Belfast Telegraph

Four expert opinions on how to boost exports

David Simms, Director, Yelo Test Systems

Twenty years ago when I first started in export sales, you really had to jump on a plane by yourself and there was very little information, financial support available or advice. Now exporting is easy. You can Google anything and translate it, you can find contacts on LinkedIn and use Skype for free calls.

Invest NI has helped with market research in niche technical fields and with financial support we have been able to visit clients in different countries with qualified meetings before you go. Being an international company and based in Northern Ireland is possible. Exporting really is a mindset, if you are good at what you do, people will buy from you no matter where you are located in the world.

John Haran, Chief Executive, Sepha Ltd

There are a number of ways Northern Ireland business can create and develop an export culture. Firstly, talk to Invest NI. There are numerous programmes and levels of support available which can really help companies access their target markets. With assistance from Invest NI, Sepha have been able to target customers directly and provide demonstrations of our machines. This has been extremely successful.

Secondly, ensure your sales and marketing teams have the skills they need to be effective. Sepha invest heavily in training.

Lastly – just do it. Get out there, make contacts and learn from other successful exporters.

Seamus Connolly MBE, Managing Director, Fast Engineering

Global economy and trade is changing so fast we can't afford to be parochial, we must export or die. Pain is increasingly felt from Government deficit reduction and will increase. Government have been promoting export for at least 35 years with only limited success. The strategy needs to be dramatically modernised to encourage more small businesses to export. To successfully export we need better products at the right price. Innovation is vital as is a lower cost environment with less "red tape". The FE sector needs to partner more with business. It is economic madness that graduates remain unemployed.

Kevin Kingston, Danske Bank Export First, a Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce initiative

Banks grow and succeed when the companies that we work with grow and succeed. Danske Bank Export First is designed to support firms who have taken the first steps to export or are thinking of doing so. Danske Bank continues to play an active part in economic recovery and this includes making export more straightforward by putting the right resources with both established and aspiring exporters. It is important that businesses have access to appropriate advice and expertise as they strive to build markets and we look forward to providing this support to experienced exporters and those taking their first steps to new markets.

Belfast Telegraph