Foreign Direct Investment in Northern Ireland

Skilled people, competitive costs, great infrastructure and an attractive tax regime; Northern Ireland is a top business investment opportunity. But above all, it's our unique mind-set of going the extra mile for investors. That's why Northern Ireland is one of the UK’s most attractive regions for FDI.


Want more from a foreign direct investment location?

Over 900 international companies have chosen Northern Ireland to grow their business. Highlighted below are the opportunities that Northern Ireland has to offer your business in FDI.

Cost Effective

Operating costs are on average 20%-30% lower than the rest of UK and Europe.
(FT fDi Markets)

Business Friendly

Northern Ireland is one of Europe’s most Business Friendly regions of its size.
(fDi European Cities and Regions of the Future 2018/19)

Top for Fin Tech

Belfast is the #1 destination globally for financial technology development projects.
(fDi Markets, FT. )

Wealth of Talent

Northern Ireland has a highly skilled, loyal and motivated workforce.

Location of Choice

900 international companies have invested in Northern Ireland.
(Invest NI)

Software Hotspot

Belfast is Europe’s leading destination for new software development projects.
(fDi Markets, FT.)

Cyber Security Hub

Northern Ireland is the #1 international investment location for US cyber security development projects.
(fDi Markets, FT.)

Successful Growth

Almost 75% of new inward investors have reinvested in Northern Ireland.
(Invest NI)

Innovation Hub

Belfast has been named one of the world's Top 10 Digital Economies of the Future.
(Source: fDi Digital Economies of the Future 2018/18.)

About Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland at a glance
An economy to thrive in
A world class workforce
Living Here

Northern Ireland is an integral part of the United Kingdom with easy access to mainland Europe.


Nearly 900 companies from all over the world have operations in Northern Ireland. They come in all shapes and sizes across diverse sectors but all benefit from a place that offers a business friendly environment.

Operating Costs

Northern Ireland has a highly educated, skilled, English speaking workforce with a strong and loyal work ethic.

Queens University

Northern Ireland offers altogether more for people living here.

Sperrin Mountains
Northern Ireland location - Mussenden Temple
St Georges Market

Our Sectors

  • Materials Handling
  • Food & Drink
  • Life & Health Sciences
  • Advanced Engineering & Manufacturing
  • View all
  • Aerospace & Defence
  • Construction
  • Energy & Renewables
  • Financial & Professional Services
  • Global Business Services
  • Technology
  • TV, Film & Digital Media

Northern Ireland is a recognised centre of excellence in the design and manufacture of materials handling equipment. Machinery from Northern Ireland is used in iron ore mining in India, road construction in Peru, diamond exploration in South Africa and sand washing in the Arabian Gulf.

Materials Handling

40% of the worlds mobile crushing and screening equipment is made in Northern Ireland. Machinery manufactured in Northern Ireland is sold to customers in over 100 countries. 4,000 people employed in over 100 companies.

Areas of expertise

  • Mobile Screening & Crushing Machinery
  • Road Surfacing
  • Recycling
  • Waste Handling Equipment

Who's here?

Hyster Yale

Pure, natural, quality thats what Northern Ireland's food and drink is known for across the world. Our success is down to our pure, lush countryside, and farmers and producers who are dedicated to traceability, passionate about quality.

Food & Drink

20,000 people employed in 400 companies. Home to Bushmills, the oldest licensed whiskey distillery in the world Food and drink products from Northern Ireland are available in more than 70 countries. Northern Ireland has a global reputation for food safety.

Areas of expertise

  • Red Meat
  • Poultry
  • Dairy
  • Bakery
  • Artisan and Specialty

Who's here?

Dale Farm
Mash Direct
Moy Park

Northern Ireland has a thriving life and health sciences sector, with strong collaboration between industry, academia and clinicians. The region is an ideal location for companies who wish to grow or access the European market, reduce costs or access specific expertise for product development.

Life & Health Sciences

1,000+ researchers in Centres of Excellence. 8,400 people in 170 companies. 13,000 people studying Life & Health Sciences - related subjects. 10% of the world's cholesterol test are made in Northern Ireland.


  • Big Data
  • Precision Medicine
  • Diagnostics
  • Clinical Trials

Clinical Specialisms

  • Oncology
  • Cardiology
  • Inflammation
  • Respiratory
  • Diabetes

Who's here?


Northern Ireland has a strong tradition of innovation and a strong engineering heritage.

Advanced Engineering & Manufacturing

30% of the world's aircraft seats are manufactured in Northern Ireland. 40% of the world's mobile stone crushing and gravel screening equipment is made in Northern Ireland. 1 in every 3 London buses is manufactured in Northern Ireland. 44 44,000 people in 2,000 companies. Operating costs are 34% less than the USA, 30% less than France and 36% less than Germany. Over 5,500 students enrolled in Engineering & Technology subjects. Products exported to over 100 countries. Industrial property costs from £2.50 per sq ft.

Areas of expertise

  • Aerospace & Defence
  • Automotive
  • Materials Handling
  • Life and Health Sciences

Who's here?

BE Aerospace

Founded on a strong engineering heritage, Northern Ireland is a global leader in aerospace and defence technology. Major aerospace corporations depend on Northern Ireland's reliable supply chain to provide high value-added products and services cost-effectively and on time using excellent logistical services.

Aerospace & Defence

Companies are internationally credited - AS9100, ISO9001 and NADCAP. 8,500 people in over 60 companies. UK government committed $3.9bn for aerospace research over the next ten years. Europe's 8th largest aerospace industry in revenue terms. Established, successful supply chain quality system - SC21. Over 30% of the world's airline seats are made in Northern Ireland.

Areas of expertise

  • Precision Machining
  • Composites Design and Manufacturing
  • Advanced Metal Forming
  • Seating and Interiors
  • Design and Stress
  • Tooling Design and Manufacturing

Who's here?

BE Aerospace

Northern Ireland provides expertise, products and services for roads, bridges, rail, airports, housing, energy, education and healthcare projects in Great Britain and across the world.


12,000 companies. Northern Ireland firms have worked on major projects such as: London 2012 Crossrail Titanic Signature Project Northern Ireland firms have also worked on: National schools and hospitals projects Fit-out on iconic buildings such as 1 Hyde Park Fit-out on a range of retail projects across Europe

Areas of expertise

  • General Contracting
  • Civil Engineering
  • Building Envelope
  • Interior Fit-Out
  • Facilities Management
  • Professional Services

Who's here?

McGlauglin & Harvey

Northern Ireland's engineering, technological and construction expertise makes it the ideal partner for businesses focusing on the renewables and energy sector.

Energy & Renewables

Home to the UKs first bespoke offshore wind installation and assembly terminal. Established collaborative networks within wind, marine, energy storage and skills development. 15 competence and research centres.

Areas of expertise

  • Biofuels including Biomass, Anaerobic Digestion, Feedstock Supply
  • Design
  • Manufacturing
  • Installation
  • Operation & Maintenance

Who's here?

Harland & Wolff

The combination of a smart, determined and innovative workforce, and operating costs that are up to 50% lower than London makes Northern Ireland the perfect location.

Financial Services

FS sector in Northern Ireland includes: fund administration, investment operations, legal services, compliance, financial software development, infrastructure support, risk management, analytics, and actuarial services.

Belfast is the world's #1% city for FinTech Investments. (FT fDI Markets, 2015) 41% of our financial services sector hold degrees. (36% UK 21% ROI) 10% of the global FX market flows through Belfast every day ($500bn).


Sharing a regulatory framework and company law regime with England and Wales, Northern Ireland is a proven location of choice for international legal services.

6000 people employed in legal sector.

Areas of expertise

  • Financial Services Technology
  • Capital Markets Technology
  • Fund Administration Operations
  • Risk, Regulation and Compliance
  • Asset Management
  • Actuarial & Analytics
  • Marketing & Research
  • Consultancy
  • Captive Legal Services
  • Shared Services
  • Legal Process Outsourcing
  • In-house Counsel
  • Software Solutions

Who's here?

Allen & Overy
Allstate NI
Baker & McKenzie
CME Group
Herbert Smith
Liberty Mutual

Vibrant sector includes contact centres, security services, facilities management, recruitment services and business to business services.

Global Business Services

Operating costs are 33% lower than London & 11% lower than Dublin and 51% lower than NYC. Office space is £16/ft v £60 London. 13,000 people employed in 40 shared services, contact or knowledge centres. UK's best results at GCSE and A-level (equivalent to high school diploma). 5,000 graduates with a degree in a relevant discipline including; finance, accounting, business, economics, maths, law & computing.

Areas of expertise

  • Shared Services
  • Knowledge Services
  • Customer Contact
  • Recruitment Services
  • Staff Augmentation

Who's here?

Alexander Mann
SSE Airtricity

Over 100 international tech investors including SAP, Fujitsu, SR Labs and Cybersource (Visa) are already operating within Northern Irelands thriving clusters.

Clusters and expertise in cyber security, financial software, mobile telecoms, network management, data analytics, payments technology and health IT, Northern Ireland is an ideal base to develop products, and to grow and support a European customer base.


Belfast is Europe’s leading city for new software development projects. ( (fDi Markets, FT 2017) Northern Ireland is world's #1 destination for cyber security investment projects. fDi Markets FT 70% of our IT & telecoms professionals hold a higher education qualification - the highest in the UK. 100+ international tech investors. The Tech Partnership

Areas of expertise

  • Cyber security
  • Financial software
  • Mobile telecoms
  • Network management
  • Data analytics
  • Payments technology
  • Health IT

Who's here?

Allstate NI
Liberty IT
Rapid 7

TV, Film & Digital Media is a vibrant sector in Northern Ireland. The region is fast becoming the location of choice for world-leading production companies. We're also home to a dynamic cluster of companies who are working with global clients delivering creative solutions within animation, audio technology, mobile content, e-learning and music.

TV, Film & Digital Media

24,000 employed in 1,400 companies. HBO series Game of Thrones© has been filmed in Northern Ireland since 2009. Award-winning animations include Puffin Rock and Lily's Driftwood Bay. Oscar-winning live action short film The Shore was filmed in Northern Ireland. Belfast's Titanic Studios is one of the largest film and TV production studios in Europe.

Areas of expertise

  • Film and TV Production
  • Post Production
  • Mobile Content
  • Gaming and Animation
  • Music

Who's here?

Dogs Ears
Waddell Media

Benchmark Northern Ireland

Want to know how Northern Ireland compares against other global locations? Use this tool to benchmark property and labour cost across our key sectors.

Select some locations
  • Chart
  • Table

Annual property and labour cost for

Property Cost Labour Cost

Source: fDi Benchmark, FT, October 2018.

These results are for illustrative purposes only. Please contact us and we can help provide a more detailed breakdown of operating costs tailored to your specific requirements.


Source: fDi Benchmark, FT, October 2018.

These results are for illustrative purposes only. Please contact us and we can help provide a more detailed breakdown of operating costs tailored to your specific requirements.


News and Events

Smart hub success for Lisburn’s Connected Care Solutions
Nov 15, 2019
Lisburn-based health technology firm Connected Care Solutions has signed a deal with Powys Council in Wales for its innovative ETHEL smart hub technology.
Read more


Growing US healthcare market leads to new tech hub in Northern Ireland
Jun 19, 2018
New York based HHAeXchange is expanding its global operations and investing in Northern Ireland for the first time.
Read more
Opportunities await in the land Down Under
Peter Hendrikssen Regional Manager, Australia & New Zealand
Feb 14, 2018
Australia and New Zealand might be the other side of the world geographically but when it comes to doing business there, the similarities are a lot closer to home.
Read more
Why the Chinese market is ripe for exploration
Jennifer Liu, Regional Manager Hong Kong, Macau & South China
Jan 11, 2018
Northern Ireland hosted over 100 Chinese Provincial and municipal leaders, at the 2017 UK-China Regional Leaders Summit.
Read more
Opportunities in South East Asia - an overview
Nick Caldwell, Regional Manager Singapore
Nov 21, 2017
Invest Northern Ireland is increasing its international network with Regional Managers in 10 additional territories around the world, helping NI companies to grow exports.
Read more
Invest NI to build on export growth in Greater China with new office
Oct 23, 2017
Invest Northern Ireland has announced that it has opened a new office in Hong Kong in a drive to increase exports to Hong Kong and the Southern China region.
Read more

Invest Northern Ireland:
How we help

Invest Northern Ireland is the agency responsible for the promotion of foreign direct investment in Northern Ireland.

We provide a range of services and support to help potential and existing investors develop and grow, including:

  • Tax incentives
  • Employment & training grants
  • Research and Development grants
  • Finance investment & loans
  • Market development assistance
  • Property search, talent sourcing & business development support
  • Dedicated Invest NI project team

Make an Enquiry

For more information on Northern Ireland as a place to do business, please contact us using the form below.
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For information on how we use your personal data including your rights, see our privacy notice


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Barry Clarke

Barry Clarke
Regional Director, Asia Pacific