Day 2’s account is written by Peter Adair, 13S.
The second day of Commerce Week began promptly at 8:30 in the Common Room in school where we gathered before walking to The Merchant Hotel to meet some of the key individuals in the leading NI Hospitality company: Beannchor. Prior to our arrival at The Merchant, we were even surprised by a meeting with Andrew Trimble at a nearby café!
Upon arrival we were greeted by Finance Director of the company, James Sinton, and renowned entrepreneur and owner of the hotel, Bill Wolsey. After grabbing tea and coffee in the boardroom of the hotel, our hosts shared their background with us and shed light on the growing hospitality sector in Northern Ireland.
Next on the itinerary was a visit to Catalyst Inc. in the Titanic Quarter of Belfast. Catalyst Inc. is a company which supports innovative technological companies and I was surprised to witness the huge scale of their operation; global companies such as Microsoft currently utilise their vast office space.
We visited many interesting organisations which put into perspective the extent to which the quaternary industry is becoming a core element of the Northern Irish economy. The company B-Secur was particularly cool, creating cutting edge software which, they said, could one day measure a patient’s heartbeat and alert medical services immediately if he/she was suffering from heart problems.
Lastly, we visited the chemical giant, Almac, in Portadown. This company employs over five thousand people worldwide and it was great to gain an insight into such a successful business, having been granted access to their laboratories and offices.
Altogether, it was a fascinating experience and gave me a great perspective on the Northern Irish hospitality, technology and pharmaceutical industries.