Invest NI has released its end of year results for the 2013-14 Financial Year, reporting a record year of performance, with nearly 11,000 jobs promoted across Northern Ireland and over £1bn of investment secured.
Commenting on the results, Invest NI Chairman Mark Ennis said “To have promoted almost 11,000 jobs, secured over £1bn of new investment commitments and encouraged almost £250m of R&D expenditure in a single year are tremendous outcomes.
“The number of jobs promoted, the associated wages and salaries, the value of assistance offered and the amount of investment planned by business were all at record levels. We also made more offers of support to the highest number of businesses ever.”
Key Achievements for the year
• Promoted almost 11,000 new jobs, against a target of 7,780;
with 6,040 of these in locally owned companies and 4,760 through externally owned companies
• Supported wages and salaries of £190m, 45% by local businesses
• £239m Business R&D investment - £402m in 3 years, exceeding our 4 year PfG target
• Provided support to nearly 3,000 businesses, up 15% on last year
• Exports - 10% growth in exports over same quarter last year
“Not only have we had an excellent year against our annual operating targets, but three years in to our current Corporate Plan, we have already surpassed a number of Programme for Government (PfG) targets,” continued Mark.
“2013-14 was a year of further growth in R&D investment with total new commitments made by businesses of £239m. Given our drive to encourage more, and smaller businesses to invest in R&D, it is encouraging to note that 47% of local R&D investment commitments were made by Small and Medium sized Enterprises.
“Total planned investment in R&D by businesses over the past three years has exceeded £400m, comfortably surpassing the full four year PfG target of £300m.
“We have also exceeded our four year PfG target of securing investment, £1.5bn against a target of £1bn, and through the Jobs Fund promoted over 9,000 jobs against a target of 6,300 and created over 4,600 against a target of 4,000. We have also surpassed one of our four year Economic Strategy targets, securing £306m in Wages & Salaries against a target of £266m.”
Detailing some of the specific highlights, Chief Executive Alastair Hamilton said: “I finished my remarks in our 2012-13 Annual Report by saying that ‘I look forward to working together to deliver another year of successes in 2013-14.’ At the time of writing, I could not have foreseen the extent to which this year would out-perform last year.
“As well as being a record year for the number of jobs promoted, included in this were the two largest ever job creation projects secured since the organisation was established, Concentrix and Stream International, which between them expect to deliver over 2,000 new jobs.
“We also welcomed 23 first-time investors to Northern Ireland across our key target sectors, including Convergys, a direct result of our hosting of the Investment Conference in October, along with others such as ShopKeep POS and GTT.
“Our Jobs Fund, last year alone, promoted over 4,500 jobs and almost 2,000 created, showing that this initiative is helping create jobs across the spectrum, from financial assistance to individuals resident in Neighbourhood Renewal Areas, or young people Not in Employment, Education or Training (NEETS) through to major projects such as Concentrix, Stream and BT.
“It is particularly encouraging that, since the introduction of the scheme, some 55% of the jobs created have been taken up by people previously unemployed or economically inactive, providing opportunities for them to develop their skills and build their experience.
“The year has not been without its challenges. Supporting export growth remains behind target, however there are grounds for optimism and signs that the market is stabilising and improving. This is reflected in the most recent quarterly export data, where there was an encouraging 10% increase over the same quarter last year which represents steady continuous growth.
“In addition to our strong performance against targets we also received very positive feedback in our Customer Satisfaction Survey with our highest level of satisfaction to date at 80 per cent. Coupled with a decreasing dissatisfaction score, at an impressive five per cent, it is clear that Invest NI is delivering services, solutions, advice and support that meet the needs of businesses. This was further acknowledged by our recent Customer Service Excellence award, a Cabinet Office approved CSE standard, enabling us to assess and benchmark how we provide services to our customers.
“I am extremely proud of the achievements we have made this year. It has, by all accounts, been a record year.”