Last weeks Investment Summit seems to have had a really positive impact on the business community and indeed the country as a whole. The companies involved presented a very upbeat picture of working in Northern Ireland, which would definitely have rubbed off on the dignitaries that came to the Summit.
There was a very strong roll-call of VIP people present there, which included among others, Princess Anne, US Special Envoy Joe Kennedy III, Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch, NI Secretary of State, Chris Heaton-Harris, and Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Secretary, Michael Gove. We do have our issues with the economic conditions that we have to work under, as do most parts of the UK, but we are doing our best to rise above them and making the most of our undeniable potential.
Positive Talk From Companies With A Footprint On The Ground
Below are some snippets of what Angela McGowan, Director of CBI, Northern Ireland, said about the Summit and the impact it had in an article in the Irish News:
“It was heartening to hear so much positive talk from companies with a footprint on the ground – talking about the local labour force and the commitment of employees in Northern Ireland.
“Joe Kennedy III spoke for the 230 US firms based in Northern Ireland that employ some 30,000 people. He also talked about the sense of pride felt by the people of Northern Ireland since the Belfast Agreement and our internationally envied education sector, including Queen’s and Ulster universities, which are producing skilled talent that is being snapped up by firms on both sides of the Atlantic.
“There was also a focus on the entrepreneurial spirit and the resilience in the Northern Ireland business community. The foreign investors who have already located here also noted that Northern Ireland is a “deeply community-oriented economy.” Local firms and employees know they have a responsibility to the community around them and it is this “social responsibility” approach to doing business that keeps staff loyal and creates a sense of purpose.
“We are lucky in Northern Ireland to have such innovative firms at the heart of our communities and these conversations remind us of why FDI has an important role to play in economic development. Essentially, FDI firms bring with them global insights as well as knowledge and technology transfer to the local economy. They have a positive ‘spin off’ impact on the rest of the economy. But it is only by ensuring that we have an adequate supply of skills for both FDI and indigenous firms, that we will truly deliver sustainable economic growth.
More Investment Needed In Education
“Leading innovation experts at the conference were asked about how the economy could be supported better to be more innovative. The answers came without hesitation: “more investment in education”, “support for building clusters in future technologies” “invest in connectivity” and give backing for R&D through the tax credit system. Another interesting suggestion was around tax incentives for investing in female-owned enterprises.
“The conversation at the investment summit was indeed uplifting and there is promise and potential for the economy. Just imagine if we had a local Executive also batting for us along with adequate public funding for a Programme for Government – with the right collaboration, the sky would be the limit.”
Amen to that.