Senior managers from more than 20 Craigavon companies were briefed on how to expand business by harnessing the latest Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and the internet at a recent workshop in Craigavon Civic Centre.

The event, organised by Invest NI’s e-business team and Craigavon Borough Council, was held to show smaller companies in particular how to reap the benefits of the latest e-business techniques by investing in their expertise and capabilities.

They heard how Invest NI’s expert e-business team works alongside management in an individual company to develop a solution tailored to its market objectives.

The workshop is part of an initiative by Invest NI and Craigavon Borough Council designed to identify up to 20 companies likely to benefit most from the introduction of e-business techniques. These companies will then become role models in an ongoing campaign to promote e-business throughout the Craigavon area.

A keynote speaker at the workshop, Brian Irwin, Joint Managing Director of WD Irwin and Sons, the Carn-based bakery, said the company had been assisted by the Invest NI e-business team and urged firms attending the seminar to take advantage of Invest NI’s expertise.

“By applying e-business techniques, we have streamlined our business and improved efficiency, This success has encouraged us to explore other e-business applications that will improve our competitiveness in a challenging marketplace,” he added.

“E-business, for example, is enabling us to achieve substantial reductions in clerical time and in returns of expired shelf-life stock. The right technology solutions will help increase efficiency, cut costs and improve our ability to compete for new and repeat business,” he said.

Alderman Fred Crowe, Chair of Craigavon Borough Council’s Development Committee, said: “The council wants companies in the borough to be the most competitive in the province. This IT project will help companies to stay ahead of the competition and ensure Craigavon is seen as a progressive, technology-focused borough.”

Tony McMahon, Invest NI’s ICT Advisor, said: “Working electronically enables companies to refocus resources, build closer relationships and increase profitability.

“Our aim in launching this joint venture with Craigavon Borough Council is to encourage many more local companies to integrate e-business into their day-to-day operations and thereby strengthen their capability and overall competitiveness,” he added.