Sat 6th Jul 2013
Danske Bank Export First – Meet the Exporters
Local companies must focus on research and development to enable them to compete says NI Chamber of Commerce
Aspiring exporters from across Northern Ireland gathered at Belfast’s Ramada Encore Hotel this morning to learn how some of Northern Ireland’s most successful global players have gained competitive advantage in international markets through research and development.
The ‘Meet the Experts’ event, held by Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce as part of the Danske Bank Export First programme, provided local businesses with the opportunity to hear the stories of experienced exporters including John O’Neill from Valpar Industrial, Con Gallagher from Anaconda Equipment, Jim Boyle from Icemos Technology and Niall Mallaghan from Mallaghan Engineering.
Representatives from Danske Bank, Invest NI and the University of Ulster were also present to advise local businesses on the support available for research and development across a range of institutions.
Speaking after the event, Sandra Scannell, Programmes and Operations Director at Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce said:
“In a global market place future export success will only be possible with advanced products and services. Local companies must focus on research and development to enable them to compete.
“The consensus by local exporters today is that there are some excellent platforms of support available for businesses to undertake research and development in Northern Ireland including those offered by Invest NI. However, exporters have concerns over the timeliness of the government supported R&D application process along with the skills of those involved in that process. Particular challenges remain around the perceived disconnect between businesses and universities in how they work through the R&D process.
“We were delighted that our panel of experts were able to join us and offer their advice to aspiring exporters. Between them these businesses have developed innovative products in markets including the EU, Middle East, Far East and North America making them very well placed to help our local businesses.”
Katherine James, Head of Small Business Segment at Danske Bank said:
“Investment in Research and Development creates new businesses and improves existing ones, brings highly skilled people into the job market, and attracts international investment.
“A recent Danske Bank Export First roundtable discussion with twenty-two of Northern Ireland’s most prominent exporters revealed a series of challenges around Northern Ireland’s future export success. One of the key issues identified was the need for businesses to harness the right skills through investment in education and training and the need to develop the right products through investment in research and development (R&D).
“Today’s event provided businesses with the opportunity to have their export questions answered by someone who has been there and done it all before and has seen success through effective innovation. It also provided attendees with an ideal opportunity to build up a network of contacts in the exporting arena as the Danske Bank Export First programme continues to encourage learning through thought leadership and skills development.”
The Danske Bank Export First Programme, an initiative of Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce, has provided support to 230 local businesses in its first year, rolling out ten events in locations across Northern Ireland. Now in its second phase, the programme features inspirational thought leadership events with some of Northern Ireland’s top exporters, as well as focus on new markets and the development of the skills set required to operate in them.