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.

Speaking at the CBI lunch today 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 taking 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.”