Foster announces new online initiative to grow NI global network

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has today announced the creation of a new not-for-profit virtual organisation, Northern Irish Connections, to develop and grow the support of people with a connection to Northern Ireland by birth, family, education or business.

Known as the Diaspora community, people living outside Northern Ireland are a key audience for organisations focussed on developing and growing the Northern Ireland economy, be that through business, tourism, education or trade.

Launching the new organisation Minister Foster said: “A wide range of organisations in Northern Ireland consider the Diaspora community a key audience, resource or market and are already working to engage with this group as a means of raising awareness and promoting Northern Ireland around the world.

“By creating this new, not-for-profit organisation to take the strategic lead and determine the best method for interacting with the Diaspora community we can ensure that all interactions with this target group are strategic, co-ordinated, timely and effective.

“Working closely with central and local government it will play a key role in supporting the delivery of the Executive’s Economic Strategy and Programme for Government (PfG). One of its key responsibilities will be to develop and maintain a global network of advocates who will be in a position to communicate key strategic messages in their country and sector, facilitating developments in Foreign Direct Investment, trade, education, investment and tourism in Northern Ireland.”

Northern Irish Connections will be funded by a member subscription system, open to public and private organisations, with governance will be delivered by an unpaid non-executive Supervisory Board.