FG Wilson of Larne has been chosen as the Invest Northern Ireland Exporter of the Year, Prof Fabian Monds, Invest NI chairman, announced last night. FG Wilson gained the award for achieving a 13 per cent increase in exports to £338 million in the period 2000-2003.
Prof Monds presented the Northern Ireland Exporter of the Year to FG Wilson at a gala awards dinner organised by Invest NI and attended by over 250 executives from local companies.
Speaking at the event, Prof Monds said: “Growth in trade is the very best measure of economic success and of the strength of the business community’s commitment in crucially important areas such as innovation.
“Invest NI recognises that the long-term competitiveness of our businesses, both manufacturing and services, is crucial. We are committed to helping business here succeed and to grow profitably. Profitable businesses create wealth for Northern Ireland, wealth for all our people, for families and for local communities across the region.
“The challenge we face is to create many more high value added and entrepreneurial businesses that use the skills of Northern Ireland's workers. To thrive, our industries need to invest in innovation and become more enterprising and, perhaps above all, to engage much more extensively in global markets.
“To win, even to survive, in today’s fiercely competitive markets, from the Republic of Ireland to China, we've all got to raise our game. We need to see many more companies following the trail blazed by the businesses being honoured tonight.
“Invest NI provides a comprehensive programme of trade events that companies can use to expand business overseas. We want to encourage and assist many more smaller companies to explore the opportunities to grow their business by investing in trade,” he added.
Prof Monds said Invest NI had recently launched a new Passport to EXPORT programme that is designed to help many more companies win first time export business and to assist experienced exporters to increase sales outside Northern Ireland. Around 100 companies were assisted to explore exports for the first time in the 12 months to the end of March 2004. Invest NI trade activities, such as trade missions and exhibitions, also attracted over 1,500 participants.
“In this immensely challenging global economy, success will depend increasingly on the ability to apply higher levels of knowledge and skills, new processes and different ways of working to create the quality and value for money products and services that customers want.
“This is the way to many more successful and genuinely worldclass companies; to greater prosperity; and better quality jobs for Northern Ireland.
“My message to Northern Ireland companies is to take up the opportunities that Invest NI provides to build better profits and increase their competitiveness by following the example of tonight’s winners by investing in trade,” he added.