Invest NI helps Co Down inventor target export markets

Co Down inventor Robert McConnell is targeting sales opportunities across the UK, US and Europe with support from Invest Northern Ireland.

Robert McConnell established his business last year in Annalong and has recently invested £115,000 to develop export sales for his unique floor leveling device named Z-level.

Z-Level is a small galvanised metal ‘z’ shape which can be used to create a flat surface in a time saving and cost effective way. The device is targeted at trades people and DIY enthusiasts and has already been sold online to customers across Great Britain, France and the US.

Invest NI has offered Mr McConnell patent advice in recent years as well as £8,000 of support towards marketing activities. As part of this overall investment, three new jobs are expected to be created by 2014 to support the anticipated growth of the business.

Robert McConnell said: “I came up with the inspiration for Z-level when I discovered the floors in my own newly built home were so uneven my tiles and wooden flooring couldn’t be laid until the surface was flattened.

“I’ve had encouraging feedback from the customers who have already tried the device and commented how easy it is to use, especially after watching the instruction video on the website.

“I’m delighted that my invention is making a difference and providing a practical solution to a common problem faced when seeking to build or improve the appearance of a home or business. The focus now is to increase awareness of the device and Invest NI’s support will be pivotal in helping me to plan and implement a range of marketing activities.”

Mark Bleakney, Manager of Invest NI’s Southern Regional Office, said: “Robert is an entrepreneurial and driven individual who has the potential to achieve considerable export success with his unique invention. Invest NI’s support will help to accelerate the market development of Z-Level and build on the product sales to date outside Northern Ireland.”