Recruitment firm Abacus Professional is aiming to increase its export business after cashing in on Invest NI’s new innovation voucher initiative.
The Belfast company said the £4,000 voucher enabled it to get help from University of Ulster to develop ways of using multimedia marketing techniques to target new overseas markets.
Invest NI’s £900,000 voucher scheme is designed to give companies access to expertise from a range of specialists knowledge providers in Northern Ireland and the Republic. So far 168 small companies have successfully applied for an Innovation Voucher.
Commenting on its work with the university, Abacus business director Alan Braithwaite said: “We pride ourselves on finding the right people to fill the skills gaps in our client companies and matching individual clients to the career opportunities they want. It is, though, becoming a much more competitive marketplace and we are having to be increasingly creative to meet, and exceed, client expectations.
“The Innovation Voucher from Invest NI enabled us to access expertise not available to us in-house and which has proved to be extremely beneficial.
“By highlighting how we can use emerging techniques and marketing channels, the team from the University of Ulster has helped us increase our market presence and attract high value clients from all over the world.”
The company said it has attracted more clients from new regions including Australia, the US and the Middle East, and also boosted profit margins. While the voucher initiative — jointly administered by Invest NI and Enterprise Ireland — is currently closed for applications further calls are planned for April, June, September and November.
Olive Hill, Invest NI's director of technology added: “Invest NI's Innovation Vouchers enable local small companies to collaborate with academia to tackle specific operational projects.
“By accessing expertise that might not normally be available to them, companies can make significant advances with new product or process ideas.
“Invest NI is keen to support small businesses here, like Abacus, to achieve this. Striving to identify new commercial opportunities will help local companies remain resilient during the recession and be strongly positioned when the global economic trend turns upward again.”