Belfast's cyber cluster is attracting international attention

  • US trade official Brian Castleberry stated that “Belfast’s cyber cluster” is attracting international attention due to its “large talent pool, affordable cost of living and respected research institutions”.

    The VP of International Investment and Trade at the Maryland Department of Commerce, was in Belfast to build cyber relationships between the NI capital and his home city of Baltimore.

    He was hosted by Belfast Trade and investment specialists OCO Global, meeting companies that are seeking to invest and grow their footprint within the cyber industry.

    Brian and Maryland State have been working with OCO across targeted trade and investment areas to foster partnerships between the two regions.  Last month the Department of Commerce in Maryland and the Department for the Economy (DfE) in Northern Ireland signed a Memorandum of Understanding to build economic collaboration in the tech and cyber sectors.

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    Speaking at a recent cyber tech event, Brian said that "Belfast represents a substantial growth and investment opportunity for international companies in a global trade environment that is moving increasingly towards city to city trade links”.

    In recent years, there has been a targeted focus from business to grow investment within second tier cities, which reside outside a nation’s capital but produce a significant contribution to the national economy.

    A recent report by employment website Monster ranked Belfast as one of the best cities to develop a digital career outside of London. Reflecting this, the DfE has targeted 5,000 cyber security professional working in the city by 2030.

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    CEO of OCO Global Mark O’Connell said that Belfast’s “cyber-cluster shares almost identical characteristics to Baltimore in relation to their tech offering and because of this, it proved a natural fit in creating a new trade relationship between the two cities.

    “OCO has also worked with Invest NI since 2003, supporting their trade programmes and missions. With this insight and experience we are perfectly positioned to accelerate and facilitate the relationship between the two cities which will help to further drive innovation and investment in the NI economy."

    During his trip to Belfast, Brian is also meeting with Invest NI and Enterprise Ireland.

    About the author

    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

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