Invest NI Helps Companies Avoid Legal Pitfalls of Alliances

Northern Ireland companies planning an alliance with an overseas business can now gain expert legal guidance from Invest NI

Invest NI’s Strategic Business Alliance Unit has teamed up with local legal practices to help companies to avoid potential pitfalls of an alliance or partnership with a business in a market outside Northern Ireland.

The legal advisory service and other Invest NI support for alliances were outlined at a recent workshop held to encourage more local companies to exploit opportunities for growth through strategic alliances in an international market.

Elaine Curran, Strategic Business Unit manager, told senior executives of around 30 companies that “the unit’s primary objective is to stimulate international business growth, through the opening up of new channels to market, the exploitation of new technologies and products, and the exchange of knowledge between relevant partners to maximise potential global opportunities.”

The unit, she said, is already:

• encouraging Northern Ireland companies to consider strategic alliances as a route to global growth;

• identifying potential global opportunities for companies which will provide them with competitive advantage;

• co-ordinating and disseminating information on global business alliances for local companies;

• providing an access point for companies outside Northern Ireland to identify and develop strategic alliances for business growth; and

• supporting strategic alliances globally.

“The Legal Advisory Service is a key feature of this approach. It provides financial support to enable a company to obtain expert advice about an alliance from a legal practice on our select list. Companies need to be aware that there are many types of partnerships and that these have different legal requirements and obligations, as well as financial and taxation implications.

“Taking legal advice from an experienced practice is therefore essential. Our scheme is designed to encourage and assist them to seek advice before entering into an alliance,” she added.

Companies were also briefed about the role of Invest NI’s Business Information Services in helping to identify potential partners and in obtaining up-to-date data in vitally important areas including financial performance.