ISBE2017 Conference Blog

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Preparations are now well underway for the 2017 ISBE conference which is taking place in Belfast this November from the 8th to the 9th. It is hoped that delegates from all over the world will attend the conference making it one of the biggest in ISBE’s history.

Belfast is a dynamic, modern city and if you have never been there before, this conference gives you an opportunity to see it for the first time. Even if you have been before, the city is constantly developing and changing and so it is well worth seeing it again. The conference is to take place in the Europa Hotel, which is conveniently situated near the city’s main rail and bus terminal, making it very convenient for travel to and from both Belfast airports and also from Dublin airport. The drinks reception on the night of Tuesday 7th of November takes place in the hotel’s penthouse bar, which offers great views of the city. The gala dinner takes place in the Titanic Centre, a spectacular museum and conference centre on the banks of the river Lagan, where again there are spectacular views of the city and some impressive monuments to the famous liner.

The theme of the conference is ‘Borders’, prosperity and entrepreneurial responses.

The subject of borders is at the forefront on the island of Ireland at the moment, due to the decision to take the UK out of the European Union. This could mean that the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland could once again be subject to some sort of government control. At last year’s conference, a guest speaker from the border city of Newry outlined the devastating effect this could have for employment in the area.

The conference, though, is not just about physical borders, but also those that exist in people’s minds. For example what prevents minority or disadvantaged groups from starting their own businesses? How many of the barriers they face are ‘perceived’ rather than ‘actual’? Does ‘bordered thinking’ in other areas prevent small and medium sized business from thriving? For example, restrictions in borrowing money as traditional lenders have become risk-averse, or a preoccupation of governments with manufacturing that neglects areas such as agriculture. The ISBE Belfast Conference will provide an ideal opportunity to debate these and other important questions, and provide a constructive platform to explore potential solutions.

Adopting the ‘Borders’ theme, this year’s conference will be a cross-border partnership between Ulster University and the Dundalk Institute of Technology.

The conference has 16 tracks, some of which clearly reflect the above themes; for example Entrepreneurship in Minority Groups, Gender and Enterprise, Entrepreneurial Finance and Rural Enterprise. However, all tracks will be relevant in one way or another and the full list on ISBE’s website will hopefully inspire you to submit an abstract and come along to Belfast this November. It is going to be a great conference and we hope that you can join us.

Professor Colette Henry, Dundalk Institute of Technology and Tony Wall, Ulster University
Conference Academic Chairs

Tony Wall

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