Fifty local companies with their sights set on Middle East markets gathered in the Hilton Hotel today at Invest Northern Ireland’s briefing on its support services in the region.

Addressing the delegates at the breakfast seminar, Prof. Fabian Monds, Chairman of Invest Northern Ireland, urged local businesses to explore export opportunities in the Middle East by using the support offered by Invest NI’s in-market adviser based in Dubai.

“Helping local companies succeed in export markets is a key priority for Invest NI. This help is extended both to companies entering new markets for the first time and to existing exporters diversifying their presence. In particular we want to encourage and equip more small to medium sized enterprises to seek out new business opportunities in external markets,” said Prof. Fabian Monds.

“The Middle East is a valuable market for NI companies. NI exports to the region are valued at £85 million but there is room for growth.

“Companies wanting to find out about trading procedures and market prospects, to link up with distributors or agents, or to establish trading partnerships will find that our Middle-East support services will act as a gateway to information and opportunity,” he said.

Delegates were also encouraged to use the Northern Ireland Technology and Development Centre in Dubai. The centre offers a fully equipped office location combined with customised business development support for Northern Ireland technology companies wishing to set up a base in the Middle East. It is also available to visiting companies looking for a supportive environment while doing business in the Dubai area.

Invest NI’s Middle-East Trade Advisor, Michael Craig, based in Dubai, was also at the seminar, to outline the practical assistance and advice that is available to companies through the in-market support service.

The seminar concluded with the launch of the Dubai Northern Ireland Technology and Development Centre’s new website.