Within the last financial year Invest Northern Ireland’s local office based in Ballymena has helped an impressive number of 13 local start-up companies sell their services and products outside of Northern Ireland through its ‘Export Start’ programme.
Export Starts are businesses with the potential to trade outside Northern Ireland, generally exploiting near-market opportunities such as Great Britain, and the Republic of Ireland, but also with the potential to do business further afield. The ‘Export Start’ programme offers a range of financial and non-financial support, including access to business planning services, technical advice and market intelligence, to eligible new businesses across the region.
All13 firms have been working closely with Invest NI’s north eastern Local office, which was established to ensure that businesses within the local area have access to the right support and advice they need to stay competitive in today’s aggressive market place.
Based in Larne, Design to Reality specialises in the production of novelty children’s bedroom furniture. A relatively new company Design to Reality has already managed to tap into markets in France, Cyprus, Spain and the Republic of Ireland. To date Invest NI has provided the requisite financial and non-financial assistance to support the establishment of this new venture.
Leslie Morrison, Chief Executive of Invest NI, commented:
“We have helped these companies accelerate their growth by providing the knowledge and capabilities they need to be successful within their own business sectors. By providing this information we are helping local firms to exploit new market opportunities and enhance their export potential.”
George McKinney, Local Office Manager for Invest NI based in Ballymena, said:
“Through our office local companies with the potential to export their product s or services can access the full range of services and expertise that Invest NI has to offer. For most companies exporting further afield this means a significant increase in the number of rival firms they must compete against. We are helping local companies to prepare for that challenge and to enhance their capability to compete in export markets.”
Patrick McClean owner of Design to Reality commented:
“The financial assistance and support provided by Invest NI has helped us to sell our products to customers outside of Northern Ireland. By establishing an overseas client base we will be able to expand our business offering and develop new products that will in turn lead to increased revenue.”