Disability Needs aims for Saudi business

Aug 25, 2009

Disability Needs, the Belfast specialist in products for disability, is aiming to build business in Saudi Arabia with help from Invest Northern Ireland.

Following an Invest NI trade mission to the key Saudi business centres of Riyadh and Jeddah, the company, a market leader in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, has formed a partnership with a local medical equipment company.

Disability Needs has linked up with recently established HDC, a specialist healthcare business with offices in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Lebanon.  

The Belfast company was helped to identify HDC as the most suitable partner following extensive market research by the Invest NI team at the Northern Ireland Technology and Development Centre in Dubai, which assists companies to do business in Saudi Arabia and other Middle East countries.

Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI’s Trade Director, welcoming the initiative shown by Disability Needs in Saudi Arabia, said: “This company has clearly pinpointed a significant market opportunity there and is seeking to convert this into worthwhile sales by means of a carefully structured approach. It has used our expertise particularly in Dubai to gain a broad understanding of the markets, its business procedures and to set up a sales channel through a partnership with a local business that knows the region and has a network of contacts in the sectors likely to need its products and services.

“As well as our programme of market visits, Disability Needs has also successfully used other Invest NI services such as market research and lead generation. NITDC in Dubai has a wealth of information about markets and business procedures across the Middle East particularly in Saudi Arabia, the region’s biggest, most affluent and probably the most challenging market.  It continues to be a vibrant market and one of the most sophisticated in terms of health services.”

John Spottiswoode, Managing Director of Disability Needs, said: “We’ve been looking at building sales abroad for the products we manufacture and those we distribute for other manufacturers such as Comfort Seating.

“Since the construction industry is one of our target industries, we were attracted to Saudi Arabia by the connection that Invest NI has developed with the Bin Laden Construction Group. This interest led us to join the mission to Saudi earlier this year in what was essentially market research.

“Invest NI weighed in with meetings with Bin Laden buyers and also with an extensive list of potential partners to help us sell our products to contractors and health operations including major hospitals there.

“We subsequently interviewed all the potential partners and opted for HDC because it is a recently established business that has a wealth of experience, good contacts and is hungry for success. They’ve since been over to meet us in Belfast and have impressed us with their commitment and professionalism.

“Invest NI trade missions enabled us to build up quite a profile of the state of the market there for the type of products in which we specialise. Equipment there is not as sophisticated as available here in hospitals, care homes and in use by individuals in their own homes. We have tendered for business there and will be organising a series of clinics with HDC in the key centres,” he added.

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