Two enterprise zones were established in Belfast and Londonderry in the 1980s as a possible solution to economic decline.
However, an evaluation of enterprise zones in 1987 concluded that they were only a partial success, resulting in some cases in displacement of economic activity from one area to another without necessarily increasing economic activity. It was therefore decided by the UK Government that enterprise zones should be created or extended only in exceptional circumstances and there are no plans to revive them.
It is the role of Invest NI to increase the wealth and prosperity of Northern Ireland by delivering expertise and resources to accelerate the creation and growth of businesses. Through this portfolio, known as Business Development Solutions, the agency focuses on businesses from the manufacturing or international tradeable services sectors that have the commitment and capability to grow in export markets.
Support is provided through six core areas; namely, strategic development, people development, technology and process development, export focus, research and development, and technical and sustainable development.