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2.8 billion reasons to export, from InterTradeIreland

A taste of success: Margaret Hearty, director of programmes and business services for InterTradeIreland joins Newtownabbey business woman, Anna Taggart, owner of Yummy Bakes NI, who credits the Elevate programme, which is fully funded by InterTradeIreland, with helping to open up the Irish market for her high-quality pastry and biscuit ranges.
A taste of success: Margaret Hearty, director of programmes and business services for InterTradeIreland joins Newtownabbey business woman, Anna Taggart, owner of Yummy Bakes NI, who credits the Elevate programme, which is fully funded by InterTradeIreland, with helping to open up the Irish market for her high-quality pastry and biscuit ranges.

The value of cross-border trade on the island is currently around €2.8 billion – so can you really afford to ignore the opportunities that exist so close to home? asks InterTradeIreland

The Q2 2014 InterTradeIreland Business Monitor, based on the views of 750 business managers, found that 82% of firms surveyed are not currently exporting despite one in five businesses (19%) having a product or service suitable for export. There are a number of apparent challenges including a lack of time or management resources (26%), the perceived cost associated with entry to new markets (24%) as well as lack of internal financial resources (21%) and a lack of awareness of available support (17%).

As the survey has consistently found that exporters significantly outperform domestically-focused businesses and that they are much more positive about increasing their sales in the next year, it is vital that potential exporters are encouraged.

InterTradeIreland offers a range of supports to tackle some of the issues identified as a barrier to taking first steps along the exporting pathway.

If you would like any further information on InterTradeIreland’s programmes please contact us on: 028/048 3083 4100 or visit the website www.intertradeireland.com.

These include A Simple Guide to Cross Border Business which is often the first point of reference for any firm that is planning or implementing a strategy to enter the cross-border market, as it offers up-to-date, user-friendly and comprehensive information on legal, tax and banking issues.

A Simple Guide to Cross Border Business offers a good introduction to the issues which can arise and some quick answers for these. For those questions not covered, InterTradeIreland has a Trade Accelerator Voucher worth €1,200/£1,000 for business advice to deal with cross-border issues.

Recent research from InterTradeIreland has shown that cross-border sales represent the first export market for almost three-quarters of businesses across the island (73%), with 90% of Northern Ireland firms taking their first export steps in the Irish market and two thirds (63%) of Irish exporters taking the same steps in the opposite direction.[1] The experience gained in cross-border trade acts as an export stepping stone for almost three quarters (71%) of firms.

The Elevate sales development programme can help small businesses develop sales opportunities through first time cross-border exports. In the past two years, the programme has helped 150 small businesses generate new cross-border sales of around £3million.

‘Elevate’ businesses can choose from a list of more than 100 experienced industry specialists who can then help identify sales leads in the cross-border market, negotiate deals, share relevant market insights, identify market research requirements and offer advice on the development of marketing materials.

One company that availed of this support was Yummy Bakes, based in Jordanstown, Newtownabbey that makes high-quality ‘golden moment’ pastry and biscuit ranges.

Owner Anna Taggart said, “I knew that I needed someone who knew the food industry inside out and choose the perfect match for me. My industry specialist was able to help me to research the market and organised two interviews for me with potential major customers.

“I had grown the local element of my business substantially and wanted to export across the border but was unsure about how and where to start. The Elevate programme gave me the confidence to break into the market and the support of my industry expert made my goals a very real possibility. I may have got to the point of considering breaking into Ireland eventually but participation in Elevate sped this up greatly and has got Yummy Bakes NI’s name out there and onto people’s lips – literally!”

If you would like any further information on InterTradeIreland’s programmes please contact us on: 028/048 3083 4100 or visit the website www.intertradeireland.com.

[1]Analysis of the key features of an exporting SME on the island of Ireland (September 2013).