Northern Ireland businessman, Ken Nelson, has been appointed as chairman of InterTradeIreland by the North South Ministerial Council. Chief executive of Local Economic Development Company (LEDCOM) Ltd, one of Northern Ireland’s leading social enterprises, Ken has more than 25 years’ experience working closely with entrepreneurs, start-up companies, small businesses and social enterprises. During his career with LEDCOM, Ken has had regular involvement with cross-border trade development activities for micro-enterprises and small businesses.
Thomas Hunter McGowan, CEO for InterTradeIreland, commented: “We welcome Ken and know that his breadth of experience within the economic development sector will add value to InterTradeIreland’s offering. He has supported SMEs right across the industry, from business incubation, managed workspace development and social entrepreneurship through to small business growth.
“With such diverse achievements, he is set to inspire our fledging companies and we look forward to his unique viewpoint and considered input.”
Ken, who lives in Ballyclare, is married with six children, also has more than 22 years’ experience working as an economic development advisor to local government. He is a regular speaker at economic development and entrepreneurship conferences locally, nationally and internationally, as well as writing various columns on business issues for a local newspaper.
Commenting on his appointment, Ken said: “It is a great honour to be appointed as chairman of InterTradeIreland, a vital organisation for which I have much respect. I understand the importance of the cross-border market, having worked in this area for a number of years, stretching back to my early career in the textile industry.
“I hope to provide further strategic direction to the organisation, as I work closely with the other members of the board and the employees to drive InterTradeIreland forward in these uncertain times.”
Ken has a BA in Business Studies, MBA and MSc in Human Resource Management as well as being a Chartered Manager (CMgr) and Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute (FCMI). He was one of the founding directors and former chairman of Enterprise Northern Ireland, the association of NI’s local enterprise centres.
In 2010 he was the sole Northern Ireland recipient of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion and is a voluntary member of the board of directors of three social enterprises. Ken is also a member of the Board of Governors of the Northern Regional College and Stranmillis University College.
In April 2012, Ken was appointed to the Board of Invest Northern Ireland and re-appointed in April 2015.