Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

We can build our own companies AND work with worldwide giants

The world of Northern Ireland business has had quite a couple of weeks. Unemployment has fallen, house prices have stabilised, PMIs have pointed to growth and one of our few listed companies has been taken over.

That last factor may seem out of place in the maelstrom of positive news, what with it representing the loss of local ownership of one of the shining stars of the Northern Ireland economy.

But, as has been said before in this column, a takeover such as this is not necessarily a bad thing; it's more of a reflection on the competence and skill of the target company, one which has piqued the interest of a bigger suitor.

Rather than mourn the loss of a Northern Ireland name, we should be looking inwards to see what up and coming companies we have coming up through the ranks, ready to float on the markets or to catch the eye of a potential buyer.

Andor has blazed a trail in its own business, highlighting how the commercial and research world can work together to produce a company which has made a name for itself around the globe.

It hasn't been an easy ride but with the right management, investment and a large dollop of hard work, there's no reason why the wealth of early stage companies waiting in the wings can't follow.

Meanwhile, there's a raft of jobs for the north west in one of the Northern Ireland's biggest inward investors.

There's no doubt the planning of the Fujitsu announcement was timed to coincide with the return of the First and Deputy First Minister from last week's trip to Japan but the guts of 200 IT jobs for the region will be truly welcome.

Putting time and effort into visiting potential investors on their home turf may seem to some a waste of time but is invaluable in persuading companies, particular in Asia, with the globe at their disposal, that we're serious about helping them run their businesses.