Minister's foreword for Belfast Telegraph Top 100

Date published: 10 June 2024

This year’s Top 100 Companies list shines a spotlight on the business leaders and teams driving our economy.

Economy Minister Conor Murphy
Economy Minister Conor Murphy

The companies span a range of different sectors including life and health sciences, renewable energy, manufacturing, hospitality and many more.

The list includes local small and medium enterprises which are the bedrock of our economy.

It also includes international companies which boost our exports and productivity levels.

What these businesses all have in common is their ingenuity and determination to succeed.

As Economy Minister, my role is to support businesses such as these to continue to thrive in a way that supports my four key objectives.

That is creating good jobs, promoting regional balance, raising productivity, and transitioning to net zero.

Underpinning all four objectives is the skills and talent of our people.

Over the coming months, new measures will be rolled out by my department and Invest NI, to deliver on these objectives.

An Employment Bill will soon be launched to better protect the rights of workers.

By strengthening job security, flexibility, pay and opportunities for progression, more people will be encouraged to join the workforce.

Many companies are already working to make their industry more attractive and this Bill will bolster those efforts.

Invest NI will strengthen its regional presence, and work with communities on their local economic priorities.

They will get the right balance between support for indigenous small and medium enterprises and foreign direct investment.

Recently published research on the sectors that benefit most from dual market access will be used to build exports.

Despite the difficult financial context, I am determined to increase investment in our further education colleges and higher education institutions. These are the skills engines that equip our people for current and future job markets.

My department is also accelerating its delivery of the £1.5billion City & Growth Deal programme which includes game-changing projects for sectors such as manufacturing, tourism, and health and life sciences.

My department is collaborating with industry on action plans for high potential sectors, including agri-tech, advanced manufacturing, fintech, and screen industries.

Industry-led groups will take forward work plans for tourism and hospitality, and for the social enterprise sector.

It is only by working together in this way that we can ensure government policy meets the needs of people and businesses on the ground.

With only three years remaining in the mandate it is also important to act at pace.

The companies in this year’s Top 100 list highlight the success that is possible.

I’d like to congratulate all companies on the list, as well as the Belfast Telegraph for its recognition of businesses’ contribution to the economy.

This list demonstrates the strong business base we have to build upon and inspires us to achieve even more.

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