Sat 6th Jul 2013
Gateways to Growth: Meet the Buyer Belfast
Above: Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Ann McGregor (centre) with local buyers Thales and Whale and representatives from Customer Service Ireland and Ferdia Irish Chocolates.
Northern Ireland’s latest large scale Meet the Buyer event took place on 26 June 2013 at the Ramada Plaza Hotel, Shaw’s Bridge, Belfast. Over 130 SME’s from across Northern Ireland and the border counties of the Republic of Ireland had the opportunity to pitch for business to 22 key buyers drawn from the region.
Organised by the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce, Dundalk Chamber of Commerce, Letterkenny Chamber of Commerce and assisted by COMET Councils in Northern Ireland, the event was the first of two large Meet the Buyer events which form part of the Gateways to Growth initiative.
Gateways to Growth is a new cross border initiative encouraging trade between companies from Northern Ireland and the cross border regions of the Republic of Ireland through a range of skills development workshops and Meet the Buyer events. The project has been awarded funding from the European Union’s Regional Development Fund through the INTERREG IVA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).
Businesses attending the event were provided with an opportunity to make a pitch to a wide range of private sector buyers, encouraged to network and develop links with each other through structured networking sessions and received valuable exporting advice from guest speakers InterTradeIreland, Bank of Ireland, FPM Accountants and Creative Composites. Support organisations such as Invest NI, Enterprise Ireland, the Stem project and Microfinance Ireland were also in attendance to offer advice on the day.
Councillor Jenny Palmer, Chair of the COMET INTERREG Partnership said:
“We are delighted that our work in securing this funding has been assisting businesses to meet buyers and I would encourage others to sign up for participation on the second phase of the programme which will in no doubt be beneficial to them”.
Ann McGregor, Chief Executive at Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce said:
“The ultimate aim of the project is to encourage companies to supply, buy and network and assist in their growth and development by providing the opportunity to develop their skills set to export in what are viewed as nearby low risk markets.
We are delighted to have secured the support of key buyers from across Northern Ireland and the cross border region to meet with suppliers at the first event.”
Speaking after the event, Colin Loughran, Managing Director of one of the events buyers, Lagan Construction Group, said:
“Lagan Construction Group is delighted to be a part of the Gateways to Growth Meet the Buyer event. Participating as a buyer allows us the opportunity to meet with SME businesses who could potentially supply into our company.”
Buyers who availed of the opportunity to meet with SMEs at the event included Lagan Construction Group, Almac, Graham Asset Management, Montupet, Valpar, Whale Pumps, Thales, Bombardier, Andras House, ASDA, Lakeland Diaries, Thomas McGuigan Furniture, Morgans Fine Fish, Glen Dimplex Ireland, Pramerica, Zeus and Randox Teo.
Above: Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Ann McGregor (centre) with the event’s key speakers: Feargal McCormack, Desi Foley, Ross Telford, Henry Clears and Jani Lopez