Northern Ireland Management Company Targets Dubai

MWM Sports Management Group of Holywood, Co Down is aiming to expand its international business and is targeting the Arabian Gulf states by setting up a base in the Northern Ireland Technology and Development Centre (NITDC) in Dubai during an Invest NI trade mission to Qatar, Oman and Dubai from 18-28th February.

MWM is among a group of 14 companies taking part in the mission which is led by Bill McGinnis, an Invest NI Board member and the chairman of the McAvoy Group of Dungannon.

Alan Hingston, Invest NI’s Trade director, says: “The NITDCs were established as a key element in our strategic focus on encouraging more Northern Ireland companies to enter international markets and to assist them to do so by providing a framework of advice and facilities that enhances their knowledge and exporting capability.

“The initiative is producing tangible benefits for companies and Northern Ireland. Companies located in the Dubai centre, for instance, generated new business worth almost £30 million over the past 18 months,” he adds.

MWM, which provides a range of specialist services including corporate hospitality, event management, business performance coaching, sponsorship and incentive reward schemes, is locating Judith Murray, a senior executive, at NITDC, which is located in Dubai’s prestigious Internet City.

“Our decision to move into Dubai is the result of extensive research to identify further opportunities overseas for our professional services,” says Max Williamson, MWM’s managing director. “Over the15 years we’ve been in business we’ve undertaken a number of business coaching projects, management development initiatives and incentive travel programmes in Europe, South Africa and the USA.

“We were attracted to Dubai by its fast economic growth, its developing business base that includes many US, UK and Japanese companies and its emergence as a sports and tourism centre. It has a host of international events such as the Desert Classic golf tournament, the Dubai World Cup horse race, the IRB Dubai 7s rugby, the Dubai Shopping Festival and is within easy reach of the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix race. Dubai, furthermore, is a good base from which to explore other markets including South East Asia.

“NITDC offers us an ideal service that gives us full office facilities and an address in Dubai, as well as access to the expert advice on business procedures, requirements and contacts from Michael Craig, Invest NI’s regional director,” he adds.

MWM has recently launched CareerSport to focus on the fitness and health, sport and leisure sectors by providing recruitment and training programmes, international exchange programmes for qualified professionals and international placements for students and graduates.

Dubai, a key world player in these developing markets, offers many outstanding opportunities and will be a strategic base to developing MWM’s international business.

The NITDC office in Dubai is one of three operated by Invest NI’s Trade division worldwide as part of its In-Market Support Programme which provides expert advice and support for Northern Ireland companies from experienced business people in key international markets.

The other NITDCs are located in Boston and Denver in the US. In addition, the In-Market Support Programme has a network of trade advisers in Europe, South East Asia, China and South Africa whose role is to provide advice and guidance to Northern Ireland companies.

Established in 1989, MWM also has an associate office in South Africa.

Seven companies are visiting the region for the first time on the Invest NI trade mission. The newcomers to these markets are: Broadcast and Electronics Solutions, Omagh; CDE Ireland,Cookstown; Delta Systems, Derry; H2O, Portaferry; Lightstep, Lurgan and Trackcare, Belfast.

Experienced Middle East exporters on the mission are: Abbey Training, Newtownabbey; Boomer Industries, Lisburn; Liddell Linens, Lurgan; Mivan, Antrim; PWS, Newry; Powershield Steel Doors, Lisburn;and Rutledge/Joblink Recruitment and Training, Coleraine.