Invest Northern Ireland assistance promoted 300 new jobs in the new North Down and Ards super council area in 2013/14, an increase of 70 per cent on the previous year.
End of year results from Invest NI show that 40 per cent of these new jobs came through the Regional Start Initiative which assists locally-owned business start ups. The number of jobs promoted through the Regional Start Initiative reflects a strengthening of entrepreneurial activity in the new council area.
As well as the growth in enterprise, two other measures – research and development (R&D) projects and investment in skills and development – indicate growing business confidence throughout the area. Investment by companies in R&D rose by 342 per cent and in skills development by 553 per cent.
Mark Bleakney, Invest NI’s Southern Regional Manager said: “All the indicators suggest that businesses are now more confident and ready to work closely with Invest NI on projects that increase their competitiveness and are offering greater employment opportunities.
“Another important measure of the state of the local economy is the number of new business starts, which suggests a sharp rise in entrepreneurialism as local people are becoming more optimistic and confident about faster economic progress after a period of deep recession.”
Invest NI has put in place processes to enable accurate reporting of the actual number of jobs created as a direct result of the projects which it has assisted. In doing so, Invest NI is the first development agency in the United Kingdom or Republic of Ireland to report in this way across all its job support initiatives.
“We now have the ability to analyse all offers of financial support which were ‘live’ at the beginning of our Corporate Plan period (2011-12) and extracted job creation against these offers. This shows that 547 new jobs have been created in total in North Down and Ards in the last three years,” added Mark.