Biggest ever export drive launched by Invest NI

Almost 60 missions and trade exhibitions in international markets have been lined up by Invest Northern Ireland to assist local companies seeking to grow export sales.


nvest NI’s Market Visits Programme for 2009 includes first time trade missions to Russia, Taiwan and South Korea, France, and Spain, as well as participation in global exhibitions for companies in key sectors such as construction, environmental technology, life sciences, food and ICT

The extensive programme – the biggest-ever planned by Invest NI - features four missions to Arabian Gulf markets such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait, and two separate missions to India, (Mumbai and Delhi and Mumbai and Bangalore), and China, (Tianjin, Shenyang and Beijing, and Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Shanghai).

Companies in many sectors will also have opportunities to take part in 10 events in North America, Northern Ireland’s biggest market outside the British Isles, including the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco and the Worldwide Microsoft Partner Conference in New Orleans.

Seven events are scheduled by Invest NI as part of its commitment to the construction industry. These include stands at international exhibitions such as Big 5 in Dubai, Intermat in Paris, Eco Build and Future Build in London, Interbuild in Birmingham, Hillhead in Derbyshire, Irish Sustainable Building and Road Expo Ireland, both in Dublin.

In addition, construction and building companies will be able to explore opportunities in environmental and renewable technologies at exhibitions in Austria, Sweden, Germany, Scotland, and the Irish Republic. These include first time participation for local companies by Invest NI at Energiesparmesse and World Sustainable Days in Wels, Austria, All-Energy 09 in Aberdeen, and the European Offshore Wind Conference in Stockholm.

Nine events are scheduled for food and drink processing; now Northern Ireland’s biggest manufacturing industry, in markets as diverse as the US, Dubai and the Netherlands. The events include stands at major international shows such as Anuga in Cologne, Gulfood in Dubai, and IFE in London, as well as niche exhibitions such as PLMA World of Private Label in Amsterdam.

Commenting on the programme, Alan Hingston, Invest NI’s Trade Director, said: “Our objective is to assist companies, in particular SMEs, to sell products and services outside Northern Ireland, establish in-market sales and distribution channels, and develop strategic business alliances with in-market providers to gain market entry.

“Our team of trade advisers deliver practical support and advice to help individual companies to find the right partners. In addition, we have a network of trade development centres in Dubai, Mumbai, Shanghai, Boston, Denver and Dusseldorf, where companies can access specialist assistance and office facilities.

“In markets in which Invest NI is unable to offer ‘on the ground’ support, arrangements are in place with UK Trade and Investment offices to provide access to the successful Overseas Market Introduction Service. Our companies, in addition, are able to take part in market visits organised by Enterprise Ireland’s overseas offices.

“Overall, the market visits programme for 2009 provides a comprehensive range of opportunities for local companies keen to survive the ‘credit crunch’ by diversifying their markets and business,” he added.