Prisoner rehab experts Core Systems (NI) Ltd hope to unlock international markets
Core Systems embarks on export mission to explore trade opportunities in Denmark
A company specialising in technology for prisons has carried out a major export mission to the Nordic region, helped by Invest NI and British Airways.
Core Systems (NI) Ltd in north Belfast was one of the winners of this year's Export Challenge, supported by Invest NI and British Airways.
Their prize was a set of British Airways flights to the export destination of their choice, along with market research advice from Invest NI.
The company's chief executive Patricia O'Hagan said it chose to visit Denmark to seek out customers for its technology.
The firm has been in business for around 20 years, developing systems which help prisoners access information and educate themselves, therefore helping their rehabilitation.
Ms O'Hagan said Denmark's liberal penal system, which allows prisoners to leave jail to work in the community as part of their sentence, was a good match for Core Systems' technology.
The company's commercial director and business development manager travelled to Denmark in August to carry out market research and make new connections by visiting prison facilities.
A spokeswoman for Core Systems said: "The trip helped to build strong relationships with those in charge of criminal justice within an innovative country."
But with a long lead-in in the industry before deals are struck, no sales have yet been achieved.
Invest NI trade director Dr Vicky Kell said: "It's immensely encouraging to see how Core Systems has used the support package they received from the Export Challenge competition to research how they can break into new overseas markets and take the important first steps."
She said moving into new export markets could sometimes be daunting, but added: "Local companies can use the range of services that we offer to help find the right market and identify new partners.
"Our comprehensive market visit programme, as well as the in-market advice and the knowledgeable and practical support from our expert team, can all help companies find, research, and enter new markets and win new business."
Brenda Morgan, British Airways partnership manager for Northern Ireland, said the airline was delighted that Core Systems had benefited from the Export Challenge, and that BA had been able to help its growth into the international marketplace.
She added: "At British Airways, supporting the expansion of local businesses into new export markets is very important to us.
"British Airways currently provides customers travelling from Belfast to London Heathrow with a vital artery for the flow of business and commerce through our daily service of up to six flights a day."
She said Belfast travellers were also benefiting from the connection's recent move into BA's new Heathrow home at Terminal 5.
"This means that local passengers can benefit from quicker and smoother connections through the airport to over 100 cities worldwide without having to transfer between terminals.
"It really does make doing international business easier than ever before and will help us to continue to connect with companies across the world."