How a focus on sustainability and inclusivity gives companies a competitive edge
Increasingly, consumers look to brand values and ethics as part of their purchasing decisions. They consider issues of sustainability, inclusivity and social impact alongside more traditional elements such as price and quality. So those businesses that are focused on the green economy or are working to ensure their products are accessible to everyone have an inbuilt competitive advantage.
Our five regional offices support small businesses across Northern Ireland to grow and reach new markets and among those recently assisted are several with a strong environmental and social dimension.
The Department for the Economy’s 10x Economic Vision is guided by the 10x objectives, grouped into three pillars; inclusivity, sustainability and innovation.
We’ve recently supported job creation in two Belfast companies that are putting inclusivity at the heart of their products and services. Diverse Talent has developed ethical technology that uses artificial intelligence to improve diversity in the recruitment process, while social enterprise Empatheyes has created a Virtual Reality Sight Loss Simulator to educate people about visual impairment.
Ballycastle Climbing Frames is also focused on inclusivity by manufacturing play products for those with disabilities. It benefitted from an Innovation Voucher to help develop its disability swing attachment, as well as job creation support.
In Armagh, Connect Research, a company co-founded by Dr Jackie Boylan and Dr Conan Connelly, received Ambition to Grow support to develop and market its innovative Patient Connect service, linking patients, clinicians, and researchers to improve health outcomes.
One of the guiding principles of 10x is ‘to support a greener, sustainable economy’ and more and more companies are finding success in the green arena.
We’re also supporting Daly Renewables, Newtownbreda, to get staff and marketing activities in place to take advantage of the anticipated growth in the renewables market stemming from carbon reduction targets.
And we’re helping environmental consultancy company Quarryplan in Downpatrick to scale up with three new staff and a range of market development activities.
Meanwhile, Belfast digital transformation company Atrom, is helping to improve efficiency and reduce waste in the health service with its innovative Clinical Stock Management Solution. With our support and our Grow Beyond programme, it has expanded its team and recruited five new staff to allow it to explore new markets.
BioPax Limited, based in West Belfast is set to revolutionise the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods and Foodservice packaging and labelling market with certified green solutions, with a new £47m factory. The company produces bespoke packaging and labels and our support is helping the company to create 169 new jobs.
Female-led Karri Kitchen in Portadown produces an innovative range of South-east Asian-inspired wholefood meals with a focus on sustainable packaging and supplies. The company used an innovation voucher for shelf life testing which has helped it to develop its range of recipes. Our support is helping it to develop its branding and attend industry conferences and trade shows to boost export sales, which has enabled it to secure a contract with Tesco in RoI.
10x aims to deliver positive economic, environmental, and societal outcomes and we’re keen to support companies that are contributing to that goal.
For further information on our support and how we can help your business visit www.investni.com or call our Business Support Team on 0800 181 4422.