Thousands of jobs and millions in funding announced for NI ahead of summit

Thousands of jobs and millions of pounds of funding has been announced for businesses in Northern Ireland ahead of an investment summit that will see 200 international delegates visit Belfast.

Tax and consulting firm EY has announced 1,000 new jobs and local businesses Catagen, Terex, Wrightbus and Artemis will receive millions in funding to develop green tech.

Around 200 investors from across the world including the US, Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific will attend the Summit on Wednesday which aims to turbocharge inward investment into Northern Ireland.

Secretary of State for Business & Trade Kemi Badenoch said Northern Ireland’s unique trading position made it “one of the most exciting places to invest in the world”.

“Today’s summit is crucial to tapping into the huge potential that Northern Ireland has and the opportunities it holds for global investors, the people of Northern Ireland and the wider world,” she said.

Hosted by the Department for Business and Trade, the Northern Ireland Office and Invest Northern Ireland alongside local partners and Citi, Wednesday’s summit aims to encourage new investment into Northern Ireland by showcasing companies and opportunities in its sectors of expertise.

Industry-led sessions throughout the day will focus on advanced manufacturing and engineering, technology, financial and professional services, the green economy, and the life and health sciences sector.

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Chris Heaton-Harris said the summit would result in long-lasting global relationships for the region.

“Hundreds of investors from around the globe will today experience first-hand the expertise, innovation and unique opportunities that Northern Ireland has to offer,” he said.

“The productive, global relationships built in this room today will benefit Northern Ireland businesses and communities for years to come.

“I’m proud that Northern Ireland’s rich potential is being boosted by UK Government funding. This summit is a fitting celebration of Northern Ireland’s bright future during the 25th anniversary year of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement.”

This week a project led by Belfast-based maritime firm Artemis Technologies Ltd has been awarded £15.5 million to develop electric passenger vessel services in Orkney as part of the Zero Emission Vessels and Infrastructure (ZEVI) scheme, designed to support the design and development of near-commercial clean maritime solutions.

On Wednesday, Northern Ireland-based Catagen, Terex and Wrightbus were awarded a share of nearly £26 million from the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero’s Red Diesel Replacement (RDR) competition.

The three-firm consortium has been awarded more than £6 million in grant funding to test e-diesel and hydrogen dispensing technologies in quarrying.

Mel Chittock, Interim CEO of Invest NI, said: “Today’s summit is an opportunity to showcase our success stories and create a space for investors to learn why Northern Ireland is one of the most attractive places in the world for businesses to invest and grow.”

He added: “We are taking the opportunity at today’s summit to build on investments like this and show to around 200 global investors why we are one of the most attractive business environments in Western Europe. With unique access to both the UK and EU markets combined with our skills and talent we offer an exceptional place to invest and to do business.”

Hywel Ball, EY UK chair and UK and Ireland managing partner, said the financial support was a deciding factor in their choice to expand their business in Northern Ireland.

“The support from Invest Northern Ireland and the Department for the Economy played a key role in our decision to choose Northern Ireland as the location for this significant investment as did the access we have here to an incredible talent pool as well as the potential and ambition of our Northern Ireland practice,” he said.

Political speakers at the event include Ms Kemi Badenoch, Mr Heaton-Harris, Housing and Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove.

A range of industry experts will also be offering their perspective, such as David Livingstone, chief executive officer for Europe, Middle East, and Africa at Citi.

Nineteen showcase companies from across Northern Ireland will also exhibit to global investors, including Derry/Londonderry-based Respiratory Analytics, Collins Aerospace in Kilkeel, and Ballymena-based Wrightbus.

Products, services and technologies from Northern Ireland are sold to over 100 countries across the globe.

The United States is the largest source of foreign investment in Northern Ireland, with the level of inward FDI stock from the US at £7.2 billion at the end of 2021.