Belfast Telegraph

Friday 11 July 2014

Our sales team is aiming for some more holes in one

As the Ryder Cup teams of Europe and the US set about knocking seven bells out of each other, as much as you can in a pair of slacks in a non-contact sport, one group of politicians will be in something of a quandary.

While Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster and Invest NI head Alastair Hamilton will no doubt be rooting for a European team which is stacked with some of Northern Ireland's finest, they'll be hoping the sportsmanship which golf professes is maintained.

The last thing they want is a victory for Europe so comprehensive that it leaves a bitter aftertaste in the mouths of the US team, rather one which smacks of graciousness and humility.

That's because our sales team - that's the minister and the Invest NI head - will just be getting back from their mission to Silicon Valley where they've been trying to persuade lots of hifalutin US investors and company heads that Northern Ireland is the place to set up base or to invest their cash.

With any luck they've taken these key decision makers all the way down the sales funnel to the point where they're just about to sign on the bottom line and give us plenty of investment headlines to write about in the coming months.

Today's announcement of 50 jobs from Quantus has obviously been well choreographed but let's hope it opens the door to similar commitments to Northern Ireland, not just from high tech companies but from firms operating in all sectors.

So while we'll all be behind Rory, Darren, Graeme et al we'll be hoping they don't rub the US team's nose in the bunker and keep the good feeling towards Northern Ireland going. At least that's what we should be doing.

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