'Going Dutch' Success for Cookstown Engineer

Cookstown-based McQuaid Engineering has won its first business in the Netherlands with help from Invest Northern Ireland’s ‘Going Dutch’ programme for smaller enterprises.

McQuaid Engineering, which employs 20 people in the design and manufacture of hydraulic booms and grapples for the materials handling industry, is supplying products to an engineering company at Coervorden, near Amsterdam, which specialises in waste processing.

The Cookstown Company was among a group of six from Tyrone to take part in the ‘Going Dutch’ programme organised by Invest NI’s Western Local Office (WLO) in Omagh and assisted by the agency’s trade division in association with Northern Ireland Trade Consultants (NITC) in Amsterdam. NITC provides advice and practical support for Invest NI client companies in the Netherlands.

Paul McQuaid, Managing Director of McQuaid Engineering, a company he set up in 1994, describes ‘Going Dutch’ as an “excellent initiative” by Invest NI that helped in setting up a series of targeted contacts throughout the Netherlands.

“As well as advice and good quality contacts, Going Dutch helped us to identify another and potentially very significant application for our primary product, hydraulic booms. Over the years we’ve focused on booms for rock crushing operations in quarrying and construction. One of the companies that we were introduced to by NITC has found that our equipment ideal for the recycling of construction waste.”

“I am confident that further business will follow from this company and from negotiations currently underway with several other businesses in the region. I’ve been to Holland on a number of occasions recently for discussions with these companies. I’ve also set up a new dealership in the country. As far as I am concerned, ‘Going Dutch’ is one of the best Invest NI programmes,” he adds.

Alan Hingston, Invest NI’s Trade Director, says: “The ‘Going Dutch’ initiative is an integral part of our Passport to Export programme that is designed to help smaller companies gain expertise in doing business outside Northern Ireland. The Netherlands is a good market for newcomers to exporting or companies with limited experience overseas to gain the experience and confidence they need to succeed outside Northern Ireland.

“The initiative is being rolled out through our office in Omagh. It involves workshops that help companies with information about the market and practical support on how to do business in the Netherlands, a market which has particularly close links with the United Kingdom and also provides a platform for expansion to other parts of Europe. Companies taking part in the programme have an opportunity to take part in an Invest NI business mission to the market. This also involves assistance in the market to set up contacts and with travel arrangements.”

Patricia Devine, WLO Manager, says: “McQuaid Engineering’s success in the Netherlands highlights how Invest NI local offices can offer enterprising and ambitious companies quick and effective access to a broad range of expert advice and support in areas such as trade development, business improvement, design and R&D.

“Our aim will be to develop further the ‘Going Dutch’ programme by extending this to other client companies wishing either to move into exports or to develop a new market in Europe.”

McQuaid Engineering also sells its equipment through contacts that Mr McQuaid has in Scandinavia, Dubai, Spain, Russia and the US.