Tech sector received two thirds of Northern Ireland's total equity investment in 2020
THE tech sector received more than two thirds of total equity investment in Northern Ireland last year, according to the Small Business Equity Tracker published by the British Business Bank.
The report showed a nine per cent jump in equity investment in small UK businesses last year to £8.8 billion, the highest since the data started being gathered a decade ago.
The bank's figures also show that the so-called "deep technology" sector, which solves substantial technological or scientific problems, has grown its equity investment by 291 per cent to £2.3bn in the last five years.
Northern Ireland has a burgeoning tech sector employing 28,000 people, with Belfast now regarded as a global cyber security hub.
The north's pharmaceutical and life sciences sector is also booming with 18,000 full time jobs and advances in biomedical research into cancer, cardiovascular disease and cystic fibrosis.
B-Secur, which operates globally and straddles both the tech and life sciences sectors, says that investment from a British Business Bank supported fund helped it carry out research and development work critical to its success, not least in securing US Food and Drug Administration clearance for its innovative ECG software which monitor heartbeats.
Based at Belfast’s Catalyst Inc, it received funding from Accelerated Digital Ventures, an enterprise capital fund backed by the British Business Bank.
B-Secur's chief commercial officer Ben Carter said: “As an early-stage company at the time, the nature of our business required heavy R&D investment, and the support we received from the British Business Bank was invaluable.
“I would encourage other SMEs here to engage with the bank, as its expertise can really help your business take the next step in scaling up.”
British Business Bank’s UK network director Mark Sterritt said businesses in Northern Ireland's life sciences and tech sectors will help build on the UK’s position as a science super power.
“Northern Ireland is home to a number of businesses who, like B-Secur, are really leading the way on the global stage and the British Business Bank will continue to help provide the capital they need to start up and scale up.
“As the life sciences and tech sectors continue to grow in Northern Ireland, it is important for local businesses to be aware of all their funding options, like equity finance.”