03/05/2002

Province leaps into information age

“The Information Age Initiative has supported Northern Ireland business in ‘leapfrogging’ into a new era,” the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, Sir Reg Empey has said.

According to an Information Age Initiative (IAI) report in 1995 there was just over 6,360 people employed in the ICT sector and now, despite global difficulties with the sector, there are now 12,200 ICT employees.

In June 1999, only 40% of businesses had access to Internet technology but today 90% of all Northern Ireland businesses use the Internet.

“The Information Age Initiative sought to increase the use of ICT by all business, to support the rapid development of the ICT sector and to create an improved environment for the growth of the Knowledge Based economy,” the Minister told business delegates on Thursday May 2.

“As the IAI’s final report clearly demonstrates, excellent working and strategic alliances have been formed across the private, public and academic sectors to create and capitalise on Information Age opportunities for local businesses.”

Professor Fabian Monds, who is also Chairman of Invest NI said: “Our Final Report, published today, clearly demonstrates the enthusiasm, creativity and dynamism that exists in Northern Ireland.

“It also offers Invest Northern Ireland a suggested strategic way forward approach to address the needs of Northern Ireland business in the Information Age.”

Professor Monds added: “In considering the strategic way forward the IAI Board have sought to adapt the widely recognised connectivity chain model to make it more representative of the ever changing information age environment. To achieve this we have added a new level to the Connectivity Chain – that of business ecosystem.

“This new level enables Northern Ireland businesses to consider the vertical and horizontal integration of ICTs not only on an individual company basis but also through supply chains and within industry clusters. The Board strongly believes that this new level can offer competitive advantage for Northern Ireland companies and will further our progress towards an exemplar knowledge-based economy.”

(AMcE)


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