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Tech Nation Cluster Profile: Belfast
32,000 people are in digital employment in Northern Ireland, with the majority of the tech scene focussed around Belfast and Derry/Londonderry. Belfast’s former harbour has been through a regeneration and now boasts the Northern Ireland Science Park, which has been at the heart of the city’s transformation.
The tech community in Belfast has benefitted greatly from a growing network of support groups such as Digital Circle and NISPConnect both providing digital entrepreneurs in the area with a range of opportunities.
As well as the above, the University of Ulster‘s technology and knowledge transfer company Innovation Ulster directs the University’s investment in technology and incubates high-growth spin out companies.
Adding to the above support providers, Generation Innovation (NISPConnect programme), Halo (local angel investment network) and Friday Night Mashup (meet-up network run by entrepreneurs) all aid Northern Irish entrepreneurs on their journey to success.
At present, NISPConnect’s INVENT 2015 competition is a proof-of-concept stage competition for inventors, scientists, entrepreneurs and students to pitch their prototypes and new inventions in front of Northern Ireland’s most experienced leaders from within the technology and commercial sector. They are looking for prototypes from these six categories: Creative Media; Engineering; Agri-food; Life and Health; Electronics; and Enterprise Software.
Taggled CEO Ian Scott believes Northern Ireland is one of the UK’s strongest clusters for one main reason, commenting, “The real advantage to me is the people. Northern Irish people are renowned for their high level of expertise coupled with a work hard / play hard attitude. These attributes cultivate a very strong team ethic and an innovative working environment.”
Three local companies were profiled in the report: