Invest Northern Ireland’s results for 2014-2015 show another strong year of performance, delivering £7 of investment in the NI economy for every £1 of support.
Over the course of 2014-15 Invest NI support has delivered:
Alastair Hamilton, CEO of Invest NI said: “2014-15 was a phenomenal year for Invest NI, outperforming our best year on record in 2013-14.
“During the course of the year our support for businesses helped secure nearly 14,000 new jobs, a 30 per cent increase on last year, with almost 60 per cent of these outside Belfast. These jobs will be created across a range of industries over the coming three to five years, and will deliver over £300m of salaries annually to the NI economy.
“In addition to reporting on the number of new jobs promoted, we can also report on the number of jobs actually created each year since 2011. Last year saw the highest number to date – 9,410, with 73 per cent of these being created in locations outside Belfast.
“Over the course of the year we made nearly 5,000 offers of support, 93 per cent to local businesses, contributing to our highest level of total investment into the NI economy ever, at £1.4bn. 67 per cent of this planned investment will be outside Belfast.”
Northern Ireland’s standing as a great place to do business continues to grow and in 2014-15 Invest NI attracted a record 25 new investors to Northern Ireland, securing over 1,000 new jobs and over £63m of investment.
“Supporting job creation is only one of the ways we help drive economic growth in Northern Ireland”, continued Alastair. “We also support businesses to invest in research and development and skills and last year our support contributed towards £131m of business investment in R&D, 20 per cent above target. We also supported a number of significant skills investment projects leveraging £62m of investment in skills ensuring company staff have the best skills to help the business grow.”
In addition to these positive in year results, the agency has also released its performance against Programme for Government (PfG) targets showing it has significantly exceeded four of the five targets.
The targets set for the agency by the NI Executive included supporting:
The one target not achieved was in relation to growing the value of manufacturing sales from Northern Ireland by 20 per cent. An increase of 4.9 per cent was recorded.
Commenting on the PfG results, Invest NI Chairman Mark Ennis said: “At the time the NI Executive was initially setting these targets for Invest NI our economy was still in the depths of a recession and many, including the Invest NI Board, felt that the targets would be very challenging. It is therefore a great achievement to be able to report a set of results which, in most areas is so significantly over target, in some cases by nearly 170 per cent.
“In the last couple of years we have seen the Northern Ireland economy begin to grow again, and business confidence increase. As a result we have been able to support a large number of businesses to bring forward projects, creating new jobs, investing in R&D and ultimately creating wealth and investment in the Northern Ireland economy.
“While these performance figures recognise Invest NI’s contribution to growing the Northern Ireland economy it is ultimately the businesses, both local and international, that have made the biggest commitment to driving job creation and investment in the local economy. With over 37,000 new jobs promoted and over £2.6bn invested we should all be immensely proud of what we have jointly achieved.”
During the course of this corporate plan, as a result of Invest NI’s support, 28,000 new jobs were created in Northern Ireland.
Mark Ennis continued: “Endeavouring to deliver against our PfG targets has not been without its challenges. During a period when the global economy, and particularly the Eurozone, which is our largest export destination, has performed poorly, we have been unable to achieve the target to support growth in manufacturing export sales of 20 per cent. There are many external factors that impact on export growth figures, including currency fluctuations. Sterling has strengthened significantly against the Euro over the last year which reduces the competitiveness of our exports in the Eurozone markets.
“More encouragingly, we have seen export growth of 21 per cent to emerging markets from the baseline year of 2010-11 to the latest rolling 12 month period Jan 2014 - Dec 2014  and sales by local businesses to other parts of the United Kingdom have grown by 12 per cent from 2010-11 to 2013-14 . Increasing both our exports and external sales remain vital to the successful growth of the Northern Ireland economy.
“I am extremely proud of the achievements we have made over this four year period.”