New support to help smaller food companies grow sales

Smaller food and beverage companies in Armagh, Fermanagh and Tyrone are being assisted by Invest Northern Ireland to exploit sales opportunities through a new market intelligence service and advice on how best to get their products to Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland. They will also be briefed on how best to tender for business from the health service.

The Invest NI initiative to boost sales outside Northern Ireland will be detailed to companies at an important knowledgesharing and networking event on the 14th May2009at Quinn's Corner, near Dungannon.

In addition, companies attending the event will also be briefed on how to bid effectively for tenders for business from health and care services.

Announcing the new support, Maynard Mawhinney, Invest NI’s Food Director, said: “Our objective in holding this breakfast event is to encourage more of our client companies to look seriously at the sales opportunities that exist outside Northern Ireland and thereby grow their business.

“We are offering companies practical support that will enable them to pinpoint new business and to develop ways in which they will be able to service and grow this through more cost-effective distribution and delivery techniques.”

Mr Mawhinney said the briefing was geared to help small and medium sized food and beverage companies and would have two features:

  • Access to a new and free market intelligence tool for companies with a turnover of less than £10million. This will help businesses trade more effectively with retailers in Great Britain,Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.Representatives from the Institute of Grocery Distribution will provide a detailed oversight and demonstrate the many benefits from using this free service.

  • A logistics session were Invest NI staff will attempt to facilitate/broker collaborationopportunities for local businesses to share loads etc, and partner with other businesses on increasingly expensive logistics routes in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland.

Mr Mawhinney said: “We are focusing on logistics because many companies have approached us in recent months seeking advice on how to reduce costs in this area. We believe collaboration can provide solutions for a number of companies;however it does require a degree of openness and information sharing to work effectively.

“This is the latest in a series of initiatives that we’ve developed from our ongoing discussions with local companies on practical measures that we can take to help them win more business particularly in markets outside Northern Ireland,” he added.

Taking part in the presentation will beFlorence McAllister and Audrey Vennard from Health and Social Care (HSC), formally the NHS. They will outline the immediate tender opportunities to supply HSC in Northern Ireland.

Mr Mawhinney said: “Companies will hear how the systems work and be offered practical advice on how to complete the application process, which is not as rigorous as many believe it to be.”