Business

Belfast 'surging with business opportunities' says US tech firm chief

Last year Unosquare chose Belfast as the location for its European headquarters. Pictured at the official launch in April 2017 are: Invest NI chief executive Alastair Hamilton, (centre); Unosquare CEO, Mike Barrett; and Giancarlo Di Vece, Unosquare president
Gareth McKeown

THE chief executive of a growing US software company has described Belfast as a city "surging with business opportunities" in a leading publication.

Writing in the European edition of Entrepreneur magazine, Giancarlo Di Vece, president of UnoSquare, has promoted Belfast as "an innovation hot spot" and a great place to do business.

Last April Oregan-based Unosquare chose Northern Ireland ahead of Dublin and other competitors as the location for its European headquarters, with plans to create at least 100 jobs by the end of 2019.

To date the premium software consultant company has recruited over 50 full-time staff and is "looking to expand".

Mr Di Vece credits the "growing technical workforce and favourable business climate" as key factors for the flourishing digital tech sector in the north, which last year boasted turnover of £875 million.

"Not only does the city boast qualified tech talent with a large number of start-ups, it's also a prime near-shoring location that has attracted many well-established companies, including BT Ireland and tech-heavy operations for Citigroup and Allstate Insurance Company," Mr Di Vece said.

"These factors explain why, in 2017, Unosquare made the strategic move to put down roots here and make Belfast our European headquarters."

In the piece Mr Di Vece also hailed the work of Queen's and Ulster University in helping to cater for tech-focused businesses and the valuable support of Invest NI.

"Students are graduating with impressive technical and management skills. Alumni from both universities are among our new employees. I am often reminded that the quality of a company boils down to the quality of its people, and we have truly hit our stride with our Belfast team. There's nothing more thrilling, and promising, than working with such highly educated and enthusiastic talent," he continued.

Referring directly to Brexit, Mr Di Vece said he is confident a resolution will be found that will "retain vital commercial and social ties between Northern Ireland and the whole of the EU".

"My confidence is more than wishful thinking. The EU and UK both agree to the principle of cross-border cooperation, and they are working as I write this to sort out the details.

"This likely outcome is reassuring for a city that is surging with business opportunities."

"With a population of more than 300,000 and talent from all over the world, the city provides a mix of everything from culture to food and festivals.

"Belfast boasts character and energy you don't always find in cities on the rise. I'm excited about what the future holds for the tech ecosystem here, and I'm delighted to be part of its success," Mr Di Vece added.

Founded in 2009 with operations in the US, Mexico and the UK, Unosquare employs over 400 people and has been named on an annual list of the 500 fastest-growing private companies in the United States for the past three years.

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