Innovation Underpins Enterprise Awards

Oct 19, 2004

Internationally focused innovation links the five Northern Ireland manufacturing companies which have won the Queen's Awards for Enterprise, Barry Gardiner MP, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, said today.
21/4/2004

Internationally focused innovation links the five Northern Ireland manufacturing companies which have won the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise, Barry Gardiner MP, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, said today.

Mr Gardiner welcomed the awards announced for Andor Technology, Belfast, in the Innovation category, and the McAvoy Group, Dungannon; Nicobrand, Coleraine; Tobermore Concrete, Maghera; and UPU Industries, Dromore, all in the Export section.

Mr Gardiner said: “It’s immensely encouraging that five Northern Ireland companies, all manufacturers, have been recognised for their achievements in the global marketplace, over the past three years. These awards, one of the biggest Northern Ireland representations for many years, show that manufacturing is continuing to help drive the economy forward.

“I am also impressed by the very broad range of business sectors of the award winners, covering scientific instruments; fast-track construction; building products; chemicals; and farming supplies.

“While Andor Technology, a Queen’s University spin-out company, gained the innovation award for the world’s most sensitive camera for industrial applications by customers in 40 countries, the other winners are also reaping the benefits from investing in innovation in terms of research and development (R&D) and new product development” he added.

“Andor Technology is an excellent example of a Northern Ireland-owned company that is prospering through R&D, investing 15 per cent of turnover annually in new product development and achieving year-on-year growth of around 25 per cent over the past three years.”

Mr Gardiner said the McAvoy Group had grown its export business in the Republic of Ireland, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and West Africa by offering innovative fast-track building solutions and was currently developing a state-of-the-art factory with Queen’s University using digital technology for the manufacture of complex modular buildings.

Nicobrand, a company now owned by Watson Pharmaceuticals of California, had achieved international success for pioneering pharmaceutical grade nicotine used in products, such as gum and tablets, to help smokers break their addiction.

UPU Industries had also worked closely with Queen’s University on new product development and had achieved global recognition as the most technologically advanced manufacturer of netwrapping for farmers in over 20 countries.

Tobermore Concrete had achieved outstanding growth in the Irish Republic for a unique range of paving products.

Many of the award winning companies, he added, had also been assisted by Invest NI trade, R&D and expansion programmes.

Mr Gardiner concluded: “Innovation and the development and commercialisation of new ideas are absolutely essential if Northern Ireland is to deliver many more successful and profitable businesses, providing better products and services for consumers and creating high quality and sustainable jobs.”


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