Northern Ireland news

Diane Dodds launches post-Covid strategy for Northern Ireland economy

Economy Minister Diane Dodds. Photo by Aaron McCracken
Jonathan McCambridge, PA

Economy Minister Diane Dodds has launched a new economic vision which she says will lead to better jobs, wages and quality of life for people in Northern Ireland.

Mrs Dodds said her department would take a number of steps to ensure that the area can compete with other small economies on a global stage.

The 10X Economy: An Economic Vision for a decade of Innovation strategy was launched on Tuesday with the endorsement of a number of business leaders.

Mrs Dodds said: “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 new strategy 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.

Dr Jayne Brady, 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.”

Steve Orr, chief executive of Catalyst, a not-for-profit network of entrepreneurs and business professionals, said: “The economic vision sets out an ambitious, but achievable, vision centred around inclusive innovation in Northern Ireland.

“Focusing 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.”

Michael Ryan, vice president and general manager of Spirit AeroSystems Belfast, said: “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.”


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