Armagh Company Secures $620k in US exports

Armagh company Trace First has secured business worth over $620,000 with the New York State government following support from Invest Northern Ireland.

Trace First develops and provides software to facilitate livestock traceability, animal disease surveillance and emergency planning in the event of an outbreak that could contaminate the food chain.

Invest NI start-up support helped the company to carry out feasibility testing and subsequently to roll out a major export marketing campaign. The company received support from the Transform programme, which is part-funded by the EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation.

The deal with New York State will see Trace First supply its sophisticated, yet easy-to-use, software to the state’s agricultural department for the next three years. This comes less than two years after the company was established.

Mark Bleakney, Invest NI’s Southern Regional Office Manager, says: “Trace First is tapping into the significant market opportunity that is arising from the need to comply with legislation governing the food chain and related emergency planning. This is a growth area, despite the current economic climate, and to secure such a high profile client is an excellent endorsement of the company’s product offering.

“The company combines a high level of innovation and technical expertise with a strong business model and vision for growth in international markets. These qualities have enabled Trace First to match its ambition with rapid export sales success and the business can now look to replicate this in other US states and elsewhere.”

Co-founder of Trace First Michael McGrath explains further: ”Similar to many countries, the agriculture sector is of major importance to the US economy. Consequently, there is a need for government authorities to have in place traceability systems for livestock as well as emergency plans to track the spread of any dangerous disease outbreak. Our software delivers this and features a user-friendly interface designed with the customer in mind.”

Mr McGrath continued: “Invest NI’s support has been crucial in developing the business and enabling us to raise awareness of our products within our target markets. Following a successful test exercise which provided positive feedback from potential customers, we rolled out a full scale campaign to make our product known in the US.

“The deals with NY State follow extensive consideration and scrutiny by US Government procurement agencies. This required our products to meet their stringent standards of value for money, service delivery and after-sales care. Having done this, we are now well positioned to attract business from other US state administrations and to target new sales in other major agricultural markets such as New Zealand, the UK and Ireland.

“We are also expanding our business into other sectors where we can apply the types of process improvement we’ve successfully delivered in New York to clients closer to home.”