Digital & ICT
Mid and East Antrim is home to a number of digital technology firms focused presently in ICT and software engineering.
There is a real opportunity to build on the contemporary capabilities and skills within the Borough and expand into new areas such as data analytics, networks and sensors and cyber security. The ECOS Incubation Centre, located in Ballymena, is crucial to the development of this growth sector. Managed for Council by Catalyst, this facility is home to a range of innovative and creative companies including Plotbox, who provide software management services for cemeteries and have secured significant sales in the United States.
The ICT sector includes businesses in the following categories: Telecommunications; Motion Picture, Video and Television Production; Programming and Broadcasting Activities; Computer Programming, Consultancy and Related Activities; and Information Service Activities.
The total number of Information and Communication businesses registered in Northern Ireland in 2019 was 2,040 with 85 businesses registered in the MEABC area representing 4% of the NI total.
Information and Communication GVA in Mid & East Antrim is £16m, Professional, Scientific and Technical GVA is £43m and Business Administration and Support Services contributes £26m. This combined £85million contribution is just 4% of the total for Mid and East Antrim. This sector has shown an increase in overall output since 2007 (up by 33%).
Why Mid & East Antrim?
There are many reasons why the Information and Communications sector is an area of focus for future growth. Mid and East Antrim presents a range of opportunities for the sector including:
- Strong digital connectivity (i.e. Communications, Broadband, and Digital Infrastructure);
- Strong physical connectivity (Roads, airports, ports, etc.);
- Low cost of living compared to high growth Digital and ICT areas such as Belfast, Dublin or London;
- Low cost of doing business compared to Belfast, Derry, Dublin and GB;
- Access to wrap-around business support;
- Good geographic location to access GB, ROI, European and American markets;
- Access to labour market within travel to work area (Belfast City Region);
- Strong links to academia through Northern Regional College, Ulster University and Queens University Belfast;
- Digital innovation and office space planned for i4C at St Patrick’s Barracks;
- Integrated Property Solutions Programme to support investment in Start-up and Grow-on Workspace to include Digital and Grade A office accommodation;
- Access to highly skilled labour market travelling out of the Borough to Belfast and Derry for work in the Digital, ICT and Professional Services sectors.