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NI businesses learning from supply chain experience

21st October 2013

A delegation of 20 businesses from the south east region of Northern Ireland visited Great Yarmouth this week on a knowledge transfer visit hosted by the East of England Energy Group (EEEGR). The businesses are all part of the Energy Connections NI programme which assists NI small businesses to avail of the supply chain opportunities in the renewable energy sector. The EEEGR is the member association for over 400 energy supply chain businesses in the east of England.

The businesses from Northern Ireland include engineering companies, fishermen and professional services companies. Representatives from First Flight Wind, the consortium developing an off shore wind farm off the coast of Co Down also joined the trip. Energy Connections NI is an initiative of the Councils in the South East Economic Development (SEED) region and is co-ordinated by Newry and Mourne District Council.

Amanda Smyth from Newry & Mourne Council explained the purpose of the knowledge transfer visit.

"The 6 councils involved in the programme have recognised the economic potential of the renewable energy sector and we want to help local SMEs to take advantage of the supply chain opportunities which exist. This knowledge transfer visit is the first of its kind within the programme and we have a lot we can learn from the linkages established by the East of England Energy Group. We shared our experience from Northern Ireland and we hope to bring back best practice from EEERG which may help our businesses locally.”

The Energy Connections Programme provides a practical hands-on support package for businesses through the organization of Meet the Buyer events, business mentoring from industry experts and support towards the cost of attending vital trade shows.

The knowledge transfer visit to Great Yarmouth included a visit to Lowestoft Port, which has been transformed from a fishing port to an energy port and a visit to Cwind, a leading provider of construction and maintenance services to wind farms across the UK and Europe.

Anyone who may be interested in the programme can find our more tomorrow (Wednesday) at 5pm in the Market Place Theatre, Armagh.


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