Companies hear of low risk route to export

Around 70 local companies have been encouraged to grow export sales through low-risk international partnerships by a team of experts at an Invest Northern Ireland organised workshop.

Among those briefing the companies was Adrian Moore, Managing Director of Causeway Data Communications, a Coleraine technology company which has grown business in the US by forming a series of partnerships there.

Other expert speakers included Dr Mark Priest, UK Trade and Investment’s Global R&D Specialist and a director of several technology companies, and Bart Verhulst, Director of Cedis - Centre for Entrepreneurial Development and Investment Strategies. Mr Verhulst is an international business development consultant specialising in alliance strategies.

Commenting on the partnership initiative, Alan Hingston, Invest NI’s Trade Director, said: “Rapid technological innovation, mounting competition and spiralling costs accelerated by the Credit Crunch and globalisation, are posing serious challenges for each and every business in Northern Ireland.  Companies can meet these challenges by continuing to build sales in markets outside Northern Ireland while ensuring that costs continue to be managed effectively.

“A partnership with a company in a similar line of business in an overseas market is an effective and low-risk channel to growth. A business partnership can help a company to identify and compete in areas such as new markets, products, technology and logistics.

“As a result, international business partnerships are becoming a common tool for expanding a company’s reach and global competitiveness. Partnerships can be between a seller and customer or between companies and organisations, either local or global. Most tend to be formal arrangements such as a joint venture or partnership in activities including manufacturing

and marketing.

“Invest NI’s strategic partnership team is already assisting a number of businesses, including smaller companies, with advice, particularly in terms of business procedures, and guidance on potential partners.

“Causeway Data Communications, for instance, has used the partnership service, along with Invest NI trade missions, to explore market opportunities in US centres such as Denver and Boston, to identify channels to market and to link up with partners with the experience, contacts and skills they have required to develop profitable business there,” he added.