Invest Northern Ireland has helped Cunningham Covers to secure new business in excess of £500,000, following investments in research and development and online sales capability.
The Maghera based family business was established over 40 years ago and provides an extensive range of textile solutions for the transport, recreation, environmental and construction sectors. The company also offers large format printing for advertisements. Products include: made to measure curtain sides for industrial vehicles; outdoor marquees; tarpaulins and marine covers.
With impending EU legislation requiring all slurry tanks to have a sealable opening, Cunningham Covers recognised the potential future demand for covers and sought to improve its ability to exploit this gap in the market.
Invest NI offered over £48,000 part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), towards plans which aim to capitalise on export market opportunities. The investment facilitated research and product development activity, an upgrade of the company’s web presence and launch of an e-commerce portal.
Launched last year, the portal has contributed to a substantial boost in turnover and recently enabled Cunningham Covers to secure a £70,000 contract in Angola, supplying a major petroleum company with specialist UV protective tarpaulins to shelter pipe work from the African sun.
In addition, Cunningham Covers has been undertaking R&D activity to create silo tank covers by adapting current technology. Targeting RoI and GB markets, the firm secured its first contract in Scotland during development stages and is currently refining this application for launch to market later this year.
Tracy Meharg, Invest NI’s Managing Director of Innovation and Capability Development, commented: “The results achieved to date by Cunningham Covers are testament to the value of innovation and continuous development in supporting business growth.
“With impending EU legislation requiring all slurry tanks to be covered, Cunningham Covers identified a development opportunity within a niche market, offering substantial export potential. In addition, by enhancing its online platform the firm now has the ability to compete for and secure new business from across the globe.”
David Cunningham of Cunningham Covers commented: “We are delighted with the impact these investments have had to date. The assistance received from Invest NI has played a major role in accelerating our R&D activities and enabled us to explore new market opportunities and improve our competitive position.
“Currently we are attracting business from RoI and GB, through to the Middle East and Africa. Our innovative e-commerce portal, taking over two years to complete due to its complex design, has made a significant contribution towards securing these orders. To maximise on potential sales in emerging markets we will continue to diversify our product offerings and invest in the latest technologies to ensure we can maximise those opportunities.”