Belfast Telegraph

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We have the know-how to build on our success

By Margaret Canning

It's easy to measure business achievement by product sales. But how can you measure how successful you've been when you are trying to grow your economy by means of increasing innovation and - to use a dreadful expression - thinking outside the box?

The knowledge economy index by the Northern Ireland Science Park has attempted to do just that. It analyses indicators such as employment, salaries, venture capital investment, research and development and patents.

Measuring our achievements against other UK regions reveals that we are ahead of many, such as Yorkshire and Humberside.

Indeed, we are now one of the two fastest-growing knowledge economies in the UK.

We have been given plenty of reminders in recent weeks of the achievements of our knowledge-driven companies.

DisplayNote Technologies, which is based in Belfast but also has offices in the US and Spain, has announced a £1m cash injection from Kernel Capital. The company's technologies make it easier for people to share information in real-time using large-format displays, desktop and mobile devices.

It is getting ready to launch some of its new products at the eagerly-awaited Dublin Web Summit next month, where it will be joined by other Northern Ireland companies like glistrr, Unibaggage, AirPOS and PulsateDate.

And, of course, as well as our own representatives there will also be a host of international companies like Tinder, Dropbox, BSkyB and Getty Images.

And while our knowledge economy is heavily reliant on such innovators, there are more traditional company models that are unlikely to embrace the Web Summit but will still continue to innovate.

Norbrook have released a statement on the future of the firm for the first time since the tragic death of founder Lord Ballyedmond. They have vowed to keep the company independent and to stay rooted in Newry.

There had been some speculation the company could take a different path, but it has decided that it will stick to the successful formula of Lord Ballyedmond.

And it's that self-confidence which defines a successful business, in or out of the knowledge economy.

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