Derry Chamber President, Dawn McLaughlin, wrote in the Derry Journal this week as part of the paper’s “View from the Foyle” segment.
In her article, Dawn speaks about the fantastic growth opportunities presented by Growth North West, a programme the Chamber are running in collaboration with Invest NI, Derry City and Strabane District Council, InterTrade Ireland and Enterprise North West:
It’s been a busy summer for the North West as the economy gets back on its feet. We’ve welcomed a steady stream of domestic visitors and tourists back to our region, enjoying our fantastic hospitality and tourism businesses, and we’ve supported our local traders after such a tough period.
Derry businesses are relieved to be getting back to work, serving customers and clients once again as they do best. But the pandemic has also given them the time to think differently, explore new avenues, and pivot their operations. While not perfect, new Brexit trading arrangements, namely the NI Protocol, have presented companies in Northern Ireland with new opportunities and competitive advantages.
We are uniquely positioned to make the most of these arrangements. Being able to trade freely with the rest of the UK and into the EU and the rest of the island of Ireland is a distinct competitive advantage afforded to businesses on one side of the Derry-Donegal border that isn’t available to the other. Another positive consequence has seen North-South trade in Ireland boom since the start of 2021, increasing by over 60% according to the Central Statistics Office’s most recent figures.
Some local businesses have begun trading with their southern neighbours for the first time, shifting supply chains and finding new markets and customers. Many of these, however, will not have realised they are technically exporting their goods or services.
The Chamber, in collaboration with our partners at Invest NI, Derry City and Strabane District Council, InterTrade Ireland, and Enterprise North West, is currently leading a new initiative for local businesses who are interested in discovering and making the most of new export markets. Focusing on the export journey, Growth North West will be a wider initiative over the coming months which will help businesses grow their operations across a number of key business areas like exporting and innovation.
Chamber is hosting expert presenters on different aspects of the exporting process and demonstrating to attendees how to make the most of their export opportunities. Businesses will have an opportunity to schedule a one-on-one appointment following each session, looking at their specific exporting needs and challenges.
Growth North West is a one-stop shop for everything businesses need to begin expanding into new markets and trading with new customers. As well as the series of monthly webinars, the Chamber and our partners are carrying out a mapping exercise which will outline all available export supports and signpost businesses in the right direction to address any queries or issues they may have whilst exporting.
Over the coming months, we are looking forward to engaging with businesses of all kinds, shapes, and sizes as they begin or expand their export operations. There are significant opportunities for our local firms, both beyond these shores and on our shared island. Any and all opportunities for growth should be grasped with both hands, especially as we emerge from lockdown.
Growth North West is here to deliver stimulation and growth for our region at a time of economic uncertainty. Throughout the pandemic, firms have been innovating their services to stay ahead. Exploring new export markets is one key way in which our local businesses can positively react to the effects of the pandemic and the UK leaving the EU to spearhead their growth.
To sign-up for the next event of Growth North West, Sales Prospecting for Export Growth, visit: LINK