Rathlin Island based Ocean Veg Ireland Ltd has won the First Time International Exporter Category in the International Export Challenge delivered by Invest Northern Ireland and British Airways.
The competition challenged local businesses to provide details of their export plans and the rationale for the approach taken in a bid to win a unique package of support.
The family business grows, harvests, processes and sells organic kelp to specialist food retailers, distributors and restaurants and is focusing on developing exports to China, Japan and Korea.
Ocean Veg Ireland will receive free market research conducted by Invest NI, one return flight to their selected export market, free accommodation for up to four nights and support with arranging and executing a market visit schedule.
Kate Burns from Ocean Veg Ireland said: “The International Export Challenge was a unique and valuable opportunity to showcase our product and our export strategy. We are delighted to win this package of support and will use it to visit to Korea to explore potential business opportunities there.”
Alastair Hamilton, Invest NI Chief Executive, said: “The response to the competition shows that an increasing number of Northern Ireland companies are looking at international markets to help grow their business. In particular, we were delighted to see so many entries from first time exporters, as one of our priorities is to increase the number of Northern Ireland businesses that are exporting. I would encourage the winning companies to use the support package to help them identify new markets and reach new customers.
“Small businesses are sometimes daunted by the idea of exporting. That’s understandable, as there is a lot to consider, but we offer a wide range of support to help businesses target export markets and the rewards are worth the effort. Invest NI is delighted to have had the opportunity to work with British Airways on delivering this unique competition.”