Invest NI sets out the focus for the future as it releases the latest performance results.
Speaking at the agency’s end of year briefing, Alastair Hamilton, CEO, Invest NI said: “Our role is to provide support to businesses to help them grow, stimulating investment in our economy.
“During 2016/17 our offers of support totalled £152m, contributing to almost £660m of investment in the Northern Ireland economy. This support has helped businesses promote nearly 5,600 new jobs against a target range of 4,000-6,000. I am also pleased to report that our support in previous years has helped create 5,900 jobs this year across a broad range of sectors including agri-food, digital and creative technologies and advanced engineering and manufacturing.
“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. We also saw a notable increase in investment by locally owned companies – £109m, a 93 per cent increase on the previous highest year,” said Alastair.
Northern Ireland also performed well in export growth. Latest figures value 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. We also continue to attract strong levels of inward investment, with 22 new companies choosing to locate in Northern Ireland during 2016/17.”
The above outturns were against a one year interim plan(1) while the Programme for Government was being developed. The agency has now launched its 2017-2021 Business Strategy.
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, focussing 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.”