Enterprise Minister, Barry Gardiner MP, today stressed that businesses must focus on innovation to achieve faster economic growth, during a visit to the Ards area to discuss local economic development opportunities.
During a meeting with the Mayor of Ards, Councillor Hamilton Gregory and Council representatives, Mr Gardiner said: “Ards Borough has several companies that are already competing successfully in global markets, and has also seen the number of new business starts rise from 32 in 2001, to 146 in the past year.
“My Department and Invest Northern Ireland are working to create a support infrastructure through which these achievements can be built upon. We have ensured that businesses in Ards have widespread access to broadband technology – a key tool in ensuring competitiveness in today’s global marketplace.”
The Minister later visited Sepha Ltd, which develops and markets equipment for customers in the international pharmaceuticals industry, in 84 countries.
Speaking at Sepha, Mr Gardiner said: “This is a good example of a smaller Northern Ireland company that is achieving success within a fast moving global industry through a dedication to new product development for customers in a niche market.
“Sepha’s success is based on comprehensive market knowledge that enables it to develop new products and provide innovative and effective solutions in its target markets.
“The work that it is carrying out with Invest NI, to pinpoint new business opportunities and product development, will help to ensure the company’s growth in sales and profitability,” he added.
During his visit, Mr Gardiner met Ernest Parker, Sepha President, and Norman McKeown, the company’s Managing Director.