Kitchenmaster NI, the Carryduff-based manufacturer of commercial cleaning and hygiene products, has been assisted by Invest Northern Ireland to secure its first business in the Netherlands.
The company, which employs 15 people, is now supplying a range of products to two distributors in Tiel and Zoetermeer in deals which could be worth around £50,000. The new export business was signed last month following Kitchenmaster’s participation in an Invest NI trade development programme in the Netherlands in October.
Kitchenmaster also supplies hygiene products to customers throughout Northern Ireland, Great Britain, the Republic of Ireland and the Middle East. In addition, the company is working with Invest NI’s team in Dusseldorf to exploit opportunities it has pinpointed in Germany.
Welcoming the Carryduff company’s success in the Netherlands, Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI Trade Director, said: “Kitchenmaster is yet another smaller company to benefit from our strategic focus on the Netherlands and its position as a gateway to other European markets. The company has achieved an impressively fast return on its participation in the programme through following up leads quickly, assiduously and very professionally.
“This company’s success shows that there are extensive business opportunities in European markets such as the Netherlands for smaller firms prepared to invest the necessary resources and to take part in the very practical programmes that Invest NI has developed to help in accelerating Northern Ireland exports.
“Over 100 companies have now taken part in this programme in the Netherlands since 2005, generating new business worth more than £18 million. Many of these companies have gone on to achieve sales in neighbouring markets such as Belgium, Germany, France and Denmark.”
Jacqui Walsh, Kitchenmaster’s Sales Director, said: “The Dutch programme was extremely well organised. It enabled us to access advice and practical support from Invest NI in Amsterdam, which helped us put together a shortlist of potential distribution partners in this important European market, one which has been on our target list for some time.
“We visited six companies and signed contracts with two within several months of taking part in the programme, a really good and quick return on our investment in time and other resources. Repeat business has also been received from one of the new distributors.
“We also gained invaluable information about the market and business procedures there from taking part in the programme’s briefing sessions in Northern Ireland and in the Netherlands.”
Brian O’Kane, Kitchenmaster’s Managing Director added “Overall, it was a very practical programme that produced a very quick and immensely worthwhile return. Furthermore, the excellent contacts made there position us for growth in this market and elsewhere in Europe. We expect to sign our first business in Switzerland soon.”