We are working closely with the business community and partner organisations in supporting business development, helping increase productivity and export levels, attracting high quality inward investment, and stimulating a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation.
In 2014/15 we supported 3,000 businesses with their growth plans, be that through job creation, capital investment, investing in skills, innovation or R&D, or helping them to reach new customers in new markets. Three quarters of those businesses were located outside of Belfast.
This support helped stimulate £1.4bn investment in the local economy last year, £899 million (67%) of that by businesses outside of Belfast.
Even more impressive is that investment outside Belfast has grown by 273 per cent over the four years of this Programme for Government. Companies including Randox in Antrim, Autoline in Newry, McColgans in Strabane, Whites in Tandragee and Webtech in Enniskillen are just a few of the businesses that have contributed to this growth.
There is a frequent misperception that job creation is focused in Belfast. Yet last year 73 per cent of the 9,410 jobs created with our support were within businesses located outside Belfast.
Several regions have recorded increased levels of investment and achieved top performance in recent years, for example:
Through working in partnership with local firms we have helped them to expand, look to new markets, invest in skills training for their staff and undertake R&D to remain ahead of the competition. Saturn Electrical Distribution Ltd in Dungannon, Burren Balsamics in Ballynahinch, ER Media in Banbridge and Northern Innovation in Moneyreagh are just some of the companies which have recently benefited.
In addition to our direct support to businesses, we work in partnership with stakeholders to support activities that will help drive economic development in the regions. Our Regional Offices are working closely with the local councils in the development of their economic development plans, and in identifying their unique selling points that will help attract investment and growth in the area. As statutory partners, Invest NI will be actively participating with the 11 new councils in the Community Planning process.
We look forward to continuing to work in partnership with stakeholders to further develop the regional economy.