Milestone celebration: front row l to r: Olive Hill of Invest Northern Ireland and Liz McCrory of UK Export Finance (UKEF). Back row l to r: Lord Empey, Dianne McLernon, Kingspan, Willy McCoy, Bank of Ireland and Lesley Batchelor OBE, IOE Director General.
Speeches by our Director General, Lesley Batchelor OBE, Lord Empey, Liz McCrory of UK Export Finance (UKEF), Olive Hill of Invest NI and the Bank of Ireland’s Ian Sheppard entertained and informed guests at a glittering Belfast luncheon that celebrated the IOE’s 80th birthday by honouring our Northern Ireland corporate, business and individual members.
Sponsored by Kingspan, Bank of Ireland and UKEF, the milestone event was held at the magnificent Culloden Hotel, one of the finest venues in Northern Ireland. Offering a great opportunity for members and exporters alike to meet and celebrate Exporting and the Institute’s role over the last 80 years.
Guests gained a valuable insight into the IOE’s history, milestones and challenges spanning 1935 to the digital age – hearing how the Institute has evolved over the decades to meet the changing needs of exporters. Guests were also updated on latest formative developments which include the powerful partnerships the IOE has forged with the key business and financial support agencies.
Bank of Ireland senior manager, Willy McCoy, said: “For over 20 years, we have worked closely with the IOE in assisting Northern Ireland export companies to develop their sales into new markets globally. The continued success of our local companies in international markets and our association with the IOE remains a primary focus for us.”
Divisional MD, Kingspan Environmental, Pat Freeman, commented: “As a Northern Ireland-based company that has thrived on a robust export strategy, we were delighted to sponsor such an important event. It raised awareness of the possibilities that export offers and the IOE support available for those who wish to trade overseas.
“Export is key to our growth and the future success of the region, so any help and advice that businesses across Northern Ireland can access as they venture into new markets must be applauded and promoted.”
UK Export Finance’s export finance adviser, Liz McCrory, added: “UK Export Finance congratulates the Institute of Export on celebrating 80 years of its work enhancing the UK’s export performance. With its education and training programmes and practical support, the institute is as relevant today as it has ever been. The government has ambitious targets for UK exports, so it’s heartening to hear the IOE declare: the sky’s the limit.”
IOE Director General, Lesley Batchelor, concluded: “Over the last 80 years, we have championed UK exporters and proud to be acknowledged at home and overseas as the only professional body in the UK providing recognised, formal qualifications in International Trade.
“We have always been mindful that export is vital for the growth and prosperity of every region and have always had an active, flourishing presence in Northern Ireland. It was wonderful to share this special occasion with our members and partners.”
The celebration concluded with a prize draw, where Kingspan provided four tickets for the Ulster Rugby v Saracens match on November 20th and Bank of Ireland supplied a signed rugby shirt – won by Santander international director, Simon Huntley.