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New network targets 300 new jobs by next year

A new business network aims to help create 300 new jobs and boost turnover by £47m in participating companies by 2014.

The Innovation for Competitive Enterprises (ICE) programme, led by educational institutions in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Scotland, made the announcement at its 2013 conference held in Dublin Castle as three groups of participating companies near completion of the programme. The scheme is a partnership between the University of Ulster, University of Glasgow and Glasgow Caledonian University and led by the Regional Development Centre at Dundalk Institute of Technology.

Telestack, a Tyrone-based mobile bulk handling company which exports over 95% of its products, said that taking part in the ICE programme has led to significant growth over the past three years.

Managing director Adrian McCutcheon said that sales had increased by 60% while net profits had also increased by 80%.

"Telestack has benefited immensely from the participation on the ICE programme," he said.

"We used the programme as a vehicle to support the company's rapid growth with developing and implementing organisational processes and structures which matched our industry expansion."

ICE project manager for Northern Ireland, Sean McCaul from the University of Ulster, added: "Encouraging growth and export potential of our SMEs is crucial for Northern Ireland's economic recovery and growth.

"It is through programmes such as this that we will drive industry forward."

Belfast Telegraph