Invest NI reveals £600m commitment in past year

During 2002/3, Invest NI gained commitments from client companies, universities and other economic bodies to spend over £600m across a range of activities.

Invest NI contributed towards these investments by offering £138m in finance, advice and other support programmes.

The investments include 258 development projects by existing Invest NI client companies totalling £400m – one of the highest investment commitments in recent years. Ten new inward investment projects offering £22m were also secured during the year.

Professor Fabian Monds, Invest NI Chairman, and Leslie Morrison, Chief Executive, announced the figures in Invest NI’s End of Year Statement for the 12 months to March 2003 and launched the operating plan for the year ahead.

The highlights of the year for Invest NI were:
  • Providing assistance of £62m to 258 development projects;
  • Securing 10 inward investment projects worth £22 m; 80% in social needs areas;
  • Agreeing 316 R&D projects totalling £38m in private sector investment.
Invest NI also encouraged 61 companies to undertake first time R&D or product development projects, and supported the establishment of 17 Centres of Excellence that will result in a total investment of £74m in innovation capability.

Invest NI claimed that targets set for encouraging existing exporters to enter new markets and in securing participation in trade missions had been “substantially exceeded”. In all during the year around 1,400 companies had taken part in trade events, including 93 first-time exporters and 194 exploring new markets.

Turning to business improvement Invest NI doubled the targeted participation by companies in business improvement schemes that resulted in a £3.1m increase in profits and £3.7m in new business won by firms.

Invest NI said that it had assisted 2,141 new business start-ups - well ahead of a target of 1,500 - and these included 101 new high-growth businesses with a total investment of £21.3m.

The agency had also extended its regional reach by opening new offices in Coleraine, Craigavon and Enniskillen.

The year also saw a review of strategies for sectors such as aerospace, software, biotech and health technologies, electronics, clothing and textiles, fish processing, furniture, multimedia, agricultural engineering and vehicle engineering.

Commenting on the performance Prof. Monds said Invest NI’s overall impact on the local economy has been “very considerable”.

NIO Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, Ian Pearson, said he was “confident that by working with local industry, Invest NI will be able to meet current and future economic challenges”.


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