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Leading edge educators reaping the rewards of North West Trade Mission


Reaping Rewards

Pictured this month at the Council of British International Schools Conference in London at the O'Neills stand are Andy and Jan Homden and Paul Cabrelli of Consilium Education and Cristina McCusker, Export Development Manager, O’Neills Sportswear.


Six months on Letterkenny based Consilium Education, a leading edge international education consultancy, is reaping the rewards from last year’s Trade Mission to Boston Massachusetts.


Speaking this week founder and CEO, Andy Homden believes that this trade mission has given him the unique opportunity to not only generate important leads in the US but also to develop a strong collaborative project with Strabane based sportswear provider O’Neill’s.


“The opportunity to visit Boston in November 2016 as part of the NW Ireland delegation enabled us to visit schools and to talk to international education suppliers and providers, generating important leads in the US for our company” says Andy.


“We have also started a collaborative project with O'Neill’s, the Strabane-based sportswear providers who we met during the visit, and we are now introducing their products to schools overseas.  None of this would have been possible without the trip and the support of the two cross-border councils who did so much to make it possible for us.”


Consilium Education is a group of international educators offering consulting support for start-up, school expansion and school improvement projects around the world and publishes the International Teacher Magazine, one of the fastest growing on-line journals for international educators.


“I would really recommend the trade mission to Boston in terms of the support that is offered to anyone unsure of how to establish those first important links. The follow up support is excellent” says Andy.


He adds “of course it does require effort on the part of the company in keeping the momentum going after the trip, but the rewards are definitely there for those who are committed to pursuing their goal of breaking into the US market.”


Local businesses who are interested in the US market are being encouraged to sign up for the 2017 North West trade mission to Boston Massachusetts, which is being led jointly by Donegal County Council through the Local Enterprise Office and Derry City and Strabane District Council.


This trade mission, which will run from 14 to 17 November, will focus on developing new market and network opportunities for businesses from Donegal and on promoting the North West region as an attractive investment proposition for global companies. The trip builds on strong links established over the years as part of an ongoing programme of activities within the Donegal Diaspora Project and included in Ireland Northwest’s Gateway to Growth Initiative.


Cathaoirleach Cllr Terence Slowey who jointly led the mission in 2016 believes that strong relationships exist with New England and that there are great opportunities for Donegal based companies to connect with new and existing customers as part of this mission. 


“Donegal County Council through the Donegal Diaspora Project has built strong relations as far back as 2002, with key stakeholders in the wider Massachusetts area and these relationships provide the platform for businesses to have face to face contact with key economic and government decision makers in the broader New England area and exposure to US markets”. 


He encouraged other businesses in the NW region with the same aspirations to break into the US market to come forward and express their interest in participating in the 2017 trade mission.


Commenting on the type of business which may wish to attend, Michael Tunney, Head of Enterprise stated, “while our focus is on the manufacturing, engineering, life sciences and creative digital sectors, the key issues for any business interested in attending are its current stage of development, its need and capability to enter new markets and its ability to deliver products or services to potential new customers.”


Places are available for 12 companies from Donegal, Derry and Strabane with aspirations of developing new market opportunities in the USA.  Burgeoning enterprises can develop in-market networks and in-market intelligence though business-to-business meetings with potential partners, agents and customers, as well as gain valuable first hand insight into the US market. The deadline for submissions is 9th June 2017.


Anyone interested in finding out more about the 2017 Trade and Investment Mission to Boston should contact: Michael Tunney at the Donegal Local Enterprise Office by emailing 074 9160735


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