Northern Ireland Aims to Become a Global Software Powerhouse with Ambitious ‘50 and Five by 35’ Strategy

Belfast, Thursday 13 June - Software NI, the trade body representing the software industry in Northern Ireland, today announced its bold new vision to position Northern Ireland as a global centre of software excellence. The organisation's ‘50 and Five by 35’ strategy aims to grow the local software sector to 50,000 jobs and £5 billion in gross value added (GVA) by the year 2035.

Focus areas under the strategy include the sector receiving specific attention in public policy developments across departments, closer alignment of education and industry through the co-creation of relevant programmes and supporting companies that are starting, scaling and growing to develop high-value sales and employment opportunities. With game-changing technologies like generative AI evolving at pace, the ambitious targets position Northern Ireland's software companies at the forefront of global opportunities.

The growth targets were unveiled alongside Software NI's new Chair team. This followed expressions of interest from within the Board who represent the broad range of member companies. Mark McCormack, VP and Managing Director for Aflac Northern Ireland, has been appointed as Chair, while Lorna McAdoo, Group Director Environment, Social & Governance and Version 1 NI Lead, will serve as Vice Chair. Tom Gray, Group CTO and Director of Innovation at Kainos, completes the team as co-Vice Chair alongside David Crozier, CEO of Software NI.

"The software industry is a vital driver of economic prosperity and innovation in Northern Ireland," said Mark McCormack, incoming Chair of Software NI. "Our ‘50 and Five by 35’ strategy lays out a bold and achievable vision backed by a three-point advocacy manifesto. We look forward to partnering constructively with policymakers and stakeholders to prioritise the software sector through focused policies, education initiatives, and business support that will raise Northern Ireland's profile as a true centre of software excellence."

"Northern Ireland's software capabilities span areas like financial technology, cybersecurity, regulatory tech and sustainable solutions - but we need better support to unlock our full potential in cutting-edge fields like generative AI," said David Crozier CBE, CEO of Software NI. "The ‘50 and Five by 35’ strategy provides a roadmap for developing the policies, talent capable of solving hard problems, and ecosystem to be an undisputed global software hub leading innovations like generative AI."

"As a leader in ESG, I know Northern Ireland is well positioned to be a global centre for developing ethical and environmentally sustainable software solutions," said Lorna McAdoo, incoming Vice Chair. "The ‘50 and Five by 35’ strategy will drive software enabled transformation while prioritising responsible and ethical development aligning with ESG principles."

To realise this vision, Software NI's three-point advocacy manifesto calls for:

  1. The software industry to receive dedicated focus across all relevant economic policies through a cross-departmental forum involving government stakeholders.
  2. Closer cooperation between education and industry to co-create software workforce development programmes from an early age.
  3. Robust investment and entrepreneurial support to drive growth for software companies starting, scaling or investing in Northern Ireland.

Software NI will work closely with government, industry and educators to implement its advocacy priorities. The organisation has committed to holding stakeholders accountable through consistent engagement, public transparency on progress, and a solutions-oriented approach.

With a focused strategy and strengthened Chair team, Software NI is well positioned to raise the software sector's contribution to the Northern Irish economy and elevate the region's reputation worldwide.

Software NI’s new Chair team of Vice Chairs Lorna McAdoo and Tom Gray, CEO David Crozier CBE and Chair Mark McCormack
Software NI’s new Chair team of Vice Chairs Lorna McAdoo and Tom Gray, CEO David Crozier CBE and Chair Mark McCormack