Foster Encouraged by Record Breaking Invest NI Results

Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster has welcomed a record performance by Invest Northern Ireland with nearly 11,000 jobs promoted across Northern Ireland in the 2013-2014 financial year.

Speaking after the publication of today’s end of year results, Arlene Foster said: “Invest NI has recorded its best year end performance to date with these tremendously encouraging figures, which show that the total number of jobs promoted, businesses supported, salaries and investment planned are all at highest ever levels.

“Over £1billion of investment has been secured and 11,000 jobs promoted - this will have a real and positive impact on our local economy. A total of 5,249 offers of support have been made to businesses, with 94% to locally owned companies.

“This is no mean achievement considering the highly challenging business environment that we have faced in recent years.”

Referring to how the Jobs Fund has been instrumental in helping local companies create new jobs quickly the Minister continued: “Last year, the Jobs Fund exceeded its target, promoting over 4,500 and creating almost 2,000 jobs through projects such as Concentrix and Stream International. This initiative is really delivering, not only for businesses by helping them to create the jobs they need to grow, but also for individuals, as over half of the jobs created were filled by people who were not in employment.

“It is also encouraging to see more and more companies investing in research and development to help them get or stay ahead of the competition by being the best in their field. 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 SMEs. This is crucial to their ability to differentiate from the competition and compete in global markets.”

Arlene Foster concluded: “At the heart of our Programme for Government was a determination to grow a dynamic innovative economy, and in the midst of one of the worst recessions on record we set some very challenging economic development targets. Three years into the current Corporate Plan period, Invest NI has delivered an extremely strong set of results for 2013-14 and has already surpassed a number of those Programme for Government targets.

“These results, the latest in a line of positive indicators for the local economy, give confidence for the future. It is encouraging that businesses are beginning to see signs of recovery, that our local companies are continuing to broaden their horizons and that Northern Ireland continues to be an attractive location for globally mobile investment across a range of sectors. However, I remain absolutely focused on the future, determined to build further on the momentum achieved to date as we work through our Economic Strategy priorities.”