Belfast Telegraph

Technology company milks success of trade mission to the Middle East

By Clare Weir

A Belfast technology firm has won a contract with the world's biggest dairy products processor.

Bubble NI Ltd will now be doing business with New Zealand's Fonterra group at its production plant in Saudi Arabia, following an Invest Northern Ireland trade mission.

The Northern Ireland company is supplying Speechbubble, its multi-lingual technology for health and safety training, to the facility plant at Damman, which produces jar cheese and milk powder for the markets throughout the Gulf region as well as North Africa and East Africa.

Formed in 2008, Bubble NI employs seven people in Belfast in the development of software.

As well as Saudi Arabia, Bubble now has distributors in Europe, the USA, China and Australia.

John Hill, managing director of Bubble NI, said that over the past year and a half the Saudi Arabia market has grown to provide 50% of the firm's business.

"Our growth there is the direct result of a strategic decision to invest considerable time and resources in this huge marketplace," he said.

"Fonterra required an effective solution to the problem of training a workforce that includes many nationalities in essential health and safety procedures. Our technology was developed to meet just such a requirement.

"As well as Arabic, the system for Fonterra, which uses graphics very effectively, now covers Urdu, Hindi, Tamil and even Tagalog, a Philippino language.

"Our business there has benefited immensely from participation in Invest NI trade missions.

"Indeed the contract with Fonterra resulted from a referral by another Northern Ireland company on a mission in which we also participated.

"Following the meeting with the company, Fonterra subsequently phoned me for more information.

"This is an excellent example, one which benefited us, of the collaboration and camaraderie which features on trade missions."