An Invest Northern Ireland trade mission to India has yielded a major 158-job investment for Belfast. Chennai-based Polaris Software Lab will create the jobs over the next three years.
Polaris will establish a banking and financial application certification centre in Belfast. Targeting the banking and financial services sector, the centre will be backed by financial assistance from Invest NI.
“This is a landmark investment,” commented Northern Ireland Secretary of State Peter Hain MP. “It is exactly the type of investment we need to signal a transformation of Northern Ireland’s economy down the knowledge-based route.
“This is the first greenfield software investment by an Indian technology company on the island of Ireland. It sends the strongest possible signal to other Indian technology companies seeking a location from which to access the huge European market that Northern Ireland offers the best possible solution.
“They decided to invest in Belfast primarily because of the availability of a highly educated labour pool. This investment will substantially enhance Northern Ireland’s reputation as a European software centre of excellence and its developing position in the global financial services industry,” Hain added.
The Polaris investment in Belfast will involve three phases. The first phase will create a Centre of Excellence providing independent quality assurance testing for software written for customers by other suppliers. The second phase will involve software development activities while the third phase will focus on the provision of round-the-clock technical support for clients in Europe.
At the end of the third phase Belfast will be a fully fledged near-shore software development centre and Mercury-certified Centre of Excellence for Software Testing.
Bikash Mathur, executive vice-president and business head of Polaris Europe, said: “Belfast proves to be an ideal choice as in addition to location advantage and significant cost benefit it will serve as a near-shore centre and first choice of destination for meeting the exacting requirements of European Banks.
“Another compelling reason for choosing Belfast for our operations is the academia here. IT and software development being the key focus of the universities in Northern Ireland, the Belfast centre of software testing will chisel the local talent into experts, providing our existing and potential customers in Europe specialised software testing services with faster response time and higher level of services,” Mathur said.
By John Kennedy