The number of new businesses being created in Northern Ireland has increased by nearly a quarter, it has been revealed.
Figures from Companies House show 2,423 new firms were registered in the six months up to July, compared to 1,954 for the same period in 2010.
The news was welcomed by Government ministers, who said the figures justified their approach and pointed out that 506,000 UK company registrations - including 5,326 in Northern Ireland - had been created since the General Election.
Business minister Mark Prisk said: "We are cutting business taxes, supporting start-ups and tackling red tape. It's been tough, but it's positive news that over half-a-million new businesses have been created since the coalition entered office."
But Labour's shadow treasury secretary Angela Eagle pointed to sluggish growth figures, saying the recovery "was choked off well before the current global uncertainty and will add to criticism of George Osborne's complacency".