Invest NI spend of £152m brings in £660m investment and 5,600 jobs

NI export performance strong and exceeding growth levels elsewhere in the UK Invest CEO Alastair Hamilton
NI export performance strong and exceeding growth levels elsewhere in the UK Invest CEO Alastair Hamilton

Invest Northern Ireland helped promote almost £660m of investment in the economy and almost 5,600 new jobs as a result in 2016/17 CEO Alastair Hamilton has claimed.

Speaking at the agency’s end of year briefing, he said support in previous years had helped create 5,900 jobs in a broad range of sectors including agri-food, digital and creative technologies and advanced engineering and manufacturing.

“Our role is to provide support to businesses to help them grow, stimulating investment in our economy,” he said.

“During 2016/17 our offers of support totalled £152m, contributing to almost £660m of investment in the Northern Ireland economy.

“We also significantly exceeded our R&D investment target, delivering £203m of investment against a target of £100-£170m, due to a number of large R&D projects.”

Mr Hamilton welcomed what he said was a “notable” increase in investment by locally owned companies, rising by £109m and representing a 93% increase on the previous highest year.

Northern Ireland also performed well in export growth, with the latest figures valuing NI exports at £7.7bn, a 14.6 per cent increase on the baseline year of 2014/15.

“Not only is NI export performance strong, it exceeds growth levels elsewhere in the UK,” he said.

“We also continue to attract strong levels of inward investment, with 22 new companies choosing to locate in Northern Ireland during 2016/17.”

Mark Ennis, Chairman of the Invest NI Board said: “While the Programme for Government (PfG) is still in draft, we have decided to proceed with the development of our Business Strategy to provide clarity to businesses and staff.

“The strategy provides a clear route to help deliver a strong, competitive, regionally balanced economy. Echoing the outcome based approach of the draft PfG we too are moving to outcome based measurement of our performance, focusing on supporting businesses to increase sales, create jobs and invest in innovation and R&D(2).

“While we recognise that these targets may need to be revised once the NI Executive’s priorities and final budgets are agreed, the Strategy will support the development of an innovative, creative society where people can fulfil their potential and help to create a place where people what to live and work, to visit and invest.”