Entrepreneurship is a key policy focus and longstanding challenge for Northern Ireland. Both the Programme for Government and draft Industrial Strategy set out a key aim for enterprise and entrepreneurship to be fully embedded across our society.

Information on entrepreneurship policy and research

Entrepreneurship context paper

The department published an Entrepreneurship Context Paper on 12 November 2018 which sets out the strategic context here in Northern Ireland. 

The context paper sets out an ambition for Northern Ireland to be a dynamic and enterprising region, supporting innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship at its core, with a culture of new business development, higher start-up activity and more businesses realising high growth potential. 

Invest NI Entrepreneurship Action Plan

Entrepreneurship is included as one of the key priorities in the Invest NI Business Strategy 2017-2021. Included within this is a commitment to develop a comprehensive Entrepreneurship Action Plan which encourages and supports new businesses with high growth potential to start up and accelerate growth. 

The action plan has two key actions:

  • the appointment of an Entrepreneurship Ambassador 
  • the introduction of an Entrepreneurship Forum for Northern Ireland. 

The Department will be working closely with Invest NI and other key stakeholders as this work progresses.

Further information on the work Invest NI is undertaking in this area can be found on the Invest NI website.

My New Business website

The official online channel for business advice and guidance in Northern Ireland is nibusinessinfo.co.uk which has launched a website to provide help for start-ups called “My New Business”:

Entrepreneurship research and reports

Queen’s University has launched three reports which will help inform the entrepreneurship policy.  Links to these reports can be accessed below:

  • Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) UK: NI Report - this provides international benchmark data for entrepreneurial activity in Northern Ireland, on a comparable basis. 
  • NI Local Growth Dashboard 2018  -  using individual firm-level and local unit statistics from the Business Structure Database, the profile of business growth is compared across all Local Government Districts in Northern Ireland.
  • Understanding Micro-Businesses in NI - drawing on new survey data, this report provides a profile of micro-businesses (that is, with one to nine employees) in Northern Ireland and compares to UK regional, Irish and US benchmarks.

Related to Entrepreneurship

Access to information

How to request information from the Department for the Economy including Freedom of Information (FOI) and the use of our Publication Scheme.

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