Innovation Opens New Markets for Local Company

A new trade and retail warehouse, that will enable Belfast company Garment Graphix to expand its business into new markets, was officially opened today by Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment, Permanent Secretary, Bruce Robinson.

The 4000 sq ft. ‘Workwear Warehouse’, based in Duncrue Industrial Estate, Belfast, will enable the company to maintain its position as one of Northern Ireland’s leading suppliers of personalised workwear and sportswear while developing export markets. As a result of the new facility, the company hopes to add to its current staff of 20 over the next 12 months.

Through participation in the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) programme, Garment Graphix is one of 57 NI companies accessing specialist knowledge and expertise available in our higher education institutions.

Mr Robinson said: “This is an strong example of a small local business carving a successful niche for itself in a challenging marketplace within the growing tradable services sector.  Sales in this sector, which includes businesses such as architects, advertising and creative entertainment, grew by 9% in 2003 to £2billion, and its importance to our economy must not be underestimated.”

“Garment Graphix is developing a competitive advantage by looking to export markets and exploring innovative, design-led methods of increasing capability. Innovation in all its forms is vital for Northern Ireland’s economic development.   By becoming involved inthe Knowledge Transfer Partnership, Garment Graphix is benefiting from the expertise of academics and researchers at the University of Ulster, allowing the company to strengthen its marketing and product innovation capability.  The KTP programme is just one example of how we can ensure the development of innovative, design-led creative companies.”

Neill Tipping, senior partner of Garment Graphixs, said: “At Garment Graphixs, we pride ourselves on being forward thinking, with a creative approach to business. The opening of our new premises, ‘The Workwear Warehouse’ reflects this, as we are able to supply, print and embroider garments under one roof. Support from Invest Northern Ireland, combined with our commitment to the Knowledge Transfer Partnership programme, has helped us to grow our business and ensure that we continue to offer a competitive, high quality service to all our customers.”

As part of the KTP programme, a marketing graduate has already joined Garment Graphixs’ staff, and there is potential for a design graduate to be placed with the company during the next 12 months. With assistance from Invest NI, the University of Ulster hopes that involvement in KTP will help the company advance the pace of product design and development, whilst accelerating export-led growth.

At the opening, Mr Robinson was joined by representatives from Invest Northern Ireland, the University of Ulster, and several of Garment Graphixs’ UK suppliers including Dickies and Papini.