Sat 6th Jul 2013
Minister Launches New Export Initiative for Private Sector
Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster launched a new business support programme to help aspiring and new exporters to win business outside Northern Ireland on Thursday 30 June 2011.
Export First, developed by the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Northern Bank, ASM and A&L Goodbody, will engage the support of leading local companies to support small businesses with their export aspirations.
Specifically, it is expected to increase awareness amongst SMEs of existing export schemes, provide support to potential exporters; and provide assistance to firms seeking new market opportunities by linking them to individuals who have experience in addressing many of the issues and queries encountered by first time exporters.
Speaking at the launch at the Stormont Hotel, the Minister said: “Northern Ireland’s export performance has been improved over the last 10 years but there are still challenges ahead if we are to increase the number of companies actively exporting. With the focus on early stage exporters, Export First will complement the ongoing trade development work of Invest NI. The programme will act as a stepping stone for aspiring and new exporters as they build their export capability and sell successfully overseas.
“I am very pleased to see this strategically important engagement by the private sector with the work of the Executive and especially Invest NI, which will help drive our economic recovery through a co-ordinated export support programme.“
Mark Nodder, Chamber Vice President and Managing Director of Wrightbus in Ballymena who led the development of Export First, is delighted that Northern Ireland has established an export support team dedicated to reducing the barriers to export experienced by many small businesses.
“Wrightbus is just one example among many of successful Northern Ireland companies who have flourished in the global market and through Export First, in partnership with the private sector and our sponsors, we are committed to inspiring and assisting others.
“This direct intervention by the Northern Ireland Chamber in the crucial area of export is designed to provide very practical help to businesses who have the potential to export their goods and services. Research commissioned by the Economic Development Forum in 2009 highlighted a gap in the provision of business support to early exporters and Northern Ireland Chamber responded by developing Export First. We are very grateful to Northern Bank, ASM and A&L Goodbody for making it possible through the provision of resources and expertise.”
Barbara Hughes, Director of Boozeberries a family owned business based in Dromore, County Down which produces an award-winning artisan berry liqueur naturally enhanced with the infusion of whole wild fragrant berries also welcomed Export First.
“Having access to the expertise of experienced professionals is tremendous,” she said. “I will be able to build up a network of key contacts and get speedy responses to any queries that I may have – a must for overstretched entrepreneurs.”
You can visit the Export First website at www.northernirelandchamber.com/exportfirst
A copy of the Export First brochure can also be downloaded below: