Belfast business support

Belfast business life and workforce


As the largest city in Northern Ireland, Belfast is an attractive place for any type of business to trade. Modern housing, retail and office developments are encouraging people and businesses to locate in Belfast.

Belfast businesses and supply chains

Belfast has seen a surge in inward investment projects in recent years. Belfast has been named as the second most attractive UK city after London for foreign direct investment. The advantages of the skilled local workforce attracted many leading international businesses, bringing with them the opportunities of new supply chains for Belfast businesses.

International companies which have invested in Belfast include Bombardier, Bloomberg, CEM Systems, Citi, Cybersource, Firstsource, Fujitsu, GE Healthcare, GEM, Halifax Bank of Scotland, IKEA, Liberty Mutual NYSE and Openwave.

Over the last decade Belfast has been transformed by massive redevelopment, with signature projects such as the Waterfront Hall, SSE Arena and Victoria Square.

Belfast business sectors

There are over 10,200 registered businesses in Belfast, which accounts for 14 per cent of all businesses in Northern Ireland. The key sectors in Belfast are software, contact centres, financial services, aerospace, engineering, health technology, creative industries and environmental industries.

For further statistics see Invest NI's Council Area Profile for Belfast (PDF, 960KB).

Belfast workforce and population

The Belfast City Council area is home to over 340,220 people. Almost 655,000 people live in the wider Belfast metropolitan area, making Belfast the largest retail market in Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland is recognised for world class education outcomes, leading to a highly educated and skilled workforce. Belfast is the base for Queen's University, the University of Ulster and Belfast Metropolitan College.