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Expanding into Northern Ireland or internationally?

Aine O’Hare, PwC NI’s lead Partner on International Markets, shares her insight on economic recovery and the increasing demand from companies consulting on all aspects of their local and international business.


“International Markets is a key priority for PwC which is why I’m leading a local team with international expertise to support local businesses expand into international markets as well as support overseas investors invest and set-up in Northern Ireland.


“There are many complexities and administration requirements that arise when expanding into any international market and my team is here to support and make the process as simple and straightforward as possible. We also act to ensure that businesses consider all critical components so they start on the best foot, which includes considering their structural set-up, how and where best to raise finance, recruitment of key local management, managing taxes for those overseas staff/directors, availing of incentives, payroll requirements and legal contracting.


“For a number of reasons, we’re confident the drop we saw in the middle of 2020 is being replaced by significant investment and activity, with an uptake by US and Asian investors in Northern Ireland. They’re beginning to find space after managing the initial shock of the crisis, where they’re thinking strategically about their global structure, divestments and future investments.


“Northern Ireland’s strong pro-business climate and highly skilled workforce make this an ideal place for investors. Our digital sector is critical to our long-term economic growth, and much of its success is down to the local culture which has been developed around it. There’s a real energy with a hunger to be innovative, take risks and challenge the status quo. That’s not been dampened by what is happening as a result of Covid – and if anything, the disruption is bringing the advantages of these skillset to the fore. Our global reputation as a cyber security hub has made NI the top location for international investment, and Belfast is the leading FDI destination for new software development.


“We’ve had to dig deep and be incredibly resilient in the middle of 2020, but as we emerge and investors’ confidence grows, we are experiencing an increase in activity. Outside London, we are the highest-performing region when it comes to attracting investment and creating jobs.


“Northern Ireland is incredibly competitive in terms of operating costs and as well as our location and accessibility plays a big role, PwC helped to deliver the biggest-ever investment in hyper-speed broadband with Project Stratum which will position NI as a digital global leader.


“Our universities and colleges are helping us to develop a highly skilled workforce – not only for younger people but also those who’ve had careers in other fields and are seeking to upskill through the likes of our Assured Skills Academies, which we run with the Department for the Economy and Belfast Metropolitan College.


“We’re working hard on behalf of the companies already making progress in this area, and are keen to support others who are now ready to get going on this exciting venture.”

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