Belfast Mayor: Tech sector will play key role in city's recovery post-lockdown

  • Belfast’s Lord Mayor Alderman Frank McCoubrey said the city’s tech sector has shown true resilience during the Covid-19 pandemic and will have a key role in Belfast’s ongoing recovery.

    He added: “Recent conversations with leading tech companies including AllState, Citi, Datactics and FinTrU have revealed their incredible resilience and ingenuity in the last few extremely challenging months of lockdown. They’ve flourished in a difficult period.

    “All of us have become more dependent on technology recently – to work from home, keep in touch with loved ones or even just to do our food shopping – so it’s become more widely evident that tech has a central and evolving role to play in our lives.

    “Belfast has already proved itself the number one destination of choice for fintech investment thanks to our ready supply of talent, our connectivity and competitiveness in terms of operating costs.

    “As we work towards economic recovery, we’re focused on becoming global leaders in digital innovation, with investment from the Belfast Region City Deal and through the implementation of our Smart City strategy.

    “Realising that ambition will require genuine engagement and collaboration with the tech sector – as well as knowledge sharing between businesses, education and the public sector.  So I’m delighted that we can draw upon the expertise of our recently appointed Digital Innovation Commissioner, Jayne Brady in that regard.

    “There’s a real appetite evident amongst our talented tech leaders and innovators – and they’re keen to start those conversations at events like BelTech later this month.”

    BelTech will go virtual for the first time next week and is free to attend

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    While many sectors have struggled during lockdown, various tech firms have continued to grow, such as Datactics which has increased its staff numbers by 15% since March and FinTrU, which welcomed 75 new colleagues in the past two months, including two virtually delivered FinTrU Financial Services Academies in Belfast and the North West. 

    Jayne Brady, the new Belfast Digital Innovation Commissioner added: “It has been heartening to see the role that digital innovation has played in ameliorating the impact of Covid-19 both from an economic and a societal perspective. Our fintech companies have in particular demonstrated Belfast’s ability to rise to the challenge and lead globally. Development of this sector will be a critical building block in underpinning our recovery programme.” 

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    John Healy OBE, vice president and managing director of Allstate NI commented: “All of our employees have been working from home since mid-March and it is a testament to the great team we have here that we have continued to successfully deliver technology solutions to our parent company in the US throughout this time.

    “There has been tremendous work across all areas of the company to maintain ‘business-as-usual’; from delivering strategic projects to moving our comprehensive learning and development programme online.  

    “Digital innovation plays its part in this new world of work and has enabled us to maintain productivity in a virtual environment, but it is our employees who have excelled, they have shown leadership, resilience and creativity to adapt to this new normal and move the economy towards recovery.”

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    BelTech 2020, Monday 22 June - Thursday 25 June, organised by Kainos and Aisling Events and supported by Belfast City Council, is free to attend this year, but delegates must register at 

    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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