Posted on Wednesday 16 January 2013 by Ulster Business


Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster is pictured with Michelle Kerr, President of Oxford Consulting Group and Alastair Hamilton, Chief Executive, Invest NI after announcing the US company's investment plans in Belfast.

There was some good news on the jobs front today as American IT company Oxford Consulting Group (OCG) announced plans to establish a 33 person development centre in Belfast.

The Belfast office will be the first operation outside of the US for OCG, a technology consulting firm specialising in services and solutions for supply chain management, business to business integration, and IT staffing.

Invest NI has offered £330,000 of assistance to attract the Ohio-based company, which was established in 1998 and employs almost 200 professionals.

Michelle Kerr, Founder, Chairwoman and President of Oxford Consulting Group, said: "We were very impressed with the quality of Northern Ireland's offering and with the support made available to us by Invest NI. The Belfast operation will play a key role in supporting our projected growth, which will see us double revenue by 2015."

The IT industry has been a major success story for Invest NI through the recession with several high profile companies either setting up in Northern Ireland for the first time or expanding existing operations, including CME Group, NYSE, CITI, and Liberty IT.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster attributed the arrival of Oxford Consulting to a combination of factors, not least the availability of talented IT staff in Northern Ireland, cost competitive environment and technically advanced infrastructure.

"These new high quality jobs will pay salaries more than double the private sector average and will contribute around £1.4m a year to the economy. Investments like this demonstrate that despite the challenging global economic climate, businesses that can offer high quality services focused on customer needs will continue to grow," she said.

The announcement is a welcome boost in the face of growing concerns that rioting linked to Belfast City Council's decision to fly the Union Flag only on designated days, will discourage investment in Northern Ireland.

Sources at Invest NI told Ulster Business that the ongoing protests and associated violence are unlikely to have much impact on projects that are currently in progress, but could make it harder to attract new prospects.

"Northern Ireland is a look and see destination for many companies. Once we get them here we can sell the benefits to them, but if you can't get them here in the first place it is impossible to do that. A solution that brings the rioting to an end must be found sooner rather than later," said one senior executive.



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