Invest Northern Ireland's international trade advisers were in Belfast last week to assist around 60 local companies in identifying new business opportunities in the global marketplace.
The advisers, who are all based in key markets, pinpointed opportunities for Northern Ireland companies in the Benelux, China, Middle East, South Africa and the US during a unique ‘Gateway to the World’ workshop organised by Invest NI. It was the first time that all the overseas trade advisers were in Belfast as a group.
A focus of the workshop was Invest NI’s In-Market Support Services which offer Northern Ireland companies a portfolio of advice and practical assistance for export marketing activities.
The ‘Gateway to the World’ event also included a series of one-to-one meetings that gave individual companies the opportunity to discuss their objectives and activities with an adviser.
During their week-long stay the advisers also visited a number of Northern Ireland businesses either wishing to enter export markets for the first time or aiming to build on existing sales overseas.
The group included the directors of Invest NI’s Technology and Development Centres in Boston, Denver and Dubai. The three centres provide business incubation services for companies seeking to develop sales in the US and the Gulf states.
Alan Hingston, Invest NI’s Trade director, commenting on the ‘Gateway to the World’ event, said: “Gateway to the World was designed to show Northern Ireland companies the extent of our support network overseas and to encourage them to take advantage of the market experience and knowledge that we have put in place as an integral part of a comprehensive In-Market Support Service.
“In-Market Support, a key element in our Passport to Export programme of services, is open to all Northern Ireland companies in manufacturing and internationally traded services. It offers them expert consultancy support in areas such as market research, lead generation, programme arranging and assistance during market visits, including trade missions and exhibitions.
“Many companies are already benefiting from the work of the trade advisers. We want to encourage many more, particularly newcomers to exporting, to develop sales outside Northern Ireland. The trade advisers can help first time exporters avoid the pitfalls and to secure profitable new business,” he added.