R&D Key to Unlocking Export Markets


Enterprise Trade & Investment Minister, Jonathan Bell has said research and development (R&D) is delivering world class products which are opening new export markets for Northern Ireland companies.

The Minister was speaking as he announced that Belfast-based IT company Core Systems (NI) Ltd is investing almost half a million pounds in R&D, with the support of Invest Northern Ireland.

Core Systems provides IT systems and services to custodial and high security facilities. Welcoming the investment, Jonathan Bell said: “Core Systems has made a concerted effort to focus on innovation and development, bringing to market its leading edge Direct2Probationer, a product that has strong export sales potential.

“Research and development means businesses can ensure they can meet customers’ demands and develop world class products in order to stay ahead of the competition. Core Systems, for example, is now able to strengthen and develop its business in key target markets, with recent sales generated from organisations in the custodial sector in the US.

“The US is an important export market for Northern Ireland companies and I will be leading an Invest NI Trade Mission to the US next week. During this mission I will be meeting with a number of US government departments and agencies and other local stakeholders to explore ways to help strengthen trade and investment relationships between Northern Ireland and the US.”

Invest NI has offered support of £248,000 to help Core Systems develop the Direct2Probationer product; a digital portal to deliver key services to people on probation, enabling probation officers to spend more time working in the field with their clients.

Patricia O’Hagan MBE, CEO of Core Systems said: “Our innovative approach to research and development and our understanding of the market has enabled us to identify and develop a product which is unique and not currently on offer anywhere else in the market place.

“Direct2Probationer uses technology to bring vital services closer to individuals which are typically hard to reach. It will help to deliver much needed efficiency savings to the custodial market and reduce the likelihood of re-offending.

“The R&D support from Invest NI means that we are able to bring this exciting new product to market and we hope to use this product to win more business in the US market and use exporting as a means to substantially grow our business.”

Invest NI’s R&D support is part funded by ERDF under the EU Investment for Growth and Jobs Programme 2014-2020.