Overview of Northern Ireland business

Business and commercial environment of Northern Ireland


Northern Ireland offers many advantages to those starting up or expanding a business.

Key sectors in Northern Ireland

Knowledge-based sectors attract investment into Northern Ireland. Software, contact centres and financial services are growing fast. Other key sectors include:

  • aerospace
  • engineering
  • health technology
  • the service industry
  • manufacturing
  • construction
  • agriculture

The Tourism industry in Northern Ireland is also growing and attracting investment - the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) provides NI tourism statistics.

Researching your idea

If starting a business in Northern Ireland it is important to research your sector with care.

Invest NI's Business Information Centre can assist you with market research.

Invest Northern Ireland can give you:

  • market information
  • company profiles
  • agent and distributor details
  • sales leads

Find out more about Invest NI marketing and sales support and advice.

Tax and government support

You should be aware of the tax rates that might apply to your business.

Corporate tax rates charged on profits are among the lowest in the EU - HM & Revenue Customs (HMRC) provide guidance on Corporation Tax rates.

Value added tax (VAT) is payable on goods and services. The actual amount payable depends on your profits - HMRC outline VAT rates for different sectors.

The UK government has a research and development (R&D) tax relief scheme for all businesses in the UK - HMRC provide information on R&D tax relief schemes.

You might need funds to get your business up and running. You may be able to get government grants for capital expenditure and for some start-up running costs - our Business Support Finder can help you search for financial support for your business.

Finding local knowledge

Business networks are a good place to get advice, and may be able to help find sources of funding. It is also a good idea to search local directories and media for help - see directories and local media in Northern Ireland and business networks in Northern Ireland.

  • Invest NI Business Information Centre
    028 9069 8135