Northern Ireland must capitalise on its strengths in emerging industries in order to deliver an expanding economy and it must invest in innovation to stay ahead. That was the key message from Economy Minister Diane Dodds when she recently addressed the Lisburn Chamber of Commerce on bringing forward an Economic Strategy for Northern Ireland.
Speaking at the event the Minister said: “A strong, local economy is the foundation to a stable Northern Ireland. Our new Economic Strategy will provide the opportunity to set out a clear roadmap to economic growth.
“We have real strengths and can compete on the world stage in areas such as cyber security, artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced manufacturing, materials and engineering. Northern Ireland is currently the top location for US cyber security investments and artificial intelligence is a key emerging technology impacting us.”
The Minister told representatives from the local business community: “We must build on this and that is why I am examining the potential establishment of an AI Centre for Excellence for Northern Ireland. It is vital we invest in innovation and in research and development.
“We need to ensure we have a skills pipeline to meet current and future skills needs. By doing this we will help people progress up the skills ladder and we will support higher productivity levels. To drive continued growth in our economy, I remain committed to encouraging our local firms to grow in size through a culture of entrepreneurship.”
The Minister said that she recognised that a small region like Northern Ireland needs to look beyond its shores to succeed and she encouraged more local companies to export their goods, products and services out of Northern Ireland.
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