Limavady manufacturer targets growth in Republic

Timber Tots, a Limavady manufacturer of wooden playground equipment, is being assisted by Invest Northern Ireland to grow business by exporting to the Republic of Ireland.

The company is being assisted to develop its marketing activities in the Republic by Invest NI through the Growth Accelerator Programme (GAP). The company is investing almost £40,000 that is designed to almost double turnover over the next two years.

Invest NI is providing almost £16,000 in GAP support for marketing activities to increase export sales to 28 per cent of its business.

Timber Tots was formed in 2004 by Limavady entrepreneur David McElwee and currently employs five people. The company designs, manufactures and installs a unique range of quality wooden play equipment for schools and nurseries; from challenging play trails and role-play based items, e.g. pirate ships, climbing castles, play stages, etc, to special commissions. Over the past five years Timber Tots has focused on developing equipment that teachers can use in connection with active outdoor learning, to meet the needs of the current curriculum.

GAP support includes the appointment of a senior manager to drive productivity growth and assist the overall competitiveness of the company particularly in the Republic

The investment was announced by Mr McElwee and welcomed by Des Gartland, Invest NI’s North West Regional Office Manager in Derry.

Mr McElwee, commenting on the news, said. “This is a very significant investment that is designed to move the business ahead faster. Our handcrafted playground equipment has been well received especially by nursery and primary schools across Northern Ireland.

“Our focus on quality products that meet all European Union and UK regulations, together with the track record of satisfied clients in Northern Ireland, gives us a strong platform for growth in the Republic.

“Invest NI has been immensely encouraging and supportive. It has provided very practical advice and support for my plans to grow the business through a sharp focus on opportunities in the Republic.

“Assistance towards the recruitment of an experienced production supervisor helps us to ensure that we have the systems and processes in place on the factory floor to support the new marketing drive in the Republic,” he added.

Mr Gartland said: “GAP support reflects our confidence in the company as a manufacturer of quality playground equipment with significant growth potential particularly in the Republic.

“This is a progressive and entrepreneurial company which has already benefited from its participation in several Invest NI programmes to assist with best practice, productivity, efficiency, as well as availing of the Northstar mentoring scheme.

“By providing flexible support through GAP we aim to help the company to strengthen its marketing capability and thereby to exploit new business opportunities it has pinpointed in the Republic. GAP offers smaller companies in particular, access to significant support for an agreed project that will enhance its competitiveness in markets outside Northern Ireland,” he added.