A recent article in the Belfast Telegraph described the upcoming trip of 15 Northern Ireland companies to South Africa as part of an Invest NI trade mission. While Northern Ireland didn’t qualify for the upcoming 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, these companies, mostly new to the South Africa market, are eager to build relationships in the country and region; they obviously see the opportunity. These companies represent a cross-section of contemporary Northern Ireland industry ranging from engineering, ICT, life sciences, and agri-products.
As reported in the article:
Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI trade director, said the mission aimed to strengthen relationships with the South African business community.
“South Africa is a rapidly developing market with strong economic growth and high potential offering Northern Ireland companies a breadth of opportunity for innovative and export focused business,” she said.
“I also believe there is substantial potential for companies in South Africa to explore new markets or expand their sales in Europe by making use of our experience of the EU marketplace.
“Similarly, South African partnerships make good business sense for Northern Ireland companies interested in developing their sales and presence in the region.”
Let the slow clap ensue. Bravo! It is wonderful to see an entire country, not only daring (and intelligent) companies, seeing the opportunity in South Africa. While Northern Ireland won’t be participating on the field, I bet the investment in time, networking, and relationship building, being made in the region now will yield returns long after the games have come and gone.