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Belfast. Ready for business

Why Belfast?

City of talent

Belfast is a city brimming with talent.

We’re one of the youngest cities in Europe with 43% of our population under 30 years of age. Our schools, colleges and universities rival the best in the world. 17 of our schools are among the UK’s top 100 leading performers in the examination hall. In fact, Northern Ireland was the top performing region in the UK for GCSEs in 2018. Over 84,000 students study in the three main universities and colleges and our young, productive workforce provides a strong talent pool for investors across a range of sectors. Around one in every sixteen adults aged 18-64, or over 73,000 individuals in the Region are engaged in early-stage entrepreneurial activity. Its little wonder Belfast is seen as a young city full of possibility, knowledge and ambition.

Innovation in our DNA

Innovation is part of Belfast’s DNA. From our history of shipbuilding to advanced engineering, Belfast is a city of creators and inventors.

Our researchers are tackling some of the world’s biggest challenges. From innovation in the legal sector to ground-breaking cancer research, Belfast is home to global research centres of excellence and supporting high growth clusters. Belfast is a world-leading hub for cybersecurity and FinTech. Our creative companies are also making their mark globally. And as a result of a pipeline bursting with talent; pioneering research and innovation; and secure and resilient infrastructure, global companies like Allstate, Citi and Baker McKenzie have chosen to set up, and grow, in Belfast.

Urban innovation is at the core of our city. Through our Smart Belfast framework, we’re turning Belfast into a ‘living laboratory’ and harnessing our city’s talent pool, creativity and technical infrastructure to build innovative solutions that address city challenges and support our city’s future growth.

Well connected

Belfast is a super-connected city – both in terms of location and infrastructure.

Belfast is ideally situated between Europe and the US. It is well connected by road, rail, air and sea. London is one hour by air and Dublin is two hours by road or rail. Belfast has 2 international airports within 30 minutes of the city centre.

Northern Ireland has the highest availability of superfast broadband and 4G connectivity in the UK. It also benefits from the fastest direct broadband link from Europe to North America. High speed connectivity has helped attract some of the world’s leading companies to Belfast and one of the factors behind the phenomenal growth of knowledge industries in the city.

  • Belfast – Capital of Northern Ireland
  • City population – 340,220
  • Belfast region population – 1 million
  • Population with degree level education or higher – 33%
  • GDP is £44,332 per capita

Belfast - Top 10 city for

fDi Magazine Global Cities of the Future 2018- 2019
Track record

Track record

900 international companies are located in Northern Ireland, employing over 100,000 people. 71% of new investors reinvest.

High growth clusters

High growth clusters

Belfast is home to thriving clusters of high growth companies, with significant strengths in creative and digital, financial and professional services, cyber technology and advanced engineering and manufacturing.



Office rents are half of those charged in Dublin and one third of London. Prime yields for high street shops stand at 6.75% and offices at 5.75%. Salary costs are one third lower than other major western European capitals.

Belfast is amongst the cities with the lowest cost of living in the world.

Mercer 2016