Belfast Telegraph

California hub offers gateway to US markets, says Invest NI

By Amanda Poole

Northern Ireland firms are hoping to boost their US business opportunities through a new link with an innovation centre in California.

Invest Northern Ireland said it was helping companies take the first tentative steps to launch in the US through a new partnership with the Irish Innovation Centre in Silicon Valley.

Jeremy Fitch, Invest NI's managing director of business international, said: "Invest NI support, in partnership with the Irish Innovation Centre will provide a vital bridgehead for companies who see the West Coast as a prime target market for both funding and new business but lack either the marketing or consultancy expertise, and an in-market base from which to grow."

Invest NI said small and medium sized enterprises seeking business growth and connections in the US market would be provided with office space and consulting services. The economic development agency said there was also potential for additional funding if they have further expansion plans for the US and global markets.

John Stanton, president of the Irish Innovation Centre, said: "By expanding into Silicon Valley, companies will be able to access customers and resources not available elsewhere.

"In 2009, 40% of all US venture capital funding was invested in Silicon Valley, highlighting the importance of the region."