Senior managers of companies from Derry, Coleraine and other parts of the North West were shown yesterday how Invest Northern Ireland can help them build sales and grow their business in export markets.
Around 30 companies, many of which are new to exporting, attended the launch of Invest NI’s new Passport to EXPORT programme at the Radisson Roe Valley Hotel in Limavady.
On hand to add advice and encouragement to the newcomers to external markets were several successful local exporters, including DPP, Coleraine, and Huco Lightronic, Limavady and representatives from Invest NI’s NW Area Office
Representatives from local banks and local economic development organisations were also present at the event, which is part of a major drive by Invest NI to accelerate the growth in sales outside Northern Ireland.
The programme was launched by Michele Shirlow, Invest NI’s head of Trade Sectors and Terry Reilly, of Trade Promotions, . Passport to EXPORT has been designed in consultation with Northern Ireland companies to provide services that can be adapted both by newcomers to exporting and successful exporters to meet their specific business aims.
Said Mr Reilly: “Trade success is a yardstick of the strength and overall competitiveness of an economy. To ensure faster growth in the North West, more companies have to be encouraged and assisted to achieve success in international markets. Profits from exporting drive economic growth, both regionally and locally, and help to create greater local community wealth and the conditions that lead to new job opportunities.
“Greater sales outside Northern Ireland by North West companies would have a very positive impact on the local economy,” he added.
He said many North West companies had contributed to the growth in Northern Ireland exports during the 1990s, a period in which exports of manufactured goods by Northern Ireland companies rose by over 130 per cent to pass the £4 billion mark. This growth was assisted by trade promotion programmes.
Mrs Shirlow said: “Our objective is to encourage and to assist more companies to break into exports and to build on existing export achievements by helping established exporters strengthen their position in existing markets and, in particular, to explore opportunities now developing in other markets.
“For newcomers to exporting, the programme introduces a carefully structured approach that includes: Export Check which helps companies to identify their export potential and signpost which services under Passport will be most appropriate; Export Capability, the opportunity to develop their capability to win the business; Export Market Entry which enables them to devise a strategy and secure support from Invest NI for a successful market entry.”
Newcomers, she said, can draw on advice and support from Invest NI client executives; a panel of experienced mentors; and from export advisers in overseas markets.
”Overall, Passport to EXPORT provides a low-cost, low-risk framework for companies, both established and new to exports, to secure the profitable business needed for faster growth,” she added.
The participating companies were also given details of Invest NI’s Trade Events Calendar, which is available to companies in both manufacturing and services and offers around 50 separate events in Europe, North America, India and Asia Pacific that include trade missions, exhibitions and sectoral initiatives.
Through its In-Market Support Service Invest NI also enables Northern Ireland companies to access practical guidance and support from experienced trade advisors in many parts of the world.
Companies participating in the Passport to EXPORT workshop
Brian Scott Engineering, Garvagh; Specialist Joinery, Maghera; Veco Environmental, Derry; RH Houston, Coleraine; Image Branding, Derry; McIvor Plastics, Derry; Kennedy Concrete, Coleraine; Ballyrashane Co-Op, Coleraine; VME Retail Systems; Huco, Limavady; KK Model, Magherafelt; Gallery Wines, Coleraine; Corem Metal Pressings, Derry ; K Scroll, Derry; Dairy Produce Packers, Coleraine; Gazer Technologies, Coleraine; Fexus Energy; Lestas Consulting; Megavoice Ireland Ltd;