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BUSINESSES across the capital are looking to the future after surviving three years of an economic tsunami.

And the North Dublin Chamber of Commerce is helping to foster the new spirit.

While the recession has been a "wrench" and a "crisis", it has also been an education, chamber president Fiona Cottell, right, told the Herald.

Having gone through the downturn and survived, companies are now looking forward.

"The generation of business people we have (in the chamber), they would never have experienced anything like this," she said.

"On the one hand, it has been a terrible wrench, a terrible crisis and it's a terrible thing for business people to have to go through. But on the other hand it has been a learning experience. It's been an education in business life," Ms Cottell added.

And after some of the toughest years ever experienced in this country, the mood is slowly changing.

"What we're finding with a lot of our members for the last year is that they are going, yes, we made the changes, we changed our customer profile, we expanded the customer profile, we cut our costs, we changed our services to suit the market we're in and we're still here.

"It's not necessarily that our profits have gone up by 10 or 20pc or anything like that. The achievement is we're still in business... we're quite confident we'll get through the next two to three years. It's the confidence that we'll get through the next two to three years," Ms Cottell said.

With this in mind, the chamber organised the North Dublin Enterprise Expo to showcase services and products from the region.

Ms Cottell said the idea is to get the business owners to "come out on the day... meet with other business providers, meet with potential customers".

The chamber's area stretches from the north inner city out to Balbriggan and over to Blanchardstown.

"We're hoping it can turn into an annual event. We've a 100 people coming along to exhibit. That's a 100 small family- owned businesses coming out," Ms Cottell said.

The event takes place at the Regency Hotel Conference Centre on Swords Road on November 10 between 10.30am and 5pm and it will be followed by an exhibitor-only networking opportunity.


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