18/01/2005

Council helps companies face challenge of exporting to ‘New Europe’

Belfast City Council is encouraging local companies to take advantage of the business opportunities afforded by the expanded Europe by helping them to develop links with the ten new member states which joined the EU last year.

The Council has just launched its latest export development programme, ‘Exporting to New Europe’, which will take 15 companies from the Belfast City Council area and assist them to take the first steps to develop an export market in the new European states including the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.

The ‘Exporting to New Europe’programme, funded by Belfast City Council through the European Unions’ ‘Building Sustainable Prosperity’ fund, aims to stimulate better performance in export and domestic markets; increase sales of all participating companies; and help each company to set up a minimum of four business meetings in the new European state of their choice.

“This programme goes a long way to identifying key business opportunities afforded by new countries joining the European Union,” said Councillor Chris McGimpsey, Chairman of the Council’s Economic Development Sub-Committee. “As a Council we are delighted to offer this opportunity to 15 local Belfast companies to look at these opportunities as ways to increase their business development throughout Eastern Europe.”

Participants who join the programme will be assigned a mentor who will help them through the process of identifying and establishing links in overseas markets. Mentors will then liaise with overseas consultants to identify potential opportunities for local companies.

The programme will include a series of practical workshop sessions, covering subjects including ‘Preparing to export - evaluation of the ten new European states’, ‘Identifying prospects and preparing for market visits’, ‘Strategies for market entry, export marketing management and doing business in export markets’ and ‘Pricing, currency, transport and EU legislation issues’.

(MB)

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