms Anderson said;
“Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) are the life good of our economy in the North.
“They are one of our main employers and are at the heart of communities and provide around 85 per cent of jobs.
“Despite the challenging economic climate we are currently in as a result of the extreme austerity policies of the British government, many SMEs are continuing to grow, creating employment and pumping money into our economy.
“These businesses need support, encouragement and investment to allow them to continue to grow.
“Huge opportunities exist in Europe to support our SME sector.
“Europe can not only provide practical financial assistance to companies, but also support to exploit the massive potential our membership of the European Union brings.
“Europe also provides opportunities to open up lucrative export markets for our SME sector.
“To encourage the SME sector and to ensure its continued growth I am proposing that a dedicated SME conference should be held in the North.
“Such an event would allow SMEs to tap into models of best practise from across Europe and would be an invaluable resource for those involved in the sector.” Ends/Críoch