By Ryan Smith
THERE are positive signs for business in the east of the county.
The enterprise centre on the edge of the Roslea village is filled to capacity and will undergo a major extension starting next month.
While next to the enterprise centre, the former premises of Flynn’s Foods lies vacant since its closure in 2013, the enterprise centre itself is thriving.
First opened in 1994, ten of its 11 units are currently filled – with one undergoing refurbishment. And, two new units are to be added, with work commencing next month.
Reflecting on its origins, director, Seamus Carolan, described the centre as a vital part of the business community in the area.
“Roslea Enterprises Ltd was set up in 1989 with the aim of encouraging economic regeneration for the area, which had long been deprived of its natural hinterland by closure of roads leading to Clones, Scotstown and Monaghan,” Mr Carolan explained, “and with its commercial lifeblood cut off Roslea had become economically stagnant.”
He went on: “No organisation had existed to promote business or commercial development in the area since the demise of ‘Roslea and District Development Association’ during the early seventies. So the board of Roslea Enterprises Ltd immediately set about securing funding to provide workspace for potential entrepreneurs to set up in business with the minimum of red tape or financial input.”
After five years the centre was officially opened in June 1994. It had ten workspace units, each around one thousand square feet. There were also administrative facilities, kitchen and meeting rooms available for tenant use. And the extension is a testament to the success of the building.
One of the businesses currently operating from the enterprise centre is Sliabh Beagh Cross-border Partnership.
Donna Bannon, arts co-ordinator there, said the extension was positive for the area:
“I think there’s probably quite a lot of demand for it. I’d say there’ll be a lot of interest because there’s nothing else in the area, so for somebody looking for a business space it’s the ideal place.”
The push for additional workspace came in 2009, with funding from Fermanagh District Council and Invest NI expected to begin next month on the three thousand square feet extension.
Mr Carolan explained: “The new workspace will comprise two separate units with office, canteen and toilet.
We have several potential tenants for the new units and indeed for any workspace which becomes available.
“The new spaces are configured to enable the board to offer a tenant with a requirement for separate workshop areas, the opportunity to occupy both units with the ancillary services to support a self contained business.
“The board are very grateful to the officers in the economic development department of Fermanagh District Council for the tremendous efforts they have made to get this project almost to the starting line,” he added.