Belfast secures 100 well-paid tech jobs as US firm points to level of talent available in Northern Ireland
Belfast has beaten off competition from Dublin and elsewhere in the EU to land 100 well-paid software jobs with a US tech firm.
Unosquare is opening a new engineering centre to support expansion into UK and European markets, as well as existing US customers.
It already has around 10 staff at its offices at the Scottish Provident Building in the city centre.
The jobs will offer an average salary of £37,000.
The rest of the posts are expected to be in place by the end of 2019.
Giancarlo Di Vece, president of Unosquare, said: "We are a premium software consulting company and specialise in fintech and biotech."
Chief executive Mike Barrett said: "We looked at Dublin and other locations in Latin America and the EU, and we began to focus our attention in Ireland, the island, because of the tax advantages.
"We then became very excited about Northern Ireland and Belfast, because of the level of engineering talent.
"From our research and our interviews, it was superior.
"With such a strong IT sector, Northern Ireland was able to offer that."
Unosquare serves the financial services markets and customers involved in cancer diagnostics.
It currently has two centres in Mexico.
"Global demand for high-end software development continues to grow. Companies have more software engineering needs than engineers to deliver," Mr Barrett said.
"Plus, we see real growth opportunity in fintech and biotech, our main verticals of influence - we are helping clients develop next-generation platforms such as digital banking and cancer diagnostics, and treatment using the latest technologies.
"We were looking for a location that not only provided skilled software engineers, but also the right business climate to enable us to get our operation up and running quickly."
Invest NI has offered £650,000 to support the firm's expansion.
Chief executive Alastair Hamilton said: "The company has two other engineering centres in Mexico, but has chosen to open this latest centre in Belfast due to the availability of a strong pool of software engineers and our ability to offer support towards securing the project for Northern Ireland.
"The company uses innovative technology, which will not only enhance the technical capability within Northern Ireland, contributing towards the expansion of our ICT sector, but will also give experienced software developers new skills and exposure to new technology.
"We are delighted having Unosquare in Northern Ireland, creating 100 jobs.
"And it's a really successful conclusion to a project that has been developing for over a year-and-a half now."
Mr Di Vece said: "Invest NI's financial and business support throughout this process has been of real value.
"They helped us understand the local technology market, introduced us to others who came before us, and helped guide us through the ramp up process. This, along with the financial assistance offered, has been a crucial factor to our decision. We are delighted to be here today to announce our investment."
Asked if the Stormont impasse was a concern, Mr Barrett said: "It's not ideal... but we're hopeful you guys will fix that."