Ian Pearson MP, NIO Minister with responsibility for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, today praised Meridian Medical Technologies, Belfast, and Ireland Freight Services (IFS), Antrim, for their business achievements recognised in the Queen’s Award for Enterprise.

Meridian Medical Technologies gained an award in the International Trade category and IFS in the Innovation section of the Queen’s Awards, the United Kingdom’s most prestigious annual business competition.

Mr Pearson said: “The award recognises Meridian Medical’s position as an international innovator of devices that help save the lives of cardiac patients through emergency assistance and early diagnosis.

“Meridian Medical is an excellent example of the type of innovative and university-linked companies with global sales potential that Northern Ireland needs to ensure faster economic growth.

“It is experiencing rapid growth in exports following the launch of its newest product in Cardiopulmonary Diagnostics, PRIME ECG, a unique cardiac mapping system that has been developed with the Northern Ireland Bio-Engineering Centre, Newtownabbey, and Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast,” he added.

The Minister said IFS had harnessed the business potential of the internet to help customers compete through significantly enhanced logistics services by creating an online Vendor Village.

“The Vendor Village is an exceptionally impressive service that is helping companies achieve greater competitiveness through the provision of more efficient supply-chain management.

“Effective supply-chain management is an essential requirement in today’s customer-centric markets. Given the number of links in the physical supply chain, as businesses increasingly focus on responsiveness to the needs of global customers to remain competitive, efficient logistics are critically important in the process of doing profitable business,” he added.

Both companies, Mr Pearson said, had achieved UK recognition through a commitment to innovation and international trade.

“To ensure Northern Ireland’s competitiveness, we must continue to encourage companies in manufacturing and internationally traded services to increase knowledge-led capability and to develop unique products and services by harnessing our science and technology resources and the practical assistance from Invest NI in areas such as R&D, business improvement and trade.

“Innovation is a central Invest NI theme and is supported at the highest levels of Government. The Regional Innovation Strategy -“think/create/innovate” - which will be published shortly by my Department will seek to create a culture and environment within which Northern Ireland will prosper by using its knowledge, skills and capacity to innovate,” said Mr Pearson.