Sat 6th Jul 2013
Danske Bank Export First Roundtable
Northern Ireland has an over dependence on the public sector – level of productivity is one of the lowest in the UK.
Businesses in the region are performing poorly in the key drivers of productivity including innovation and export activity.
Mark Nodder, President of Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce, decided to bring together a group of local exporters on 31 January 2013 to share their export experiences with Patsy McGlone MLA, Chair of the Enterprise, Trade & Investment Committee. The roundtable, which was held as part of the Danske Bank Export First Programme, a Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce initiative, brought together 22 exporters from all stages of development.
Not surprisingly many common themes emerged from the roundtable. These included the need to inspire more young people to become entrepreneurs, the need for closer links between FE and HE and business regarding product development, the need for trained as well as educated staff, financial and support agency issues, skills shortages and high production costs.
Speaking at the Danske Bank Export First roundtable on 31 January 2013, Patsy McGlone MLA, Chair of Enterprise, Trade & Investment Committee commented:
“In the current climate, we cannot rely on foreign direct investment to grow our economy and assist economic recovery. We must make every effort to nurture, encourage and support new and existing indigenous businesses to develop an exporting culture.
“Local businesses plan to be here for the long-term. They are integrated into local communities. But, while their commitment is more than financial, they need positive support from banking and finance sectors. Businesses must compete where appropriate, but they must also be encouraged to collaborate to export where it is in their interests to do so. We all have responsibilities to support and encourage them for the benefit of our economy.”
Kevin Kingston from Danske Bank Export First, a Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce initiative said:
“Banks grow and succeed when the companies that we work with grow and succeed.
“Danske Bank Export First is designed to support companies who have taken the first steps to export or are thinking of doing so.
“Danske Bank continues to play an active part in economic recovery and this includes making export more straightforward by putting the right resources at the disposal of both established and aspiring exporters wishing to branch into new markets. It is important that businesses have access to appropriate advice and expertise as they strive to build these new markets and we look forward to providing this support to both experienced exporters and those taking their first steps to new markets.”
Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce is particularly concerned about the low levels of export. Whilst we have some excellent export success stories, only 2% of NI’s registered business base – 1,500 businesses are active exporters. Also our exports are focused on a small number of markets, largely the Republic of Ireland (36%), USA (9%) and Canada (6%). FDI businesses account for 3/5ths of exports and Top 10 exporters account for 51% of exports.