Supporting economic growth in the North-East


Moira Loughran
Mar 22, 2016

Moira Loughran, Invest Northern Ireland’s North East Regional Manager explains how the economy in the north-eastern region is benefitting from the support of Invest Northern Ireland and its enterprise partners.

High productivity combined with export success fuels job creation. Across the four years of the Programme for Government (2011-2015) Invest NI support helped to secure 4,245 new jobs for the north-eastern region, which takes in the council areas of Antrim & Newtownabbey and Mid & East Antrim. During this time, 3,429 new jobs were actually created.

Home-grown success

The north-eastern region is home to some of Northern Ireland’s biggest, boldest and best known companies. These include home-grown successes like Randox in Crumlin, which announced last year that it is to create a further 540 quality jobs by 2019, and the ambitious Wrightbus, which continues to achieve impressive export success with its recent announcement of a £62million deal with Transport for London for nearly 200 new Routemaster buses.


Inward investment

It’s also the home of a number of inward investors such as the global aerospace component firm RLC and Terumo BCT, a leading manufacturer of medical devices. In the past 4 years, the largest total inward investments into the north-eastern region came from companies from Great Britain, with total investment of £89million and the US coming in a close second with £74million of planned investment and Japan in third with £54million.

With our support, support from the local councils and a number of other stakeholders Invest NI are intent on helping the north-east to realise its economic potential which will require a continued focus on exporting.

But these large corporations are not the full story, for across the region hundreds of small companies are also playing their part in growing the economy. With our support, support from the local councils and a number of other stakeholders Invest NI are intent on helping the north-east to realise its economic potential which will require a continued focus on exporting.

Export potential

It is well known that the Northern Ireland market is too small to support economic growth and that it is essential that we help more companies look to markets further afield. Building exports remains a key focus and the implementation of DETI’s Export Action Plan - Export Matters, will help to encourage companies in Northern Ireland to be active and successful in selling in global markets. Invest NI will drive this plan forward in this region and seek to assist those firms who are already competing successfully overseas as well as supporting new exporters in order to increase and diversify our export base, helping local businesses to move into new markets.

Along with the Chambers of Commerce and other local stakeholders, we have been working closely to build on the strong business base in the north-east. This is evident in our support for local companies, and new inward investments secured for the region. Contrary to the belief that job creation is focused on Belfast, during the last four years, 72 per cent of the 28,000 jobs created with Invest NI support were within businesses located outside Belfast.

This kind of support has helped several local companies to achieve export success including Environmental Street Furniture in Newtownabbey, which now counts McDonald’s among its customers, Antrim Hills, which recently announced a new deal to supply its ‘Water Within’ product range to Dubai Duty Free, and Glenarm Organic Salmon, whose premium product is enjoyed around the world.


Our support is also helping businesses to become more productive. Performance data for 2014 also showed that, of Invest NI supported businesses, North East companies had a higher than average rate of productivity per employee - highlighting the impact of Invest NI’s support in the region.

We are working in partnership with stakeholders to drive economic development in the region and with the new councils now implementing their own economic development plans we are confident that the economy of the north-east will continue to develop and strengthen, benefitting all.

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