Newcomers seek business in North America

Thirteen of the seventeen companies on the Invest Northern Ireland trade mission to Toronto and New York, from 16-20 March, are visiting North America for the first time.

The mission is the first in a programme of 10 business visits for Northern Ireland companies being organised by Invest NI to North America during 2009.

The programme, the most intensive-ever lined up by Invest NI to this strategically important marketplace, includes multi-centre trade missions and participation in globally significant exhibitions, such as BIO2009 in Atlanta, the Worldwide Microsoft Partnership Convention in New Orleans, Summer Fancy Food Show in New York, Connected Health in Boston and the Digital Media and Software technology event in San Francisco.

Alan Hingston, Invest NI’s Trade Director, commenting of this week’s mission to Toronto and New York, said: “It’s immensely encouraging to see so many newcomers keen to do business in North America, still our most important market outside the Great Britain and Ireland.

“While the US and Canada are experiencing economic problems along with Europe and other markets, the companies on this mission are confident that they can, and will, do business there, and I share their confidence. Over the years, the US in particular has proved to be a very good market for smaller Northern Ireland companies with innovative technologies.

“Our trade advisers in key centres such as New York and Boston are working with a number of the companies to exploit opportunities that they have pinpointed. All the companies on the mission recognise that converting these opportunities into solid business will take time, resources and further visits to the market. Our programme enables them to do this.

“North America is a huge marketplace that rewards companies prepared to invest time and other resources on building partnerships with customers and to shape their products and/or services to their specific requirements. Our strategy is to offer companies practical support and expert advice on-the-ground from experienced business people located in key centres such as Toronto, New York, Boston, Denver and San Francisco,” he added.

Three of the companies on this week’s mission, Biokinetic Europe, First Derivatives and Texthelp, are already well established in North America. Biokinetic provides clinical testing services to major US pharmaceutical companies; First Derivatives has an office in New York and provides specialist software to financial institutions on Wall Street; and Texthelp has offices in Boston and Toronto.

Texthelp has also provided assisted learning and web access software to education bodies in several states and other organisations.