Posted on: 15th September 2023
Reading time: 14 mins
Many tech startups are discovering the benefits of a Belfast office space. The city has a rich industrial history, though it’s now on track to becoming a tech giant in Europe.
Belfast is one of the UK’s fastest-growing cities to work in tech. In 2022, 23% of jobs advertised across Northern Ireland were digital tech roles. That’s the highest percentage in the UK.
Belfast provides over 25% of Northern Ireland's tech jobs, offering 15,000 of these roles in 2022 alone. The number of tech roles in Belfast has increased since 2018 when the city only provided 10% in Northern Ireland.
It’s for these reasons, and many more, that make office space in Belfast valuable for tech companies, especially for startups. We explore more of Belfast’s tech startup landscape, as well as the benefits office space presents to businesses, below.
In the Levelling Up Power Tech League 2021, Belfast ranked 10th, joining cities like Cambridge, Birmingham, and Oxford. Belfast achieved high scores for venture capital funding, job opportunities, and tech companies.
Belfast is the leading region for global fintech investment. The city centre is also Europe’s number-one foreign direct investment destination for new software development.
As one of the fastest-growing tech sectors in the UK, Northern Ireland has attracted many global leaders in the industry. Major players like Microsoft, Nvidia, and IBM have established operations in Belfast.
Northern Ireland is also the top international investment location for U.S. cybersecurity companies.
Large businesses aren’t the only ones doing well in the region, as startups are also thriving in Belfast. Some of the top tech startups to come out of the city in recent years include the desktop app creator Sidequest, chatbot builder Continually, and open source low-code platform Budibase.
Belfast’s tech economy is likely to see serious growth. In 2021, the city came eleventh in a Financial Times fDi Intelligence poll of the Top 25 Tech Cities of the Future.
What’s more, venture capital funding in Northern Ireland has tripled over the last three years. 2022 was a record year for business investment in Northern Ireland, with £139 million coming from venture capital. More than two-thirds of that funding came from investors outside the country.
Given this, it’s a great time for tech startups to secure Belfast office space and put down roots in the city.
Belfast offers many advantages for businesses, from flexible, private office options to funding opportunities. Here are five reasons choosing to rent offices in Belfast could help your tech startup flourish.
Belfast is steadily developing thanks to major investments going into the area.
The Belfast Region City Deal will see £1 billion transform the capital over the next 10 years. This deal will deliver more than 20 ambitious projects and create up to 20,000 new jobs.
The deal also includes a new £58 million technology and innovation hub called the Global Innovation Institute (GII). When finished, the GII will be a nexus for data innovation, for local and global companies alike.
Northern Ireland is also injecting millions into renewable energy programmes. By investing in green technology, Belfast is committing to a low-carbon future, appealing to tech startups with a sustainable focus.
Belfast has become a popular base for tech companies of all sizes. Technology leaders like Fujitsu have made the city their home.
Meanwhile, Belfast-based startups with top-tier venture capital funding feature heart-health firm B-Secur and IT specialists Nimbus among their ranks.
Belfast is also home to other flourishing industries, such as life and health sciences, financial services, and the arts. Various high-profile TV shows like Line of Duty have been filmed in Northern Ireland’s capital too.
Choosing an office space in Belfast can open up collaboration opportunities in any industry. There will also be many networking opportunities available at the soon-to-be-completed GII.
Plus, Belfast has good international connections for business travel. By plane, London is an hour away, and major European cities like Amsterdam and Prague are less than three hours away.
Offices to rent in Belfast, such as those that will be discussed below, are ideal for networking. They’re especially exceptional if they feature a business lounge and break-out areas that naturally allow socialising and collaboration.
Alternatively, a virtual Belfast office space can help establish a tech startup’s presence in the city, without having to physically relocate there. However, these office spaces still allow startups to spend time within the offices.
This makes them excellent choices for both building professional credibility and access to meeting rooms and desk space.
Belfast boasts a wealth of local talent that you could harness for your tech startup.
With two prestigious universities, the city has the highest level of degree completion in the UK. Overall, Northern Ireland has more than 4,000 graduates in business and technology, including over 1,100 postgraduates.
In particular, Queen’s University Belfast is a leading institute of learning for tech talent. The university’s Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) is a global flagship hub for cybersecurity.
Many graduates study cutting-edge AI technologies at local universities. Both Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University are taking part in global AI research.
While Belfast is a great city to grow your tech startup, it’s also a great place to live.
One of the chief reasons for this is Belfast’s low cost of living. The city’s affordable house prices, rent, food, and entertainment make it ideal for those looking to keep costs low.
Collier’s Top UK Residential Investment Cities Report 2021 has ranked Belfast first in the property pillar. An average flat or maisonette in Belfast costs well below the UK average.
The same report also ranked Belfast third in the liveability pillar. The city received top scores for life satisfaction, leisure facilities, and the number of schools. This could be why many are choosing to settle down with their families in the capital.
With its vibrant culture and shorter-than-average commutes, Belfast offers a healthy work/life balance.
When choosing a Belfast office space for your tech startup, you’ll want to consider location. The city centre is proving a popular area for office space to rent in Belfast. Many global tech brands have offices here.
Position your business in the prominent location of Belfast's Cathedral Quarter at Arnott House.
The district was once the historic merchant quarter. Now, it’s a buzzing cultural and business hub. Lively restaurants, bars, and theatres fill the surrounding cobbled lanes.
Arnott House has stylish décor, with tasteful grey and white workspaces adorned with splashes of colour.
Lincoln Building is close to Belfast’s dynamic business hub, as well as an array of great pubs and restaurants – perfect for hosting clients.
Spanning several floors, Lincoln Building offers flexible, stylish workspaces. This office space in Belfast has several amenities to enhance your productivity, including break-out areas.
Soak up the energy of Belfast life with contemporary office space in Forsyth House.
This Belfast office space has a central location and offers access to some of Northern Ireland's best businesses. It also features easy access to Belfast City Airport.
Floor-to-ceiling windows flood Forsyth House with natural light. The business hub provides a range of on-site amenities.
Launch your tech startup at Great Victoria Street, a sought-after, central Belfast office space. Surround yourself with thriving companies and entertain clients at nearby restaurants.
This location’s private meeting rooms will help you stay productive. Its collaborative break-out areas are ideal for fostering creativity, as well.
Regus can help you find the perfect-fit office space for your business. These office space solutions can help you scale as your business grows in Northern Ireland.
Want to know more about how we can help with hybrid working? Give us a call.
We’ll get you set up straight away.