Robinson Announces New Support For Business
First Minister Rt. Hon Peter D. Robinson MLA has launched a new campaign today aimed at boosting and supporting local business.
The Boosting Business campaign, run by Invest NI, will provide support measures covering all of the key issues facing businesses, large and small, throughout Northern Ireland.
Mr Robinson said: “The scheme will focus on helping businesses to create and protect jobs, to build the skills of their workforce, to use new technology to improve their competitiveness, to create new products and take them to new markets.
“Over the coming weeks and months, Invest NI will be making new areas of support available that will boost business. From the earliest stages of developing a new product, through growing and developing your business, managing your costs, to visiting new markets and winning new business, enhanced support will be there.
“In a challenging global market place it is those companies that have the know-how to differentiate themselves from the competition that will succeed. Only by investing in innovation will our companies gain the know-how to succeed.”
Mr Robinson also highlighted the progress that the Executive has made in developing the local economy over the past four years: “The Northern Ireland Executive has worked hard taken steps to build the foundations for long-term economic growth. As a result Belfast, outside of London, is the UK’s most attractive city for foreign direct investment. Belfast is now established as one of the top 10 destination cities for financial service technologies investments in the world - ahead of key competitors such as Dublin, Glasgow and Toronto and even major IT centres such as Bangalore and Kuala Lumpur.”
Mr Robinson went on to stress the importance of encouraging local businesses to take their first step into overseas markets.
“We cannot rely on our domestic market alone, there are considerable opportunities to be exploited in overseas markets. Invest NI already has in place a network of “in-market” advisors, mostly in established export markets.
“Last week, the Enterprise Minister announced that Invest NI has recruited a dedicated trade and investment advisor in Canada to help local companies identify opportunities and build networks in that market. This type of representation will now be replicated over the coming weeks as Northern Ireland’s presence is strengthened in new markets such as Russia, Brazil, South Africa and the Gulf States.”
Mr Robinson concluded his speech by saying: “As part of the Boosting Business initiative Invest NI would be providing increased consultancy and mentoring support for SME’s to ensure that they have all of the skills necessary for success.”
Enterprise Minister, Arlene Foster, today set out increased support which Invest Northern Ireland is making available to businesses to help them cope with the impact of the economic downturn.
Explaining the reasons behind the initiative, Arlene Foster, said: “Yesterday, we had the very positive announcement by Capita that it is to create over 300 jobs here and, earlier today, I officially opened a £14million new state-of-the-art distribution facility Henderson Foodservice. These are very positive signs for our economy.
However, the continuing impact of the global downturn has been well documented over recent weeks and many businesses who are considering investments, currently lack the confidence to do so. This obviously has an impact of our exports, on jobs and on the wider economy.
“It is clear that now, perhaps more than ever, businesses need our support.”
In Boosting Business, Invest NI has developed a comprehensive range of measures, many of which are new, whilst, for others the eligibility criteria will be broadened to make them available to a wider business base.
Arlene Foster continued: “Under the themes of Jobs, R&D, Skills, Exports and New Technology, businesses will be able to get the support they need to address the wide range of issues they currently face.
“In addition, some of the measures under our successful Short Term Employment Scheme, will be further broadened.
“The First Minister today announced some specific measures targeted at existing and potential exporters. Over the coming weeks and months, Invest NI will be making many more new areas of support available to boost business.”