Northern Ireland Companies On Business Mission To Washington

Ten companies are aiming to develop contacts with the US federal and state governments on an Invest Northern Ireland (Invest NI) business mission to Washington from 5-10 March.

The group, which has a strong technology base, will be attending the FOSE event in the Washington Convention Centre from 7-9 March.  Northern Ireland companies visited FOSE for the first time last year on a mission organised by Invest NI, the UK region’s main economic development body. Invest NI organises a programme of business initiatives in the US for Northern Ireland companies through a network of offices in Washington, New York, Boston and San Jose.

Delegation members offer extensive expertise in a broad range of technologies for federal and state bodies, including biometric security systems, data management software to counter fraud and money laundering, emergency directional lighting, blast proof cladding for buildings, e-government software and air defence systems.

Several companies already have significant US sales and a number, such as Singularity, Lagan Technologies, Datactics, McMullen Architectural Systems and Thales Air Defence, have offices in key centres including New York.

The group is being assisted by the Northern Ireland Bureau (NIB) in Washington DC. NIB is the diplomatic office representing the Northern Ireland Administration in the United States and NIB staff will help Northern Ireland companies on the mission with advice on doing business in the US.

Advice and guidance to the Northern Ireland delegation is also being provided by Greater Washington Initiatives (GWI), a company that facilitates trade and other contacts in the US. In March 2005, GWI was commissioned by Invest NI to work with Northern Ireland companies wishing to do business with federal and state authorities.

Alan Hingston, Invest NI’s Trade Director, commenting on the business mission, said: “This visit to Washington is an integral part of our ongoing strategy to help Northern Ireland companies to develop business contacts with procurement bodies in the US.

“Several companies which took part in last year’s visit to FOSE are currently following up good contacts there and are very optimistic about achieving worthwhile business.

“These companies have found that they have products or services that have the potential to meet market needs. Many of the companies are already doing good business with public bodies in the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland and other parts of Europe. I am confident that the companies on this mission also have what it takes to secure worthwhile business with federal and state bodies and agencies.

“Invest NI has a strong commitment to the US marketplace, the world’s biggest and most influential market for technology products and services. We are fortunate in being able to draw on the experience and contacts of the Northern Ireland Bureau and GWI in Washington,” added Mr Hingston.