Nick Coburn of  Ulster Carpets: Businesses can  confront political leaders on key issues at an initiative this week. Photograph: Brian Thompson/ Wire

March elections to take place against a backdrop of growing concern about Brexit

Ciaran O’Neill, who owns Bishop’s Gate hotel in Derry: “In the Republic there is a great appetite for short breaks – people think nothing of heading off to Galway, Dublin or wherever, and we  need to tap into that.”

Hotelier Ciaran O’Neill may have hit on a way to get more tourists to travel from the South

Arc-net is using blockchain technology to provide traceability and authentication services

Entrepreneur Dr Richard Steeves and Arc-Net chief executive  Kieran Kelly.

Entrepreneur investor to join board of blockchain developer Arc-Net as chairman

Sheryl Sandberg:  The Facebook executive has inspired the setting up of the Lean In Belfast group. Photographer: Patrick T Fallon/Bloomberg

Nuala Murphy is planning to improve lives with a new app and a new approach

The Deloitte research identifies the relocation of the University of Ulster to a Belfast campus as a “game changer” with almost 2,500 student accommodation bed spaces across seven major projects being built in the city centre. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Thirty schemes under construction or recently completed in city, says Deloitte

The port at Larne, Co Antrim: According to a new survey, nearly a third of businesses in the UK and Northern Ireland  are looking to export more, despite the Brexit vote.

Businesses in UK and North cite tariff issues as top priority in future trade negotiations

Northern Ireland-based Norbrook, which makes pharmaceutical products for both farm animals and pets, has invested heavily in its operations. Photograph: iStock

Animal medicines group generates majority sales from exports, including £66m from US

Belfast City Hall: together with London, the city had the largest number of contributors “claiming to have seen firms looking to relocate” due to Brexit.

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors studies readiness of firms to relocate

Belfast port

NI lobby group stresses importance of non-EU workers and cross-border trade

Fin TrU’s chief executive officer Darragh McCarthy said the company had completed the recruitment of its originally planned 80-strong workforce ahead of schedule.

Fin TrU embarks on further expansion in North after recruiting 80 staff

McCue Crafted Fit’s contracts have included a multimillion pound order from Cunard for part of its Queen Mary 2 fit-out. Photograph: Eric Luke

Belfast Briefing: McCue Crafted Fit extended reach to British market and marine sector

Titanic Belfast, named  the world’s leading tourist attraction at the World Travel Awards. Photograph: iStock

Euro-friendly exchange rate and success of tourist attractions cited as reasons for boost

The Peace Bridge over the river Foyle  in Derry. Bemis plans to have 95 new jobs in place in the city  by 2021. Photograph: iStock

Bemis already employs 200 at Campsite Industrial Estate in the city

Simon Hamilton: The North’s Economy Minister said the labour market statistics contain “positive messages”. Photograph: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye/PA Wire

Joblessness in the UK overall fell to 1.6m, or 4.8%, despite potential worries over Brexit

 Businesses in areas such as Newry worry about how the UK’s post-Brexit plan will affect  their day-to-day operations.

Businesses fear impact of potential customs tariffs despite May’s reassurances

Led by Greg Maguire, Belfast-based Humain is hoping to impress potential investors and prospective clients with its dazzling abilities to create realistic 3D characters for virtual reality, mixed reality, film, television and games.

Diverse collection of companies in tech mission

CastleCourt, Belfast: shopper footfall grew by 4.6 per cent in the North last month. Photograph: Paul Faith/PA

PMI survey shows buoyant order books and strongest export figures for 12 years

A Routemaster bus passes the Houses of Parliament in Westminster on January 5th. Transport for London has confirmed it will discontinue purchases of the new  buses. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Belfast Briefing: Sadiq Khan has no plans to buy more Boris buses. So what next for the Wright Group?

United Airlines has operated its direct Belfast-Newark service since 2005.

UA to end flights from Belfast to Newark because of ‘poor financial performance’

Schivo currently employs 82 people in Derry.

Precision engineering company supplies parts to Bombardier Aerospace

Titanic Belfast was   crowned in December the world’s leading tourist attraction at the World Travel Awards in the Maldives. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

City council publishes new Belfast Agenda to set out its ‘bold ambitions’

The Bombardier Aerospace plant in Belfast: in 2016 the company brought forward a programme to axe 1,080 jobs in the North.

Jobs figures have been positive but uncertainty hangs over Bombardier

Goerge Best Belfast City Airport has been bought by venture capital group 3i. Photograph: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye

Financial details not released but price tag has been estimated at €117 million

Gareth Irvine: “I started mixing flavours in kilner jars in my kitchen.”

Belfast Briefing: Copeland Spirits, Jawbox and Boatyard are among the new names making specialist gins

The weakness of sterling has affected cross-border trade patterns already, according to EY. Photograph: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

GDP expected to grow 3.1% this year and 2.9% next as the North’s economy slows

 Bombardier reported net losses of $94 million last month for quarter three. Photograph: iStock

Canadian group is due to outline ‘progress’ of its turnaround plan and set scene for 2017

A rise in the number of cross-border shoppers is benefitting Northern Ireland’s retailers. Photograph: iStock

New figures show biggest increase in shopper numbers in more than two years

One example of co-operation is  EU-funded North West Regional Science Park, a partnership between the North West Cross-Border Group, Catalyst Inc and  Letterkenny Institute of Technology (above)

Councils in Donegal and Derry/Strabane join forces to promote region under one body

Harland and Wolff has diversified into the renewable energy sector. PA: Paul Faith

Northern Ireland is keen to build on its reputation in the renewable energy sector

Christies Direct has grown to become the third largest online pet grooming site in the world. Photograph: iStock

The economic future for Northern Ireland lies in the knowledge economy, which generated £5 billion in sales during 2016

The University of Ulster report found that the North has a high degree of economic resilience. Photograph: iStock

Strong consumer sentiment will help area avoid recession, says university report

The centre is being developed with the support of Ulster Bank. Photograph: iStock

Company to spend €9.9m developing 80-bed care centre for vulnerable adults in North

Philip Hammond: The British chancellor of the exchequer is following George Osborne’s playbook by increasing the level of  salary before income tax kicks in. Photograph: Reuters/Peter Nicholls

Depending on income, the grass isn’t always greener on the Republic side of the Border

Belfast docks. A new contract for Harland & Wolff  will secure 200 jobs. Photograph: Mark Winter/Corbis via Getty Images

East Belfast shipyard to build massive steel foundations for North Sea wind farm

British  chancellor of the exchequer  Philip Hammond, who delivered his autumn statement this week.  Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/AFP/Getty Images

Accountancy firm warns North needs greater tax differential with Britain to be successful

Northern Ireland  Minister for the Economy Simon Hamilton:  says every business in the North has a role in creating jobs.

Derry and Tyrone set to benefit economically, says Simon Hamilton

 Northern Ireland’s KE is export-intensive but  most of its sales are outside the EU, leaving it less exposed to a fallout from Brexit. Photograph:  iStock

NI has second fastest growing knowledge economy in the UK, says new report

According to PwC, Northern Ireland will be the slowest growing regional economy in the UK next year – with growth forecast at just 0.6 per cent. Ó Muilleoir has asked the UK chancellor for a “strong capital stimulus” in the Autumn Statement

With low growth predicted, Ó Muilleoir is hoping for initiatives rather than austerity

Hurree founder Aaron Gibson: intends using part of crowdfunded finance to strengthen sales and further develop the product.

Marketing automation app Hurree founder Aaron Gibson aims to raise £300,000

Dunbia’s Ballymena operation processes 7,800 pigs a week.

One of UK’s largest food processors buys Ballymena operation for estimated £10m

Tracy Meharg from Invest Northern Ireland with Paul McWilliams and Dr Martin Spollen, founders of Yedup. Photograph: Brian Thompson

Belfast mathematicians’ Yedup uses algorithms to find information on media streams

 Victoria Shopping Centre in Belfast. Despite the reduction in shoppers, the town centre vacancy rate in the North  fell to 14.5 per cent last month. Photograph: David Sleator

Report shows 5.3% decline in footfall last month despite lure of cross-border bargains

A JD Wetherspoon pub in Blackrock, Dublin, one of the five bars it operates in the Republic. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Family-run business plans to keep operating them as pubs, with no layoffs announced

Almac will also invest about £5 million in a new laboratory and office facility at its HQ in Craigavon,  Co Armagh

Pharmaceutical company’s major project to create more than 300 jobs in Pennsylvania

Northern Ireland Economy Minister Simon Hamilton (right) with co-founders Andrew Jordan and Gemma Godfrey.

Initiative by London-based technology firm expected to create 42 jobs

Angela McGowan: says when Northern businesses go down the export route they naturally turn to the Republic

Director of business body believes North is ‘more vulnerable’ to Brexit ramifications than other parts of UK

Business leaders in Belfast say United’s decision is a blow for the North and could not have come at a worse time.

United Airlines announces plan to axe Belfast to Newark route early next year

Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster addresses  the DUP annual conference on Saturday. As Foster knows only too well, trade with the EU is more important to the North’s economy than it may be for other UK regions. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Belfast Briefing: Facts appear to be at odds with Arlene Foster’s talk of ‘big opportunity’

The  JTI Gallaher site which has closed down  and is now being sought by local engineering group Wrights. Photograph:    Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

Engineering company says it is running out of space on current site after strong recent growth

Canadian aerospace group Bombardier is one of the biggest private-sector employers and plays a crucial role in the North’s economy. Photograph: Patrick Doyle/Bloomberg

Aerospace group speeds up ongoing redundancy programme

WiggleCRC said about 275 employees will be unaffected by its plans

Move comes as firm to relocate majority of its warehouse activities to Wolverhampton

Nine months ago the Canadian aerospace firm Bombardier confirmed that it intended to reduce its Northern Ireland workforce by 1,080 people between this year and next, as part of a “global downsizing” strategy.  Photograph: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker

Job losses at Bombardier and the uncertainty of Brexit are having a knock-on effect

Black Duck’s chief executive said Belfast has “a growing cluster of cybersecurity-focused businesses”. Photograph: iStock

Black Duck Software will create 58 positions at new security research facility

Cucco Retail Limited, which operated Exhibit, had 15 branches across the North and also two in the Republic – in Monaghan and Sligo towns

Cucco Retail traded as Exhibit but fell victim to trading conditions

One in five local firms have reported a drop in turnover because of the referendum result, while two in every five firms say costs have risen, particularly raw material costs for manufacturers

Chamber survey finds business confidence has slumped following referendum vote

Adele McIvor, of the Workspace Group, Stephen MacDonald, formerly of the Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment, and Brian Murray, chief executive of the Workspace Group

Small Sperrin Mountains village tackles unemployment with local investment

Business man James Leckey in the workshop of his factory in Lisburn which makes medical equipment and aids for  disabled children. Photograph: Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

Firefly and Leckey weld engineering with compassion for disabled people

Chef and restaurateur Tony O’Neill believes the strict licensing restrictions are hampering the restaurant trade. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker

Belfast Briefing: Sterling’s decline may provide boost for food tourism

Loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson who gave  explosive evidence to the Stormont inquiry last September. Photograph: PA

‘I am totally relaxed, totally chill-axed about this’ – Máirtín Ó Muilleoir tells Stormont committee

Paddy Graham of the UK’s Business Growth Fund and Brett Ross, managing director of RiverRidge Recycling.

RiverRidge in Co Derry will use £10m business growth funding to expand into Republic

Invent 2016 winners Mike Crowe and Philip McIntosh of Jumpack with Julie-Ann O’Hare of Bank of Ireland UK.

Foldable, wearable ‘Jumpack’ sports ramp takes £13,000 prize at Belfast event

The Outlet in Banbridge:  a “mid-premium outlet” which is not in the same market as Kildare Shopping Village in the Republic, but keen to emulate its success

The retail village has had mixed fortunes in its nine years but things look set to improve

The North’s Minister for the Economy Simon Hamilton has welcomed the jobs boost, and said he expects it will contribute about £3.3 million a year to the North’s economy. Photograph: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye/PA Wire

Software company to provide 94 jobs over three years at new technical and R&D centre

Michael O’Leary: he hinted Ryanair’s operations at the struggling City of Derry Airport were likely to be scaled back

Airline boss outlines new routes for Belfast but warns of Brexit damage

Derry airport has indicated it is in discussions with various airlines to replace the Ryanair services but it has in the past admitted that “low yield markets” can be a less than attractive proposition for the industry. Photograph: Getty Images

Loss of Ryanair routes raises concerns about its viability as a functioning airport

Danske stressed the uncertainty surrounding forecasts at the moment. Photograph: iStock

Danske reduces growth forecasts to 1 per cent for this year and 0.5 per cent for 2017

Ryanair was the key route-carrier for the loss-making City of Derry Airport. Photograph: iStock

Future of ‘key gateway to northwest’ threatened after Ryanair pulled services from city

 SDLP leader Colum Eastwood has written to police chiefs North and South and both justice ministers on the island to advocate his party’s proposals for a cross-border Project Eagle investigation.

Party plans to publish draft bill to amend Westminster legislation

Derry airport  confirmed it had been in discussions with Ryanair  and the airline had raised several “negative” issues, including sterling’s devaluation following the Brexit vote and the impact this had on the number of people travelling.  Photograph: Getty Images

Warning from union leaders as airline ends London and Portugal flights

The Bank of England officially launched its first polymer note – a £5 featuring Sir Winston Churchill – on Tuesday.

New waterproof note lasts 2.5 times longer than paper and features Winston Churchill

Spar franchise owner Henderson said turnover had been affected by the deflationary impact of the price of fuel. Photograph: Eric Luke

Group that owns Spar and Eurospar franchises had 0.7% dip in turnover

 British prime minister Theresa May:  expert says there are no guarantees that the UK and, for that matter, the North will enjoy unrestricted access to the single market after Brexit. Photograph: Hannah McKay/PA Wire

Belfast Briefing: Northern Ireland Economic Outlook shows sharply slowed growth even before Brexit

The manufacturing and retail sectors expanded last month in Northern Ireland.

Services and construction sectors report declines in new business

DUP First Minister Arlene Foster has rejected calls for a cross-Border inquiry into the £1.24 billion sale of Nama’s former Northern Ireland loans portfolio. File photograph: Niall Carson/PA

First Minister says joint investigation into Project Eagle deal ‘would not be appropriate’

See.Sense’s Dublin project is part of the part of the Smart Dublin initiative backed by the four Dublin local authorities and Enterprise Ireland. Photograph: Tim Ireland/PA Wire

Northern Ireland start-up to deploy tech to gather data on how cyclists fare in capital

A Wrightbus double decker  in operation in Singapore:  the company’s annual accounts for 2014 covered a 15-month period of trading. Photograph: PA

Outlook for group, which employs 1,200 people in North, ‘remains positive’

Montupet’s latest order is a welcome boost for the North’s struggling manufacturing sector

Dunmurry plant wins contract to manufacture a new cylinder head for car company

Caterpillar has said it is exploring the potential closure of its  Monkstown plant in Newtownabbey. Photograph: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press

Potential closure would be due to ‘challenging marketplace conditions’

The acquisition of Mind Click has been described as a “springboard” for Learning Pool

Derry-based Learning Pool provides online learning solutions to a wide range of companies

Although the number of millionaires in Northern Ireland has dropped from 14,000 to 13,000, GDP per capita  is growing at one of the fastest rates in the UK this year, at 11.3 per cent to £17,948, according to Barclays. Photograph: Lewis Stickley/PA Wire

UK Prosperity Map shows jump in average earnings and house prices in Northern Ireland

North’s Minister for Finance Máirtín Ó Muilleoir: when he first became Minister back in May he spoke of the “great responsibility” of the job and said it was “not a role I will take lightly”. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Minister for Finance under pressure to resign is due to visit Interface’s Lurgan plant

Belfast-based B-Secur has developed and patented technology to use the human heartbeat’s algorithm – which is unique in every living person – as a way to quickly and securely identify one person from the next. Photograph: Alex Stokes/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Belfast Briefing: Start-up B-Secur says its software will remove need for passwords and pins

Lakeland Dairies’ milk production line: the company is to switch Banbridge production to a “seasonal processing schedule” from next month

Schedules at Banbridge facility in Co Down to be altered from September

The North’s Economy Minister Simon Hamilton, who officially opened Dale Farm’s new cheese plant on Wednesday, said: “I am encouraged to see almost 7,000 fewer people on the unemployment register compared to one year ago.”

North’s Economy Minister says unemployment rate of 6% heading in right direction

From left: Ann McGregor (NI chamber), Brian Murphy (BDO), Maureen O’Reilly (NI chamber economist) and Christopher Morrow (NI chamber).

Survey shows growth, investment and recruitment plans are at risk

Feargal McCormack (second right) outside the new Balbriggan office which PKF-FPM bought from Francis J Woods & Company: pictured with Teresa Campbell, PKF-FPM staff director; Joe Woods; and Michael Farrell, PKF-FPM lead director for the new office

Newry accountant PKF-FPM has already opened offices in Republic and will continue

Bombardier Aerospace is to accelerate its ongoing redundancy programme in Northern Ireland and axe a further 95 jobs on top of a planned 630 redundancies this year

Job losses part of planned 1,080 redundancies in Belfast and 7,000 worldwide

Dean McCullough, managing director of family owned Kitchen Bakes, based in Portadown

Catering for local tastes – Cork likes coconut and Dublin goes for traybakes – brings rewards

Arc-net was established to develop a technology platform to protectively  mark, authenticate and trace meat products from farm to fork using the animal’s DNA. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Arc-net to create jobs in Belfast and Edinburgh via business accelerator programme

Competitiveness Scorecard measures North’s position across 150 indicators

Economists at Investec said the bigger than expected breadth of the package from the Bank of England – which cut interest rates for the first time in seven years –  proved effective in the  eyes of markets

As Bank of England cuts rates, economists warn currency will probably stay on soft side

Dr Esmond Birnie, PwC chief economist in Northern Ireland: “If the pound remains low that could boost price-sensitive sectors.”

Weak pound could also boost tourism, food-processing and cross-Border shopping

First Ministe Arlene Foster and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness with Tullett Prebon’s Luke Barnett. Tullett Prebon will receive more than £2 million from Invest NI and £400,000 from the Department for the Economy to support the investment project.

London headquartered interdealer broker is to develop a new technology centre in Belfast

Northern Ireland’s Minister for the Economy, Simon Hamilton, with Allstate NI managing director John Healy   and Allstate executive vice-president  Suren Gupta at the laying of the foundation stone for the company’s new Belfast headquarters. Photograph: PressEye/Andrew Paton

Northern Irish arm of US insurance group to build 13,000sq m riverside facility

David Gavaghan, Northern Ireland chairman of the Confederation of British Industry: “Many businesses in Northern Ireland are asking what Brexit means for them and critically what to do now.”

Northern Ireland business leaders worried over changes to tax, currency and trade costs

Aston Martin showoom in Belfast

5,938 new cars were sold in the North last month, compared to 6,057 in June last year

Cigarette maker JTI Gallaher announced last year that it is to shut its factory in County Antrim with the loss of around 800 jobs. Photograph: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

JTI’s Gallaher tobacco plant in the town will close by end of May 2017 with loss of up to 800 jobs

Economic growth in Northern Ireland is likely to fall to 0.2 per cent next year according to Price Waterhouse Coopers.  Photograph: Pacemaker

Economic growth of 0.2% forecast for Northern Ireland next year, according to PwC

Francis Martin is the first person from  Northern Ireland to be appointed president of an organisation which has been representing businesses in Northern Ireland along with the rest of the United Kingdom for more than 156 years.

Francis Martin believes he will give UK and Northern Irish businesses the voice they need

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