Taxi giant and luxury resort are among Northern Ireland firms on 'inspiring' list
A London Stock Exchange Group report on the UK's most inspiring companies today features 25 Northern Ireland firms - nearly double last year's numbers.
The 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain report features Northern Ireland firms from taxi giant FonaCab to steel structures business Walter Watson and meat processsor Finnebrogue Artisan.
And the province's fast-growing hospitality sector is also represented with the inclusion of Galgorm Resort and Spa.
Of the 25 firms, 12 operate in engineering and construction, and manufacturing. Listed company First Derivatives represents Northern Ireland's high tech sector, while businesses like CDE Global and Edge Innovate are flying the flag for the province's heavy machinery and equipment sector.
Elmgrove Foods Ltd and Ready Egg Products Ltd also represent the food industry in Northern Ireland.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond welcomed the publication of the report today.
"Small businesses are the backbone of the British economy with a combined annual turnover of £1.9trn and employ 60% of private sector workers outside of London," he said.
"That's why, whether they are family-run firms or tech start-ups, we are supporting high growth SMEs to achieve their potential."
The report said that companies were growing at an exceptional average rate of 71% - continuing the previous year's rate of 70%, despite some strong economic headwinds.
All UK regions are represented, with 60% of companies from outside London and the South East.
And the report features companies in both traditional industries and more recent economic success stories. The largest sector represented is engineering and construction with 132 companies, followed by information technology with 72 companies
Financial services is one of the fastest growing sectors, with average annual revenue growth rate more than quadrupling. Engineering and construction growth had doubled.
Nikhil Rathi, CEO, London Stock Exchange plc, said: "We warmly congratulate all of the companies identified in this year's '1000 companies to Inspire Britain' report.
"Five years on, the report continues to demonstrate the strength and diversity of British businesses right across the country.
"These dynamic companies are the backbone of our economy, playing an important role in the UK's ability to innovate, export and grow."
He added: "Almost double the number of Northern Irish companies included in this year's report compared to 2017 is testament to Northern Ireland's entrepreneurial spirit and the economic and job creating potential of these businesses.
"Policy makers must continue to increase access to growth capital for these firms, which would in turn benefit the wider UK economy."