Magherafelt software company innovates for exports

Acorn IT, a Magherafelt-based software development company, is being assisted by Invest Northern Ireland to grow its business by investing in innovation and exports. The technology company is investing £256,000 and aims to double its workforce to 10 over the next three years.

The export-focused expansion was announced by Dominic McMullan, who formed the company in 2002 with Declan Bradley, and welcomed by Des Gartland, Manager of Invest NI’s North West Regional Office in Londonderry. Invest NI is contributing £49,850 towards eligible project costs of £171,376.

Mr McMullan, outlining the investment plan, said: “We are implementing a new business plan to grow the company, which has a solid base in Northern Ireland as a specialist in SAGE software accounting solutions, through innovation geared in particular for markets outside Northern Ireland.

“We see innovation as the key to faster growth in both turnover and profitability and have now decided to set up a dedicated software development and business intelligence unit within the company. This will monitor trends within our markets and seek new opportunities for our expertise in business solutions. The unit will then take the lead in new product development for opportunities it has pinpointed.

“The first stage in this is our new suite of software, Qtec, which has now been developed specifically to meet an emerging market opportunity that we have identified in logistics operations in the quarrying industry, particularly in the Republic of Ireland. We believe this new product has tremendous potential and will drive growth in the Republic and also in the home market.

“We are confident that the series of strategic initiatives that we are taking will enable us to achieve our objective which is to double turnover over the next three years.

“Invest NI is providing immensely important advice, support and general encouragement to develop our sales and marketing activities and overall management capabilities,” he added.

Mr Gartland, commenting on the investment, said: “Acorn IT is a progressive and ambitious company which has taken a series of important initiatives in support of a total commitment to new product development as a primary route to faster growth.

“Our assistance to the company has been geared to the objectives it has set in terms of innovation and sales outside Northern Ireland. It is an excellent example of the type of export-focused ICT company now developing strongly in the North West area.  

“We are working with a significant number of ICT companies in the region as part of our focus on helping to accelerate the growth of technology-led companies that are innovating for international markets,” he added.