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Minister launches bold and ambitious vision for the Northern Ireland economy

Today at Catalyst, Northern Ireland’s Science and Technology Hub, The Economy Minister launched her ambitious economic vision which will lead to better […]

May 11, 2021

Today at Catalyst, Northern Ireland’s Science and Technology Hub, The Economy Minister launched her ambitious economic vision which will lead to better jobs with better wages and an improvement in people’s quality of life.

In 10X Economy: An Economic Vision for a decade of innovation, Minister Diane Dodds outlines the steps her Department will take to ensure Northern Ireland is positioned amongst the elite small open economies in the world.

The new vision for the economy has been endorsed by a wide range of business leaders from industry, the hospitality sector, digital, manufacturing and engineering.

Minister Dodds described her vision as “purposefully bold and ambitious”.

She said: “One hundred years ago, Northern Ireland was internationally renowned for its shipbuilding, rope works and linen factories. Today we are global leaders in cyber security, fintech and advanced manufacturing. We must be ready to embrace future economic trends and job opportunities for our people.

“Our economy has already been dramatically reshaped by the Covid-19 pandemic and the past year has highlighted the resilience and creativity of the business community. This new vision is centred on making Northern Ireland the most exciting place to do business and to do that I plan to focus on our strengths.

“A 10X ambition is about creating a step change in how we think about our economy. It is not a literalist term about increasing a single metric by a factor of ten; instead we are setting an ambitious pathway for fundamental change to our economy and committing to everyone feeling they are part of this transformation.”

The 10X Economy identifies 10 guiding principles which underpin the vision. They include supporting a greener economy, inspiring the future generation to thrive, delivering improved outcomes for all and increasing innovation.

There will be a focus on priority clusters where NI can be a global leader and a future generation of workers will be inspired and prepared to respond flexibly to future skills requirements.

Minister Dodds added: “When our economy is thriving, Northern Ireland thrives. I have no doubt that Northern Ireland’s businesses are on the right path to recover, rebuild and rebound back stronger than ever.”

Steve Orr, CEO Catalyst, said: “The Department’s Economic Vision sets out an ambitious – but achievable – vision centred around inclusive innovation in Northern Ireland. Focussing on sectoral clusters, such as digital tech, fintech and green tech, and funding innovation in the right way, means that Northern Ireland will be placed to compete on a global scale like never before.”

Steve Orr, Catalyst; Kirsty McManus, IoD; Economy Minister Diane Dodds; Dr Jayne Brady MBE, Belfast Digital Innovation Commissioner; Michael Ryan, Spirit AeroSystems Belfast; and Dr Joanne Stuart OBE, CEO of Northern Ireland Tourism Alliance.

Dr Jayne Brady MBE, Belfast Digital Innovation Commissioner, said: “I am delighted to see that the role of digital innovation is recognised in the Department’s Economic Vision. We already have an extremely talented digital innovation sector and, with the right support and encouragement, it has the potential to transform our economy.”

Kirsty McManus, Director of the Institute of Directors (IOD) in Northern Ireland, said: “The IoD welcomes the publication of the Department’s Economic Vision which recognises the need to ensure Northern Ireland becomes a more enterprising region that supports new business development in any and all parts of the country. It also acknowledges the role that skills development will place in attracting businesses to invest and to take advantage of the exciting and emerging opportunities of the next decade.” 

Michael Ryan, vice president and general manager of Spirit AeroSystems Belfast, said: “I welcome the Department’s Economic Vision. It builds upon Northern Ireland’s existing strengths and rightly focuses on the core sectors and advanced technologies where Northern Ireland can excel as a global leader in the next decade and beyond. As a company renowned for innovation, we know that it is a catalyst for economic growth and prosperity and can help deliver a more sustainable future for all.” 

For press enquiries please contact jamie.stinson@wearecatalyst.org

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