Oct 01, 2004

New support for companies to develop export business in the Benelux region of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg will be launched by Tracy Meharg, Invest Northern Ireland’s Managing Director of Innovation and Capability Development Services, in Amsterdam tonight.

At a reception for 16 Northern Ireland companies taking part in a trade visit, and over 60 existing and potential business partners, she will announce that Invest NI has appointed dedicated trade consultants to provide in-market advice and support for local exporters in these markets.

Invest NI has appointed Northern Ireland Trade Consultants (NITC) to help local companies develop business opportunities in the Benelux region. NITC, which has an office in Amsterdam, has been active in the region since 1993 and has worked on a number of projects with local companies since that time.

“We have now formalised our arrangement with NITC as part of our strategy to provide practical support for Northern Ireland companies, especially small enterprises, in key global markets,” said Tracy Meharg.

“This approach will enable companies to draw on the expert advice and support of experienced marketers in our target regions, particularly in pinpointing potential business partners and export opportunities. By developing a strong portfolio of in-market support services we aim to help companies increase knowledge and strengthen export capability.”

“Benelux is an excellent market for small companies and newcomers to exporting due to its longstanding links with the United Kingdom and the fact that English is widely accepted as a common business language. Both Belgium and the Netherlands have vibrant small business economies, and companies there make good partners for our own SMEs. In addition, many Northern Ireland companies have developed partnerships in Benelux which have enabled them to penetrate other neighbouring markets, notably France and Germany.”

The reception will be a central feature of this Invest NI trade visit to the Benelux region, providing an informal opportunity for local companies to continue discussions with existing as well as potential partners from the Netherlands.

The event will also feature food from Northern Ireland companies such as Foyle Meats of Derry, which has recently re-established its presence in the Dutch marketplace, and venison from Finnebrogue of Downpatrick. Foyle is supplying its Gourmet branded products to BHVC (Breda Horeca Central Depot), a family-run business providing in-house butcheries at four hotel and restaurant trade wholesalers throughout the Benelux market.

Invest NI’s In-Market Support services offer Northern Ireland companies a range of support that includes:

· tailor-made reports on the prospects for individual products and/or service;
· advice on trading procedures;
· contact information for potential agents, distributors, resellers and customers;
· arranging itineraries; and
· support for individual visits, trade missions and exhibitions.

Northern Ireland companies taking part in the Invest NI trade visit to the Benelux region

Biznet Ltd
Web design and multi-media technology

Calman Designs
Knitwear manufacturers

Web cam software technology

Finnebrogue Ltd

Foyle Meats Ltd
Beef and lamb

Destination and event management

John Huddleson
Precision engineering

Mobile Cohesion
Mobile phone technology

Wool garments for Healthcare

Relay Business Systems
Insurance software

The McAvoy Group Ltd
Sectional buildings

Thermal Engineering
Refrigeration technology

TR Shipping
Freight forwarding

Valence Technology (BV)
Battery manufacture

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