FIRST Minister Peter Robinson and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness today hosted over 120 Silicon Valley business executives in a bid to attract further foreign direct investment.
The Ministers took the opportunity to promote the merits of doing business in Northern Ireland to further enhance our growing reputation as a prime investment location to potential and existing investors.
The First Minister said: “Today we met with over 120 Senior Business Executives in Silicon Valley with a clear message that Northern Ireland is a great investment location and 75% of inward investors have reinvested in Northern Ireland.
“Northern Ireland is one of the most successful regions in the United Kingdom for attracting inward investment projects. Belfast is now ranked first after London for attracting foreign direct investment in the United Kingdom. Operating costs in Northern Ireland are on average 20% to 30% cheaper than in the rest of the United Kingdom and Western Europe which, in the current financially challenging environment, is a major consideration for companies. We reinforced why Northern Ireland is one of the most competitive business propositions in Europe due to our transport links, telecommunications infrastructure and the skill base of our people.
“West Coast companies such as Cybersource, Visa, Vello Systems and WANdisco have already brought much-needed jobs and investment into Northern Ireland. Through events like this we hope to convince many more businesses of the benefits of choosing Northern Ireland as a place to invest. Having some of our existing investors here to speak about their own positive experiences is an excellent way for others to hear that Northern Ireland is big enough to do the business but small enough to care about our investors.
“I look forward to welcoming many of the new business contacts we have made today to Northern Ireland in the near future.”
The deputy First Minister said: “If you don’t travel to the US and meet Senior Business Executives you simply don’t count. This meeting enabled us to market and promote the north of Ireland and explore the potential for trade.
“Visits like this are not only about helping attract investment, but also to support local businesses to develop export opportunities.
“The US and wider Americas are an important export market for businesses in the north of Ireland, and it is very important that we help maintain strong links to support them to win new business here.
“In 2012/13 manufacturing exports to the Americas was worth over £1billion.
“Export growth has been a challenge over the past few years as a result of the global economic downturn. As countries across the world are starting to come out of this downturn we have to be ready and able to capitalise on the opportunities that arise.
“We have a talented labour force with a very strong work ethic and are well placed to meet international business needs.
“The retention of existing investors is as important as attracting new investors. Reinvestment by global companies sends a strong signal to the world and is an excellent endorsement of our people.
“We will make every effort to ensure all businesses coming to the north of Ireland are given the support they need to grow and prosper and deliver for our community, creating jobs and improving lives.”