We assist them to develop and grow their businesses and works in partnership with stakeholders to drive economic development across the city.
We are committed to helping Belfast based businesses grow and compete. Between 2011/12 and 2015/16 we have provided support of over £200m to 2,057 local and 177 externally owned businesses based in Belfast, securing over £1.2bn of investment and promoting 15,398 jobs.
The region supports a breadth of sectors including life & health sciences, global business services, financial services and TV, film & digital and emerging sectors such as cyber security. We have supported investment commitments from locally owned companies such as Kainos, with the promotion of 403 new jobs, 372 of these committed to the Belfast City Council area. Over the past few years the city has also attracted a significant number of internationally recognised global investors.
These investors include:
Belfast is currently experiencing significant growth across a number of key sectors. The newly developed Belfast Harbour Studios will provide the infrastructure for further investment in the tv, film and digital sector. It is also fast becoming an internationally recognised global cyber security hub, successfully attracting a number of leading cyber security investors.
Cyber security investors include:
The sector is making an increasingly important contribution to the Northern Ireland economy with a growing base of local firms and specialist university research centres, including the Centre of Secure Information Technology at Queen's University, Belfast. It is investments like these which have helped Northern Ireland to become one of the fastest growing knowledge economies in the UK and for Belfast to maintain its position as No.1 in Europe for new software development projects.
The Eastern Regional Office works extensively with local businesses seeking to develop sales outside of Northern Ireland for the first time. Support is aimed at accelerating the development of new export focused businesses and assisting existing business to grow in external markets.
In addition to our direct support to businesses we work with a range of stakeholders to help grow the local economy by creating employment opportunities, attract investment and ensuring the right conditions and in place to foster continued business growth.
Key partners in Belfast include:
Under local government reform, Belfast City Council are leading the community planning process for the city and our Eastern Regional Office is working with the council and a wide range of partners, including representatives from the statutory, business, higher education, community and voluntary sectors, to develop a long-term plan to improve the social, economic and environmental well-being of the city. Once implemented, the Community Plan known as The Belfast Agenda, will set out the region's strategic plan for the future and will help to identify its unique selling points to attract investment and growth to the area.
Susan O'Kane is Invest Northern Ireland's Regional Office Manager for the North Eastern and Eastern Regional Offices.
Susan has been with Invest NI since 2003 and has held a number of roles working with businesses throughout Northern Ireland. Working with the ICT sector gave her an insight into raising funds, being commercially focused and the importance of a strategic management team. Susan had worked with companies in the textiles sector and understands the need for businesses to be continually innovative, with products, processes and markets, in order to remain competitive.
Previously Susan had been seconded from Invest NI to UKTI, Dusseldorf, Germany, selling the skills of Northern Ireland on a European basis. She is a strong supporter of BITC's Code Club Initiative in local primary schools and YENI's entrepreneurship programmes.
Her sectoral experience, as well as an extensive knowledge of the Invest NI suite of support, ensure the Eastern office is helping to develop the economy by assisting new export focused companies and existing businesses looking to grow in new markets.