Tracy Meharg, Invest NI’s managing director of innovation and capability development, looks at opportunities for businesses in India.
A major push to accelerate the growth of Northern Ireland exports to - and tourism business with -India is being led by First Minister Peter Robinson, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster next month.
Such a high profile mission, which includes 24 companies, will showcase what Northern Ireland has to offer and should lead to significant benefits for our economy in terms of both exports and visitors.
The visit to India comes at a time when our businesses are enjoying success in international markets, our film makers are winning Oscars and our young people are achieving global success.
I’m confident the mission will attract considerable interest among the business community and the media in a marketplace which continues to show significant GDP growth. It will help to demonstrate that Northern Ireland continues to punch well above its weight.
Northern Ireland industries demonstrate the commitment, also observed in the Executive, to create wealth through internationalisation by identifying new customers, overseas representations and partnerships. This commitment to business abroad is at the heart of the Programme for Government.
This business mission represents an important opportunity for Indian companies to engage with our businesses to access innovative products and services, which will support mutual growth. It offers an invaluable opportunity for Indian businesses to gain a better understanding of why Northern Ireland is becoming a location of choice for major international investment.
It will also substantially reinforce the work that Invest Northern Ireland trade and investment teams are doing throughout India.
Since opening our first Indian office, in Mumbai in 2007, we have been extremely busy in the region and have Indian business people recognising our commitment to the country, as we are the only region of the UK to bring two trade missions annually to India.
The mission next month is among the most significant in terms of participating companies that we have taken to India.
The mission team is focused on building upon the long trading tradition that exists between India and Northern Ireland and promoting the benefits of investing here.
This year, of course, is a hugely exciting year for Northern Ireland as we celebrate “Our time, Our place”. The increase in our international profile will help to produce tangible benefits of greater export business in our target markets.
I am sure that local companies will be quick to grasp the opportunities that this campaign offers in global markets to boost business and to strengthen our economy.
This article appeared in The Irish News on 27 March 2012.