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Belfast: Smart City

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Belfast’s young, dynamic population translates into a thriving business community with a determination to succeed.

A city with innovation at its heart, technological advances infiltrate every sector helping to build our competitiveness on the global stage.

  • Belfast is ranked in the top 10 cities in the UK to develop a digital career (Monster’s Digital Cities, 2019)
  • Belfast in the world’s top 10 Digital Economies of the Future - the only UK city outside London to be listed (Financial Times’ fDi Intelligence, 2018)
  • Belfast is ranked in the top 10 fastest growing tech cities in the UK (UK Digital Economy Council, 2021)

Read about 8 awesome companies affiliated with Queen's.

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This is a place where innovators and entrepreneurs can find the support network and urban workspaces they need to nurture success.

Belfast has a community powerful enough to change the world. The city is a hub for start-ups, freelancers and creatives and a hotbed of entrepreneurial talent with a booming tech culture.

Innovation City: The Entrepreneurial Spirit of Queen’s Students and Graduates

Meet 15 Queen's students slaying the Belfast start-up scene.

Discover why it's time to get excited about Queen's Knowledge Transfer Partnership.

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Innovation is transforming Northern Ireland into one of Europe’s most entrepreneurial economies.

Belfast has become a home for global multinationals and a magnet for foreign investors.

  • Queen’s is ranked 2nd in the UK for entrepreneurial impact (Octopus Ventures, 2022)
  • 3500 people are employed in 42 active spin out companies (Queen’s Research and Enterprise, 2023)

Blog: How I started my business while studying

Blog: How SU Enterprise Helped Me Start My Business

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Queen’s alumni are leading three of the top ten companies in Northern Ireland.

The fact that Queen’s alumni are in these leading roles-  including Sara Venning from NI Water, Michael Ryan from Bombardier and Graeme Thompson from Schrader – is an indication of the scope of opportunity available here.

See our Student Guide for 5 reasons why Belfast is the perfect city to make your way in the world.

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The second most successful city in the UK (after London) for attracting US trade.

There are almost 900 international companies located in Northern Ireland, making Belfast the second most successful city in the UK (after London) for attracting US trade.

Belfast is also one of Europe’s top 10 small cities for Foreign Direct Investment strategy (Financial Times, FDI European Cities of the Future, 2018).

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With infosec rapidly expanding in the city, Belfast is set to be a global innovation hub for cybersecurity.

There are more than 5,000 jobs on the horizon for cybersecurity in Belfast.  Nowhere is this more evident than at Catalyst Inc, the city’s next-gen science park. By 2025, the information and communication sector is expected to explode by 63% creating over 13,000 new jobs, while a further 16,000 will be created in the science and tech field.

Queen's is also the home of ECIT - The Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology.

ECIT, launched in 2004, is a unique research and innovation campus home to almost 200 people, including academics, students, engineers and business development staff.

They work closely with world-leading companies and entrepreneurs, taking a business focussed and entrepreneurial approach to research.

ECIT is also host to the award-winning UK national Innovation & Knowledge Centre for cyber security, The Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT).

ECIT also houses The Centre for Wireless Innovation which is redefining wireless communication and sensing systems and The Centre for Data Science and Scalable Computing which is addressing the challenges relevant to the big data phenomenon.

Read Stuart's blogs about his experiences of doing a Phd in Cyber Security at ECIT:

Read more about Inside Belfast's Silicon Valley: Catalyst Inc Science Park

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Young high potential companies are booming in the city.

The prevalence of venture capitalists, business angels and private investors mean that young high potential companies are booming in the city.

Northern Ireland has the highest proportion of start-ups reaching £1 million in revenue within three years (Enterprise Research Council, 2016).

See our Student guide for more on cool workspaces and meet-ups in Belfast where you can get creative.

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