Research output: Other contribution


Although they rarely capture the headlines, Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the Northern Ireland economy. We typically define SMEs as businesses with no more than 250 employees and this report takes a closer look at our SME sector and in particular those that are locally owned. These businesses make up over 99% of the total number of businesses in the local economy, a proportion very similar to all other regions in the UK. Furthermore, the entrepreneurial spirit appears to be alive and well in Northern Ireland, as we have more businesses per head of population than Wales, Scotland and all regions across the North of England. As a predominantly rural based economy, it is unsurprising that the agriculture sector and the farming community in particular, is responsible for a quarter of all businesses registered here. But it is not the only sector which ‘punches above its weight’, both the manufacturing and construction sectors also have higher numbers of businesses, on a per capita basis, relative to other parts of the UK. These broader economic trends are also reflected in the new Harbinson Mullholland Top 50 locally owned SMEs. Almost three quarters of all the firms on the list operate in just three sectors – manufacturing, construction and wholesale/ retail. The top 50 firms earned just over £100 million in operating profit in their last reporting year on turnover of £1.6 billion and paid out almost £170 million in wages and salaries in the same period. This further underlines the vibrancy of this group of companies and the spending power they give to their local communities in which they are based through the employment they provide.
Original languageEnglish
TypeHome Grown Top 50 SMEs
Media of outputReport and Online
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Sept 2019


Dive into the research topics of 'HM HOMEGROWN 2019: HM HOMEGROWN 2019'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this