Businesses in Belfast benefit from a number of geographical advantages, along with fantastic infrastructure and government support mechanisms. Northern Ireland has a unique position as the only region in the United Kingdom with a land border to the EU, placing Belfast businesses within easy reach of major cross-border markets and supply chains. The advantages of setting up a business in Belfast are outlined below.
1. Belfast business support from Invest Northern Ireland
Invest NI is the main economic development agency in Northern Ireland. Invest NI provides business support across all sectors and business sizes in Belfast through a number of programmes and advice points.
2. Belfast's infrastructure
The strong transport links offered by Belfast are a major advantage for new or growing businesses. A programme of urban development is taking place in the Belfast area, to boost the city's position as a major European centre.
Belfast has a well-developed road network and is at the centre of the motorway backbone of Northern Ireland. The M1/A1 links Belfast and Dublin with a typical journey time of approximately two hours between the capital cities.
Belfast is the hub of the recently modernised rail service in Northern Ireland. The Metro network is a modern and frequent urban bus service in the Greater Belfast area. Translink provides more information on Metro, Ulsterbus and rail services.
3. Air routes from Belfast
Belfast has two modern airports with around 30 direct flights to London departing each weekday. George Best Belfast City Airport is only two miles from the city centre. Belfast International Airport, which is just 25 minutes away by car, serves 21 European and transatlantic services including daily direct flights to New York.
4. Belfast sea routes
The Port of Belfast is the second largest on the island of Ireland, handling almost 60 per cent of Northern Ireland's seaborne trade and 20 per cent of the entire island's sea traffic. Belfast Harbour provides more information.