Thinking of doing business in Belfast? Here’s everything you need to know.
In the past Belfast may have been overlooked as a place to do business with people favouring London or Dublin. However the city is quickly becoming a huge hub for business.
The city is constantly evolving and has so much going for it, with regards to business opportunities, talent, and support. But if you’re reading this post, then you already think all this! Here’s everything you need to know before doing business in Belfast.
Belfast is the capital city of Northern Ireland and the second largest city on the island of Ireland after Dublin, which it is less than two hours from. It is just six hours from New York and one hour from London, making it ideally placed at the centre of global markets.
Glandore has been in Belfast since 2000 and the city offers a unique location for businesses looking for a new base to set up in. It has great infrastructure, world-class telecommunication links (Belfast has the best availability of superfast broadband in the UK.), a highly educated workforce, a strong retail centre and, of course, flexible office spaces.
Property costs in Northern Ireland compare very favourably with other regions in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Prime office rents are among the lowest in Western Europe.
Regarding salary costs, they are lower here than in the rest of the UK, and around 30 per cent lower than other European locations such as London and Paris.
Cost analysis show that overall, operating costs in Belfast are over 50% lower than London and 17% lower than Dublin.
One major positive of doing business in Belfast are the brilliant organisations that offer business support. Invest NI support business development and attract inward investment, while helping to increase productivity and export levels. Invest NI help achieve business success through financial support, tailored guidance and information. Enterprise Northern Ireland, is another great business support initiative. Between them, they have worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs helping them set up their business in Northern Ireland, enabling them to grow and develop.
Whether you’re heading to work in the city or going to a meeting abroad, Belfast is quite transport friendly.
There are many bus services within the city that provide convenient access to residential parts of the city as well as a rail service that extends across Northern Ireland and into the Republic of Ireland. A typical bus journey within the city will cost you £1.90.
And, with it being a small city, getting around Belfast can often be done on foot.
George Best international airport is just outside the city and flies to several locations across the UK, including London, Manchester and Glasgow.
Belfast is ranked in the top 10 local areas in the UK for productivity, and any company that sets up in Belfast will have an abundance of talent on their hands, as Belfast has two great universities- Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University.
They have a combined student population of 45,000.
Queen’s is ranked in the top 1 per cent of universities worldwide and is a member of the prestigious Russell Group of research-intensive universities.
Ulster University was in the top 100 new universities in the world according to The Times Higher Education Supplement and is currently investing €323 million on a new state of the art 75,000 square meter city centre campus.
Belfast Metropolitan College is the largest provider of further and higher education and training in Northern Ireland and has strong links with local businesses across all sectors.
Networking is essential part of business, and thanks to Belfast Chamber of Trade Commerce, there’s lots of it.
They organise events like speed networking, wine tasting evenings, business Awards, focus groups and business breakfasts/lunches with guest speakers.
These events keep members informed of the latest developments in the city and create opportunities to establish new contacts, strengthen existing relationships and generate new business in a relaxed environment.
It’s not all about work…
There are lots of things to do in this city when you’re not busy working.
Belfast’s interesting history has lead to it becoming a melting pot of cultures. Despite Belfast being a part of the UK, Irish culture is very evident within the city. Due to exciting job opportunities and impressive third level education programmes, Belfast has attracted people from all over the world in recent years. This has created a unique mix of cultures, foods and festivals.
Belfast is of course where the infamous Titanic was made, and the Titanic Quarter of the City contains the Titanic Museum, which is well worth a visit.
It also contains Titanic Studios, home to one of the world’s largest stage sets and the official home of the Game of Thrones production.
After having a look around the studios, you can take a tour bus and set off to see various locations where the series is filmed, including famous landmarks like Carrickfergus Castle.
The world famous Giant’s Causeway is also just over an hours drive from Belfast City centre.