Gabriel O’Keefe, Export Sales Manager was one of eight business leaders celebrated for their exporting successes by Minister for Exports Minister Andrew Bowie after being appointed as the first Export Champions in Northern Ireland.
Representatives from a variety of sectors of Northern Ireland’s business community attended the event held at City Hall to honour the new Export Champions’ contribution to exporting
Andrew Bowie delivered a keynote speech praising the Champions for promoting the benefits of exporting and encouraging other companies across Northern Ireland to consider selling to overseas markets.
The event not only celebrated their exporting successes but allowed them to share the benefits exporting has brought to their business. It also highlighted how access to export support from the Department for International Trade can empower local businesses to seize global opportunities.
Export Champions are predominantly CEOs, Sales Directors and Export Managers from companies of all shapes and sizes representing a wide variety of sectors from across Northern Ireland and were nominated due to their successful international trade track records, acting as ambassadors by sharing their success stories and leading by example.
The Export Champion community was introduced as a direct response to calls from businesses for peer-to-peer exporting support and represent a variety of key sectors, including food and drink, Fintech and manufacturing. There are now 443 Export Champions across England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.
Speaking at the event, Minister Bowie, said:
“Northern Ireland is a thriving hub of innovation, a beating heart of the United Kingdom, and an engine for global exporting. Not just in the industries of the future like nanotech, fintech, and greentech – but for industries that have been a part of Northern Ireland’s fabric for generations: agriculture, distilling and shipbuilding.
“Businesses who export bring vast benefits to their communities, with more jobs and higher wages, which helps to support local infrastructure and benefits it by putting them even more firmly on the global map.”
According to figures published by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, Northern Ireland exported £12.2 billion worth of goods and services in 2021, with exports increasing by £1.7 billion (16.0%) over the year in question.
List of Northern Ireland Export Champions
· Alan Lowry, Environmental Street Furniture
· Roger Johnston, Axial3D
· Gabriel O’Keefe, Kiverco
· Martin McKay, Texthelp
· Patricia O’Hagan, Core Systems
· David Ausdahl II, Lowden Guitars
· Susie Hamilton-Stubber & Robert (Bob) McDonald, Burren Balsamics