Randox blazes trail for Ulster firms
Medical company Randox is a soaring success story and it is one born and bred in Northern Ireland. With sales to 145 countries and providing diagnostic tests used by 5% of the world's population, it demonstrates that Northern Ireland can provide the talent to take on the global markets.
But Randox is not resting on its laurels. In its highly specialised field of operations - creating diagnostic tests and equipment - the company realises it must continue to innovate to retain or even increase its market share.
That is why it is to develop ground- breaking research and development facilities at the former Massereene army barracks in Antrim. Scene of the horrific murder of two young sappers by the Real IRA in 2009, its past infamy will be redeemed by the life- saving tests developed by its new owners.
This investment is a real mark of confidence in Northern Ireland by the company which, although headquartered here, has a global reach. There could be other locations which would be equally suitable for such development, but the owners have shown remarkable loyalty.
Much has been written and said in recent times about the need to rebalance the Northern Ireland economy which is over- dependent on the public sector. It has been argued that the better salaries in the public sector has stunted entrepreneurial endeavour here, but Randox shows what can be achieved.
It provides high-value jobs, and the new facilities which will provide 540 jobs over the next four years will also pay above-average salaries.
As a company, it ticks all the boxes in the type of investment needed to create a more prosperous and vigorous Northern Ireland business scene. It creates products with almost limitless potential; export demand is high; it feeds into the highly-prized science and knowledge economy and it provides jobs for our brightest young people.
Quite rightly, Invest NI has supported this latest development, reminding us that it is important to help local companies grow and prosper. After all, most of the private sector jobs here are in indigenous firms.
Too often we regard inward investment as the Holy Grail of job creation. While that is very important, we must also nurture local entrepreneurship and talent.
Randox is a shining example to those businesses which dream of taking on the world.