Invest Northern Ireland’s new Chief Executive, Alastair Hamilton, recently visited businesses in the North East region to discuss how the agency can continue to support firms effectively and ensure that they emerge as strongly as possible when economic growth returns.
Mr Hamilton visited a number of Invest NI clients in the region including Michelin, O’Kane Poultry, Inspecvision and Red Bay Boats as part of a wider visit to the region where he met with representatives of the various Councils and Enterprise Agencies.
Speaking during his visit to the area, Mr Hamilton said: “Invest NI’s number one priority is helping our client companies. We are fully committed to listening to the needs of local businesses and responding to those needs in an effective and timely manner. This includes providing innovative solutions for companies to help them to achieve their full commercial potential and maximise their contribution to the Northern Ireland economy.
“Invest NI works with some 335 clients in the North East region, and has offered some £85m of assistance to help them improve performance, create employment, and boost competitiveness and exports. In total this has resulted in investment commitments approaching almost half a billion pounds in the area and is evidence of the effectiveness of our support to date.”
Mr Hamilton added: “This area, like many other parts of Northern Ireland, has felt the harsh impact of the slowdown and the associated fall in demand for locally manufactured products, leading to significant and well-documented job losses.
“This visit is an opportunity for me to hear at first hand from clients and stakeholders about how they perceive Invest NI can help local businesses to manage their operations effectively at this time and prepare for the months and years ahead. It also gives me an opportunity to highlight the range of practical and financial support that we have in place to help companies through the current difficult economic period, such asour £5 million Accelerated Support Fund, from which our clients can receive assistance up to the value of £50,000 for suitable projects that will help them to navigate the credit crunch and manage their long term success.
“I am determined to ensure that we continue touse the full range of support measures at our disposal to play a positive role in supporting client companies to implement valuable, innovative and export focused projects during the economic downturn and beyond.”