Belfast business support

Advantages of doing business in Belfast


Belfast is an ideal location for setting up your business. Whether you are facing the challenge of starting up, or locating an existing business in the city.

Local infrastructure

The strong transport links offered by Belfast are a major advantage for new or growing businesses.

Belfast has a well-developed road network and is at the centre of the motorway backbone of Northern Ireland. The M1/A1 links Belfast and Dublin with a typical journey time of approximately two hours between the capital cities.

Belfast International Airport is situated within the council area. The motorway and rail network also provides fast and reliable access to major ports at Belfast, Larne and Dublin.

The council area is within an hour’s overland travel into the European Union - find out more about cross-border trade support with InterTradeIreland.

Local workforce and business supply chains

There are around 342,560 residents in Belfast.

There are 11,300 businesses operating in Belfast, which is 15% of all businesses in Northern Ireland. The majority of the base is micro and small businesses:

  • 80% micro (0-9 employees)
  • 14% small (10-49 employees)
  • 4% medium (50-249 employees)
  • 1% large (250+ employees)

Some major business investors in the council area include. Services businesses make up the largest sector in Belfast:

  • 0.4% agriculture
  • 5% manufacturing
  • 8% construction
  • 87% services

For further information, download an Invest NI council briefing on Belfast (PDF, 3.59MB).