Success of Devenish 'lesson for exporters'
The export success of animal feed firm Devenish Nutrition is a lesson to other aspiring exporters, an event has heard.
Around 50 exporters attended a briefing with the Employment Minister Stephen Farry at the company's global food security labs at Queen's University.
Kevin Kingston, president of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Trade, said Belfast-based Devenish provided an example of an "inspirational" export journey.
It has turnover of around £100m and employs 200 people, and has trading interests around the UK and US.
Mr Kingston said exporting should be treated as an important part of business education.
He said: "In order to complement the minister's ongoing work in key sectors such as engineering, manufacturing and ICT, our members believe that business degrees and further education qualifications must include compulsory modules on international trade and exports, to ensure that business people are 'export-ready' when entering the workplace."
But Mr Kingston said money should also be retained to back Stem (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) programmes. The assured skills scheme allowing the further education sector to bridge the skills gap in sectors such as IT, advanced engineering and financial services, should also be maintained.
Mr Kingston said: "Incentivising language training for SMEs through financial incentives would also ensure a tailored approach for businesses, so staff can learn the relevant languages they need for conducting business abroad."
The event was hosted by the chamber and Danske Bank as part of the Export First programme.
Katherine James of Danske Bank said: "Export has been identified as being the key vehicle for sustainable economic growth here in Northern Ireland.
"Danske Bank Export First has already raised the profile of exporting substantially among smaller companies in particular."