Invest NI chief joins up with first sports trade mission to the US
Invest Northern Ireland's Chief Executive Alastair Hamilton is on a trade and investment trip to New York and Boston.
During his visit he will join Northern Ireland companies on the agency's first Sports Education Trade Mission.
Speaking from New York at the start of his visit, he said: "The US continues to be a strong market for Northern Ireland, for both trade and investment. We are continually looking for new opportunities for local companies to export here to support the growth of our economy.
"In the last four years, up to March 2017, Northern Ireland exports to the US have doubled to £1.7bn, representing one fifth of our total global exports.
"Interestingly, Northern Ireland is increasingly becoming a leading hotspot for the development of sports related products and services which is why we have organised our first trade mission for this sector. I will be joining the 13 companies on the mission to support them in building valuable relationships and securing potential trade deals as they pitch to athletic departments and key decision makers from US colleges."
The Sports Education Mission, from today until Thursday, includes representatives from CET Ltd, Chaka Travel, FSL Scoreboards, Movement Innovation Lab, O'Neills, Performa Sports, Sports Merchandising Ireland and STATSports. Northern Ireland's universities and colleges are also participating in a bid to promote PHD and degree courses. Mr Hamilton's first engagement was to meet with the US Advisory Council, set up in 2016 by the former First and deputy First Ministers.
"This morning, I met with the East Coast Advisory Council, chaired by Shaun Kelly. The group has been helping us make new contacts in our efforts to build trade links and secure new investors," he commented.
Northern Ireland's reputation as an investment location has grown and in recent years inward investment has played a pivotal role in the NI economy.
"The US is also our number one source of foreign direct investment," he continued. "Invest NI is determined to build on this success and throughout the rest of my trip I will be meeting with local influencers and potential new investors to sell Northern Ireland as a key investment location to work and do business."
Bazaarvoice, Anomali, UnoSquare, Bemis and aPriori Technologies are just some of the US companies choosing to invest in Northern Ireland over the last 12 months. Mr Hamilton will also meet with potential new investors in New York and Boston.