Invest Northern Ireland has helped local companies to secure almost £2 million of new business in Germany over the past 12 months.
The businesses accessed advice and lead generation from Invest NI’s office in Düsseldorf, which has been operating as a trade development centre for the German and wider European markets since July 2007. Products being sold by Northern Ireland firms in Germany range from sophisticated aerospace components to garden sheds and ankle wraps for golfers.
In addition to this success, Northern Ireland firms have used Germany as a springboard into other European markets including France, Switzerland and Spain. The construction sector has also benefitted, with a number of local firms using Invest NI’s in-market support to help identify suitable partners, research local regulations and access language support in locations as varied as Bremen, Frankfurt, Liege, Paris and Madrid.
Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI Trade Director, said: “Our companies are increasingly looking towards Germany as a market offering opportunities across a very broad range of business sectors. Local firms are showing that they can compete and win in a marketplace long regarded as among the world’s most competitive and quality conscious.
“The exporting prowess of Germany is well known. Until very recently, when it was overtaken by China, Germany was for many years the world’s leading exporter. This might lead some to think that Germany has everything it needs but this is not the case.
“The country has a strong appetite for quality, niche goods produced outside its borders. Germany is the number one destination for goods and services, not only from its immediate EU neighbours but also from Spain and the UK.”
Among the companies now doing significant business in Germany is Londonderry-based Maydown Precision Engineering.
Sean Phelan, Managing Director of Maydown said: “We were overwhelmed with both the scale and complexity of the German and wider European aerospace sector.
“With Invest NI’s help and support we were able make sense of the opportunity and ultimately win orders in Germany, Belgium, Finland and Spain. We have been able to build on this and have recently secured our second order from CESA in Spain.”
Yardmaster, a garden shed manufacturer from Draperstown has also experienced success in Germany. Keith Kyle, Yardmaster’s Export Sales Manager, said: “The support we received from Invest NI in Düsseldorf was invaluable. It helped us to achieve a major breakthrough deal with Hellwig, the DIY chain, which was critical to our development in the German market.”