Two Lisburn-based companies, Raltus Software and Arcatech Limited, are achieving commercial success in export markets following investments in research and development supported by Invest Northern Ireland. Both businesses have taken advantage of financial support to undertake prototype development and market entry projects which are now making a valuable commercial impact on their export performance.
Terry Simpson, MD of Arcatech Limited has worked over the past four years to position his company competitively so that it remains at the cutting edge of the telecom industry’s technological advancements. It has recently secured valuable new export business with products developed with support from Invest NI. Arcatech’s latest investment will involve the development of a new system for testing modern digital IMS telephone networks.
Terry Simpson said: “Our aim to become a key supplier of test equipment to the corporations that contribute to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute and so we are focused on ensuring that our research activities and product development continue to meet the changing needs of the sector.”
Arcatech provides simulation and test equipment for network operators, telecoms equipment manufacturers, laboratories and universities throughout Europe, the USA and South East Asia.
“Invest NI has been tremendously supportive and has helped us to pioneer new technology and to bring products to market quicker than would have been possible if we had to depend entirely upon our own resources,” added Terry.
Similarly, Robbie McConnell established Raltus Software Ltd in 2009, and over the past two years has created an innovative testing product called ProcedureCapture, which helps Pharma & Life Sciences companies significantly reduce the cost and resource associated with validating their computer systems. The product has already been snapped up by both Aspen Global, Africa’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturer and ranked as the ninth largest generic company in the world, and also signed up global pharmaceutical firm Clinigen.
Commenting on the new export business, Robbie McConnell said: “This success wouldn't have come about without the assistance of Invest NI. Investing in research and development helped us to make ProcedureCapture relate to regulated environments and quickly launch our product to market. We are delighted with the feedback received to date from our new international customers and hope this will leverage future sales.”
Invest NI’s R&D support is part funded by European Regional Development Fund under the Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland.
Carol Keery, Invest NI’s Director of Research and Development, commented: “Raltus Software and Arcatech have used Invest NI support to devise highly innovative products that are clearly helping to increase sales, improve profits and maximise operational efficiencies. Encouraging and assisting companies, particularly smaller firms, to strengthen their global competitiveness by investing in R&D projects, which lead to innovative technologies, is critical in driving economic growth.
“In addition to providing funding for R&D from the European Regional Development Fund, Invest NI also provides support to organisations applying directly to the European Commission for funding from Horizon 2020.
“Whilst this programme is competitive, it offers an opportunity for higher levels of funding and has been purposely designed for SMEs. More money will be available for testing, prototyping, demonstration and pilot type activities, for business-driven R&D, entrepreneurship, and for shaping demand for innovative products and services.”
Horizon 2020 will run from 2014 through to 2020 and is the financial instrument implementing the Innovation Union, a Europe 2020 flagship initiative aimed at securing Europe's global competitiveness. More details can be found on the NI Horizon 2020 website, http://www.detini.gov.uk/deti-eco-dev-ni-horizon-2020.
“This programme offers great opportunities for organisations in Northern Ireland to engage in collaboration with other regions across Europe and further afield and I would encourage local businesses to get involved,” added Carol Keery.