Department for International Trade (DIT) launches Northern Ireland hub

  • The team met DIT at e-Comm Live to find out what this means for local businesses.

    Companies in Northern Ireland interested in starting or continuing their export journey can now get support from the new Department for International Trade (DIT) Northern Ireland hub.

    This is the first time DIT has had a physical presence in Northern Ireland and the team is working closely and collaboratively with Invest NI and the Department for the Economy, offering complementary services to the Northern Ireland business community.

    The Department for International Trade has a detailed and extensive offer to Northern Ireland businesses that are looking to export, which is offered free of charge. Richard Elliott, Creative Services Sector Lead, DIT Northern Ireland, explains: “We have established a trade and investment hub in Belfast this year to bring more investment, jobs, and export opportunities into Northern Ireland. The team is dedicated to improving access to DIT services for businesses of all sizes right across Northern Ireland. DIT’s new presence in Northern Ireland will connect our brilliant and ambitious business community here to DIT’s global network to help them grow internationally and boost jobs and economic growth.”

    DIT assists companies of all sizes and offers a range of free services and programmes including the UK Export Academy, the UK Trade Show Programme, and the Digital Exporting Programme.

    Judith McElhinney, DIT Digital Commerce Specialist, shares more about the Digital Exporting Programme: “Our Digital Exporting Programme was set up in 2014 to help exporters grow internationally through digital channels. We help companies capitalise on the global digital ecommerce opportunity, a market that will be worth $6.5 trillion by 2023. We offer a suite of services – from helping you figure out your global ecommerce strategy, to working with leading marketplace platforms like Amazon, eBay, and the Alibaba group.”

    Ms. McElhinney continues: “We partner with over 50 global platforms to help UK companies understand how they work, what the commercials requirements are and provide valuable platform insights and advice. We also run co-branded marketing campaigns on those platforms - great for UK companies to build brand awareness.”

    DIT’s global network in over 100 markets means that companies of all sizes across Northern Ireland can benefit from local business knowledge and connections.

    Alastair Simpson, Head of Sales & Marketing at Northern Ireland-based Lowden Guitars, has used DIT’s services successfully over the past three years to help improve and grow his business. Alastair explains: “DIT reached out to us, learned more about what we do, found the appropriate platforms for us and then approached us with opportunities. Be it a panel to discuss our product, a trade show, a concert, or song writing camp, they got very creative, very non-governmental, and found relevant places to showcase us as a brand.”

    Alastair added: “When we speak to DIT, we know it will be worthwhile. We recently went to Dubai Expo and DIT spearheaded getting us there. They put us on show at the Expo which in turn gave us new customers in the market and we instantly started working with a new partner in the Middle East because of their help. We have countless examples of that happening over the last few years. They are an incredibly diverse and creative team who come from all sorts of amazing backgrounds. If they know someone with relevant experience, they will never hesitate to introduce us to them and find an opportunity to promote our brand.”

    One of the biggest benefits of DIT’s free and impartial support is how quickly new markets can be understood and opportunities identified. With a local team now in place to shine a light on our fantastic Northern Ireland companies and open doors to experiences such as trade shows, free export training and digital programmes, businesses of all sizes right across Northern Ireland can benefit from DIT’s strongly established connections, sector knowledge and market specialists.

    To find out more about DIT’s services visit or email

    About the author

    Aoife is a Sync NI writer with a previous background working in print, online and broadcast media. She has a keen interest in all things tech related. To connect with Aoife feel free to send her an email or connect on LinkedIn.

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