Fourteen local companies are taking part in two Invest Northern Ireland trade missions to European markets this week.
Most of the participating companies are visiting the markets for the first time. Eight companies are taking part in a mission to Romania and Bulgaria and a further six are in The Netherlands seeking to secure their first export orders.
The group seeking business in Romania and Bulgaria includes six companies which have experience operating in other international markets – AJ Power, Craigavon; CIGA Healthcare, Ballymena; Devenish Nutrition, Belfast; Mallon Technology, Cookstown; North West Academy of English, Londonderry; and Rooney Fish, Kilkeel.
Taking part in their first mission are Adrian Strain Electrical, Newry; and Project Design Engineers, Antrim.
The mission to The Netherlands includes three companies with export experience - Etain, Belfast; Kitchenmaster, Carryduff; and Unicorn, Lisburn. First time exporters are Jason Shankey, Belfast; Mourne Country Meats, Warrenpoint; and Hilden Brewery, Lisburn.
This group is being assisted by Northern Ireland Trade Consultants, Invest NI’s trade support consultancy in the market, to set up meetings with potential customers. They have also taken part in Invest NI workshops to help them prepare to do business successfully in The Netherlands, a market which has proved exceptionally worthwhile for many local companies.
Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI Trade Director, commenting on both missions, said: “Our missions to Europe and elsewhere in the world continue to attract new companies from a broad range of sectors determined to grow business by engaging in international markets.
“Over the past two years, we’ve also seen many of these newcomers to exporting, as well as established exporters, secure worthwhile business that has encouraged them to look at other opportunities abroad.
“The message for business in Northern Ireland is clear: there are excellent opportunities in global markets for companies of all sizes and sectors provided they really want to grow their business and are prepared to invest the time and other essential resources.
“Our mission programme has been designed to assist both experienced and new exporters to seize the opportunities developing in parts of Europe and in emerging markets in Africa, Asia and South America.
“We will also work with companies to help in developing the capability and knowledge to identify leads and turn these into firm orders. For instance, many companies which have taken part in our missions to The Netherlands, a market with strong links to Northern Ireland, have subsequently used the experience gained to win business in other international markets.”