North’s enterprise minister Arlene Foster   said   the latest figures still portray “a more positive picture than a year ago”. Photograph: Eric Luke /Irish Times

Latest set of official data show total claimant count fell to 45,200

 Minister for Finance Simon Hamilton said: “The construction industry is vitally important to the economy in Northern Ireland, employing nearly 60,000 people.” Photograph: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye/PA Wire

Minister for Finance welcomes figures showing 6 per cent increase in new work

The North also has the highest price expectations for the next three months Photograph: Pacemaker

Industry body warns supply issues could push prices higher

Oscar Woolley is a little more discerning than most when it comes to his choice of tea

There are hopes Suki Tea will become next household favourite thanks to major deal

 Worcester Chamber of Commerce president Timothy Murray (left) with  Worcester chamber marketing executive Danielle Shabo and Adrian Bradley, chief executive  of i3 Digital

Tech company wins contract in Worcester, Massachusetts and in talks with business leaders in five other cities

There is a long  list of reasons why businesses fail nearly every day of the year, including choosing the wrong location. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Failing at business should not stop you from trying again

The North’s enterprise, trade and investment minister Arlene Foster and Minister for Employment and Learning, Dr Stephen Farry are pictured with Colm Tracey (R), Eishtec operational director

Invest NI-assisted investment driven by Waterford company’s contract with EE

The devolution of corporation tax powers to the North is tied to the implementationof welfare reforms Photograph: Pacemaker

PwC says economy performing poorly despite almost 24,000 new jobs

No redundancies have been announced following the deal which could see Lagan’s workforce swell to more than 900 people – making it one of the largest privately owned construction and civil firms North and South.

Deal will see Lagan’s workforce grow to more than 900

The telecoms giant is one of the largest local private sector employers with a direct workforce of more than 2,400 people

Telecoms group to take on 50 people at contact centre

EasyJet plans to increase the number of seats for sale on its Gatwick, London Luton and Stansted routes by more than 125,000.

Airline increases capacity on Belfast to London routes

The latest Entrepreneurs Index highlights that the proportion of high-growth companies in the North increased by 5.5 per cent in the 12 months to March 2014.

Northern Ireland was only region bar Scotland in the UK to show evidence of a rise

‘Game Of Thrones’ is attracting “location tourists” who want to experience exactly where the show is filmed and walk in the footsteps of their favourite characters

‘Game of Thrones’ continues to boost the tourism industry in North

Research published by Danske Bank today shows it has marginally revised economic growth forecasts up to 2.2 per cent from 2.1 per cent for both 2015 and 2016. Photo: Bloomberg

Bank says faster growth in household incomes will drive up expenditure and confidence

Dunbia, the Tyrone headquartered food company, which specialises in beef, pork and lamb products, is to invest £27 million in Northern Ireland and create an additional 209 jobs in Dungannon.

Tyrone-headquarted meat specialist to invest £27 million in new processing plant

The bitter taste of a weak euro cannot be ignored by businesses or retailers in the North

The price of a chocolate egg in a Border town or city illustrates why a weak euro cannot be ignored in the North

British chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne holds his ministerial red box up to the media as he leaves 11 Downing Street on Wednesday. The chancellor was presenting his fifth budget to MPs, the last before the general election on May 7th. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Extra funding to support “business and hardworking people”

The K Club. The MJM Group has developed a global reputation as an expert fit-out and refurbishment specialist for cruise liners and luxury hotels such as the K Club

Newry joiner has been major exhibitor at cruise shipping conference taking place in Miami

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness speaks to the media during a press conference at Stormont  over the issue of welfare reform. Sinn Fein has blocked a welfare reform bill, after accusing the Democratic Unionist Party of acting in bad faith.Photograph: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

Impasse threatens ability of North’s political leaders to sell business message on St Patrick’s Day visits to US

Northern Ireland Secretary of Sate, Theresa Villiers, announcing the new Corporation Tax Bill in January. Business leaders warn that the political crisis over welfare reform should not be allowed to threaten the bill.

Business leaders warn against letting latest crisis over welfar reform jeporadise plans to devolve corporation tax

Queen’s University Belfast: Chris Caldwell believes Northern Ireland needs to direct more investment into the education system to produce graduates with the right types of skills for industry and business.

Cutting budget of North’s Department of Employment would be a mistake

UK trade association says construction SMEs are suffering blanket discrimination

The Belfast call centre specialised in providing outbound calling services, targeting potential customers for the company’s RIAS and Castle Cover brands.

Employees say they had no advance warning of Ageas Retail move

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers. An Assembly committee has said that Northern Ireland credit unions and mutual societies should benefit from  any new lower rates of corporation tax.  File photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

Assembly committee concerned financial services sector won’t profit from lower rates

Every passenger that departs from a UK airport must pay Air Passenger Duty (APD) although rates vary depending on the destination and ticket class, most people currently pay £13 on the price of a short-haul ticket.

Shortfall in income would have to be made up by public finances

David Dobbin: “The sheer scale and breadth of the harbour’s business means that it plays a critical role in the economy in terms of being a major economic driver.”

Sale of lucrative real estate an option for Northern Executive

First Minister Peter Robinson and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness with Dr Brendan Mooney, Managing Director of Kainos Software

Invest NI supporting project with finance totalling £4.7m

The value of the overall deal could be in the region of £13 million (€17.7million)

Company to pay an initial £4.9m for US software firm

Every employer in the UK has a duty to be aware of the different legal rate for the National Minimum Wage which varies from an apprentice rate of £2.73 per hour to the adult rate (21 and over) of £6.50 per hour

Firms failed to pay workers the National Minimum Wage

A worker at the Andor Technology factory  in Belfast. The firm  is actively seeking 18 voluntary redundancies at its Belfast operations.  Photograph:  Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker

Parent company Oxford Instruments confirms exercise to make cost savings of £6m

Jim Clerkin attends DuJour Magazine and NYY Steak celebrating Chrissy Teigen with FENDI timepieces and Moet Ice on  in New York City. Photograph:  Ben Gabbe/Getty Images for DuJour

Having grown up on a pig farm, Jim Clerkin’s early years with Guinness paved the way to top Moët Hennessy USA post

 Ulster Bank and its parent company Royal Bank of Scotland are to create 350 additional jobs at an Ulster Bank customer contact centre in Belfast. Photo: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

New employees will provide support for RBS, NatWest and Ulster Bank customers

The North’s Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said the fall in both the local unemployment rate and the decrease in the number of people claiming jobless benefits was “encouraging”.

Number of people claiming unemployment benefits fell to 48,200 in January

A   Bombardier Learjet 45; part of the Ministerial Air Transport fleet. Job losses in Belfast  are the result of a decision by the aerospace group to “pause” its Learjet 85  program because of weak demand. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Weak demand sees Canadian aerospace firm reduce headcount for second time in 12 months

“By building on our current strengths . . . Northern Ireland has the opportunity to improve the health of its citizens whilst providing strong economic growth for the future”

Life sciences generate sales of about £800m a year and account for 10% of exports from the North

David Gavaghan: chief executive of Titanic Quarter since June 2012

Titanic Quarter is one of North’s economic successes with more than 100 companies

Anti-fracking sign  near Belcoo, Co Fermanagh. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

The Canadian company has applied for planning permission for a 2,700m borehole

Diversification: Nigel Logan’s Hillstown family farm is helping to create jobs and opportunities for friends and neighbours

Farmers are finding new ways to create income using the resources they have

A new report published today by the UK’s Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee highlights that ongoing projects to bring rural communities up to speed with basic broadband access falls short of the EU202 target to provide superfast broadband - 30Mbpbs - by 2020.

Such an approach would leave people in rural communities with insufficient access to broadband

Concentrix president Chris Caldwell: says he  “started very young in business” and believes anyone who has ever experienced failure can learn valuable lessons. Photograph: Stephen Hamilton

‘I learned as much from my failure as I did from my successes,’ says Chris Caldwell

Q Local Media is chaired by Dominic Fitzpatrick, who is MD of the Irish News. Photograph: Thinkstock

Group was previously focused on radio stations in regional towns

Queen’s University Belfast: Centre for Secure Information Technologies  in the Northern Ireland Science Park is the UK’s largest university centre for cyber-security research. Photograph: Alan Betson

RepKnight software monitors social media and pinpoints geographic locations

Trade and investment minister Arlene Foster said it is encouraging that both the jobless rate and the numbers of people claiming benefits have fallen in the North.

Eight firms collectively planning to invest £2.8m and create 65 jobs

The Martin brothers know that soft learner boards – foamies – are very buoyant and help beginners to catch waves, but they can be very vulnerable to the elements

Three investers interested in ‘next generation’ of surfboards from their Skunk Works company in Coleraine

Bombardier’s Belfast operations may have escaped this latest round of job cuts - but it was only last September that the Canadian group cut 300 temporary and contract jobs in the North and 90 positions from its permanent workforce.

Canadian aerospace group to cut jobs in US and Mexico

PathXL is a spin out from  Queen’s University Belfast

PathXL makes tumour detection software

Northern Ireland Secretary of State Theresa Villiers, who last Thursday unveiled the Corporation Tax (NI) Bill. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien /The Irish Times

KPMG Belfast boss says corporation tax power will change North’s future

Northern Ireland Secretary of Sate, Theresa Villiers: said she believed the Bill had the potential to create thousands of jobs and stimulate growth. Photograph: Stephen Davison

Bill will permit NI Executive to determine its own rates independently of London

Northern Ireland Secretary of Sate, Theresa Villiers: said she believed the Bill had the potential to create thousands of jobs and stimulate growth. Photograph: Stephen Davison

Bill will permit NI Executive to determine its own rates independently of London

Tesco said it would reduce its capital expenditure for next year to £1 billion, from no more than £2.1 billion this year and cut costs by £250 million a year

Supermarket chain to cut costs and sell assets as it seeks to win back market share

Survey says growth for local firms coming from contracts won in Britain as work halted on local public projects

Air France-KLM will provide a daily service between George Best Belfast City Airport and Amsterdam Schiphol Airport from this May.

Move praised by North’s Minister for Enterprise Arlene Foster

Fairy Magic, the 3D app hit released by Belfast-based InLifeSize.

Greg Maguire’s InLifeSize are just one creative company aiming to expand in 2015

Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association  chief executive Glyn Roberts said that while the businesses community had been encouraged by the Stormont House Agreement  it wanted to see it implemented and progress made on the final budget. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Outstanding political issues could affect business performance, warns retail group

Ulster Bank economist Richard Ramsey:  says the Northern Ireland  economy is estimated to have grown by 2 per cent in real terms in 2014 and he expects a similar rate of growth (1.5-2 per cent ) to follow through next year

In the North it is hard to find agreement on anything, never mind the economy

Needham says the proposed entertainment complex could deliver up to £3 million in tax revenue for Belfast city council. Photograph: Barry Austin/Getty Images

Former minister Richard Needham believes time is right for ‘calculated risk’

Northern Ireland construction company Mivan collapsed nearly a year ago

Solicitors representing 144 employees argued they had been made redundant without warning workers load boxes with orders at the company’s centre in Tracy, California. Photograph: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Software problem blamed by Repricer Express for error that saw products reduced to $0.01

David Richards of WANdisco. He said he was convinced to invest in the North because of its excellent talent pool

WANdisco’s market capitalisation now almost £300 million

UK chancellor George Osborne outlined his NI corporation tax proposal last week.

Economic think-tank says it will necessitate cuts in public spending

Richard Ramsey, chief economist Northern Ireland with Ulster Bank, said the latest survey painted a mixed picture of local business conditions.

Ulster Bank survey showed weakest increase in business activity rates since mid-2013

NI househunters will benefit from George Osborne’s stamp duty cut. Photograph: Reuters

Consumers also welcome air passenger duty reduction

Dalradian Resources first started worked in Gortin four years ago and has completed a number of exploration programmes which it says has identified 3.5 million ounces of gold to date

Canadian firm holds the mineral rights to more than 80,000 hectares in Northern Ireland

Revel Systems is the developer of a cloud based iPad Point of Sale System (POS) that allows retailers to use iPads to do the same job as traditional cash registers. (Photograph:  Paul Faith/PA Wire)

San Francisco headquartered software company to establish a new European sales and support centre

According to Jenkins, most children hate needles, which is very often an inescapable part of a visit to an A&E with a wound

Dr Mark Jenkins won £20,000 in InterTradeIreland’s 2014 Seedcorn competition

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne speaks with Doctor Manab Mohanty and Doctor Victoria Holt during a visit to Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust at Homerton in east London. Photograph: Luke MacGregor/PA Wire

SDLP spokesman Fearghal McKinney says health service could get £60m injection of funds to help address £160m shortfall in 2015

Caterpillar has a history of investing and subsequently pulling back in the North Photograph: Bloomberg

Engineering group has four sites in Northern Ireland, employing some 2,100

Connor Sweeney, InterTradeIreland Project Manager. Cork-based AventaMed beat three other regional winners in InterTradeIreland’s all-island 2014 Seedcorn Competition.

Cork-based medical device firm hopes to revolutionise ear, nose and throat surgery

Vincent and Justin Carton, of Carton Foods, parent of the Manor Farm poultry business.

Belfast Briefing: Manor Farm parent group looks to succession planning

At the NI Chamber of Commerce and Industry president’s banquet were Ann McGregor, chief executive of NI Chamber; Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster; Kevin Kingston, president and broadcaster Jeremy Paxman. Photograph: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye.

NI chamber president says corporation tax rate of 21% is an issue

The £54 million investment project will deliver more than £21million in salaries each year for the Northern Ireland economy

Group, which is celebrating 10th year in the North, currently employs 1,500 people

Cigarette maker JTI Gallaher announced plans to shut its factory in County Antrim with the loss of almost 1,000 jobs last month

Unite says it has found a way to rescue 500 of the 876 jobs under threat at Ballymena cigarette factory

Simon Hamilton: wants to create the first Northern Ireland Investment Fund to inject millions of pounds into communities and create local business opportunities and new jobs.  Photograph: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye/PA Wire

The North’s Finance Minister has a new £1bn investment fund at the top of his

Beannchor is  expanding its Cathedral Quarter portfolio which currently includes The Dirty Onion.

Expansion is part of a £400,000 investment in a new cocktail bar and nightclub

The Belfast company, which was formed in 2002 from a management buy-out, will become part of the Civica group which employs 2,100 people at 30 locations throughout the world

Acquisition a “positive development” for Asidua’s 130 employees according to CEO

“We want people and businesses in Northern Ireland to get connected - to use the technology”

A £23.5m investment is under way across the North to improve the infrastructure and broadband technologies

The new facility at Green Port Hull is scheduled to be completed by the summer of 2017

Joint venture between Graham and the Lagan Group secures deal to build offshore facility

 Allstate Northern Ireland, part of the Allstate Corporation, is  the largest publicly traded home, personal and vehicle insurer in the US and the largest IT company in the North, with operations in Belfast, Derry and Strabane.  Photographer: Tim Boyle/Bloomberg

Allstate Northern Ireland has accents as American as the Stars and Stripes

Whether in the ring or in business, Wayne McCullough’s personal mantra is: “Never give up, work hard and believe.”

Success does not come easy – you have to come out fighting, says Wayne McCullough

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said the R&D project also underlined the US company’s commitment to the city.

Company to take on 35 additional engineers to work on assisted magnetic recording initiative

NI enterprise minister Arlene Foster pictured with Matthew Martin of Lakeland Trading Solutions. Photo: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye

New company will primarily sell home and contents insurance

 Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne Photograph:  Peter MacDiarmid/Getty Images

With the Irish budget announced and the UK Autumn Statement looming, tax policy makes it worthwhile for business to stay north of (...)

First Derivatives chief executive Brian Conlon, after winning the 2010 EY Entrepreneur of the Year award. The company said today it has increased it stake in KxSystems. Photo: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Newry-headquartered company agrees £36m deal to increase shareholding in US firm

Artist’s impression of the project. The City Quays 2 development is part of a larger £250 million scheme that includes a mix of commercial offices, residential space, shops and a proposed 200 bedroom hotel.

Planning permission secured for £20m project

The Titianic Experience museum in Belfast. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Belfast Briefing: North’s budget woes not entirely of its own making

Factory worker on the shop floor of Linden Foods in Dungannon.

Survey shows while there is some stabilisation in economy there is no consistent pattern of growth

UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne at the Google EMEA  Headquarters in Dublin. The Northern Ireland Executive has agreed to borrow £100 million from the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer. Photo: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

Political leaders agreed to loan facility extended by the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer

Cigarette maker JTI Gallaher is to shut its factory in County Antrim with the loss of almost 1,000 jobs. Photograph: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

Japan Tobacco plans to move all operations to Poland and Romania

Ian Paisley jnr. Photograp:  Paul Faith/PA Wire

Cigarette plant scheduled to close in 2017 in major restructuring of company’s European operations

Rapid7’s software is currently used by nearly 3,000 enterprises and government agencies in more than 78 countries.

Rapid7 to establish a development centre specialising in security applications

Chain Reaction Cycles ships bikes, components, clothing and accessories to more than 115 countries. Photograph: Getty Images/Comstock Images

Belfast Briefing: Chain Reaction Cycles races to success online

Celebrating the Invent 2014 awards are winner Sean McAllister of Plotbox, awards sponsor, Julie Ann O’Hare, director of Business Banking, at Bank of Ireland UK and Leona McAllister of Plotbox.

Invent 2014 showcases best prototypes and gadgets

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said the jobs announcement cemented Limerick’s reputation as a leading location for high quality employees.

CarTrawler, PwC and Optel Vision to create 1,340 positions across the island of Ireland

Liz Earle, a successful entrepreneur, says working mothers are good team players.

A top entrepreneur says firms should learn to appreciate the working mother

Colin Walsh, Liz Earle, Rotha Johnston and Stuart Carson at the CBI lunch in Belfast yesterday. Photograph: Stephen Hamilton

Lobby group believes it is imperative to ‘embed’ gender diversity

Commercial property values in Northern Ireland today are said to  be closer to what they were back in 2001 and 2002. Photograph: Getty Images

Well placed to know, Keith Shiells sees LSH’s return to the North as significant

Arlene Foster, the North’s Minister for Enterprise, said the investment was secured by Invest NI despite stiff competition from other locations.

Development to deliver ‘£3.7m a year boost’ to Northern Ireland economy

Google will be bringing the Google Juice Bar to Derry tomorrow, a series of free seminars and workshops as part of their drive to empower  entrepreneurs  to get the most out of their digital marketing and boost online presence.

Belfast Briefing: Derry regeneration plan aims to make city a smart-tech hub

A total of 100 jobs are to be created atthe Cornfield Care Centre in Limavady, Co Derry.

Cornfield Care Centre in Limavady taking on 100 staff while Deluxe Group creating 22 positions

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