Cross-border collaboation can be route to success for NI companies

Local companies can increase their turnover and identify new business opportunities by establishing cross-border partnerships, according to Invest Northern Ireland.

More than 100 local business people attended the Bridging the Border seminar in Enniskillen today, delivered in conjunction with InterTradeIreland and Enterprise Ireland. There they heard expert advice on the range of opportunities for co-operation that are available with companies from the Republic of Ireland, and even further afield.

Carol Keery, Invest NI’s Director of Innovation, Research and Technology, said: “There are significant economic benefits for local companies that pool their resources with a cross-border enterprise. Teaming up with another business with complementary capabilities during the current climate is an excellent and mutually beneficial way for local companies to punch above their weight and does not require a sizeable financial outlay.

“Cross-border collaboration can help firms take forward a wide range of activities, including new product development, accessing international markets and subcontracting. Business partnerships can enable small firms to bid for, and win, work that might otherwise be out of reach, providing valuable additional revenue for both partners.”

Ms Keery continued: “Invest NI can help companies identify potential cross-border partnership opportunities that could help boost their market share and international reputation. Our Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) offers an integrated one-stop shop that can help match local SMEs, and larger businesses, with potential partners right across Europe and broker initial meetings.

“EEN also provides targeted commercial leads through its Tender Alert Service, which highlights Europe-wide contract opportunities that collaborative ventures in many sectors can exploit.

“The Republic of Ireland offers a geographically convenient option for NI companies seeking to benefit from a business partnership and even take their first steps into export markets. This is particularly true for the border areas and the strong attendance at our ‘Bridging the Border’ event in Enniskillen is evidence of the growing recognition and enthusiasm that exists for the commercial potential of this type of collaboration.”

Following informative presentations on possible ideas and areas for co-operation, delegates had the opportunity to meet cross-border businesses identified as potential collaborative partners by a bespoke matching service.

The Bridging the Border event in Fermanagh was one of a series of similar events around Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland that have been delivered in conjunction with InterTradeIreland and Enterprise Ireland. A further event, which NI companies are welcome to attend, is planned for Dublin in Autumn.