Why Northern Ireland?
Doing business with Northern Ireland can help your company grow. Northern Ireland is a great place to grow a business internationally thanks to its highly skilled talent, excellent infrastructure, competitive costs, and supportive, business-friendly environment. It is also home to world-class suppliers with global exporting experience that can fill gaps in your supply chain.
Following the UK’s exit from the European Union (EU), Northern Ireland continues to have access to the Great Britain (GB) and the EU markets for goods. This means that Northern Ireland is a gateway for the sale of goods to two of the world’s largest markets and the only place where businesses can operate free from customs declarations, rules of origin certificates and non-tariff barriers on the sale of goods to both GB and the EU.
Read more about Northern Ireland’s market access to GB and the EU.
Where are we?
Northern Ireland is one of the four regions of the UK, ideally situated to access all key global markets. Invest NI also has teams across Europe, APAC, IMEA and the Americas supporting business between Northern Ireland and the rest of the world.
Northern Ireland overview
Part of the UK
One of the four regions of the UK, alongside England, Scotland and Wales.
The population of 1.9 million has the highest level of educational degree completion in the UK.
Home to two leading global universities and a strong network of regional colleges.
#1 location in the UK and Ireland for full-fibre access and a rapidly expanding 5G network.
Access to three international airports and excellent rail, road and sea connections.
Great place to live
Ranked the happiest place to live in the UK.
What others are saying
Competitive operating costs
Northern Ireland provides one of the most cost-efficient business environments in Europe.
Operating costs overall are lower than the rest of the UK and Europe (source: FDI Benchmarking).
- Prime office rents are among the lowest in Western Europe and compare very favourably with other regions in the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
- Grade A office space in Belfast is available from £24/ sq. ft.
Salary costs are around 30 per cent lower than other European locations such as London, Dublin and Paris.
The overall tax burden in Northern Ireland is the lowest of all the major European economies.
The UK remains the lowest taxed large economy with:
- Low personal taxation
- Low social welfare contributions
- Generous tax allowances
- No local taxes on profits or surplus
Investors benefit from a myriad of tax incentives to encourage further development, including:
- Corporation tax (25 per cent) is the lowest in the G7
- Businesses can benefit from R&D tax relief: 20% HMRC R&D expenditure credit
- For every £1 spent on R&D, real cost to company can be 41p
We've got great people. Northern Ireland has a workforce that’s educated, innovative, resilient and results-driven. Thanks to the work ethic and loyalty of our people, labour turnover is also known to be low, which can deliver further cost savings.
Strong committed workforce
A steady stream of enthusiastic, talented people for knowledge-based companies seeking a strong workforce.
Assured Skills, a free, customised, training and recruitment programme for investors complements our well-educated workforce.
Known for its strong work ethic, our investors tell us that labour turnover is also very low compared to other regions.
Northern Ireland has two world-class universities Queen's University Belfast and Ulster University and an extensive network of further education colleges providing excellent academic and vocational training.
Both universities are responsive to business, creating graduates with skills, competency and acumen in business-relevant areas.
Over 4,000* people graduate each year with business qualifications in Northern Ireland.
* Source: Higher Education Statistics Agency
Northern Ireland is a great choice for overseas students seeking a high quality education abroad. It also provides a great offering for overseas governments, ministries and education providers who are looking for a partner region to support the development of their own education provision or to forge research partnerships. To find out more, visit our international education page.
Northern Ireland's excellent transport and communications infrastructure allows companies to do business easily with their customer base around the world.
- The first-rate road network has minimal levels of congestion and brings most of Europe within 24-48 hours.
- Three airports deal with almost seven million passengers a year.
- Belfast’s two airports have daily scheduled flights to destinations across the UK and Europe.
- City of Derry Airport has regularly scheduled services to GB destinations.
- The region has four ports.
- Belfast Harbour is the second busiest port on the island of Ireland.
- 160 ferry and freight sailings per week to Great Britain and Europe.
- Northern Ireland has a great communications infrastructure and the region enjoys international connectivity at a very competitive cost.
- The first region in Europe to achieve 100 per cent broadband coverage
- One of the first to operate high speed, next-generation services with a 100-gigabyte per second transatlantic and terrestrial telecommunications link between Northern Ireland, North America and Europe
- A fully digital, fully fibre optic communications network.