The Chief Executive of Northern Ireland’s economic development body, Invest NI, Leslie Morrison seems pleased with the performance of the publicly funded organisation in 2005/6, and also claims to have been “supporting the creation of more than nine new businesses every day”. The agency’s chairman, Stephen Kingon, has also called for a larger budget to continue along the same lines presumably.. well, I suppose I did ask.According to Invest NI –
Key Operational highlights for year ended 31 March 2006
•Over 1,500 offers of support to businesses totalling £129m, which will result in £560m of investment in the local economy;
•Approx £20m of support offered towards increased investment in Research & Development;
•Over 300 locally-owned clients will invest almost £103m in expansion and development – investments which will generate a further £65m annually in salaries;
•Externally owned companies committed to 31 new projects, promoting or safeguarding almost 6,500 jobs and generating approximately £130m annually in salaries;
•3,475 new businesses supported, which are anticipated to create some 5,000 new jobs.
And in an area that commenters in a previous thread suggested more should be done –
Northern Ireland is establishing an image of social stability with a healthy supply of well-educated, committed, English-speaking people, situated in the best commercial timezone. It is critical that this perception be maintained in a global environment where competition for internationally mobile investment is increasing. As a result of our engagement, a number of our clients are repositioned as Research & Development centres for their multinational parents, making Northern Ireland a prime location for knowledge-intensive projects and contributing to the continued upskilling of the Northern Ireland labour force. We are in a good place to create and safeguard intellectual property, and must continue to focus on skills and innovation as the rationale for investment, as distinct from merely cost.