Rory McIlroy, in conjunction with the personal efforts of First and Deputy First Ministers, proved to be a crucial factor in beginning business with the lucrative UAE during a recent Invest Northern Ireland trade mission.

The Belfast Telegraph reports on the blossoming trade relationship beginning between Northern Ireland and the UAE. The United Arab Emirates, a federation of seven hereditary emirates which uses Abu Dhabi as its capital, is a traditional society where ruling families own the industries and establish economic policies.

Alastair Hamilton, the CEO of Invest Northern Ireland, praised the efforts of Northern Irish dignitaries such as McIlroy who helped facilitate the new business relationships. “There is no doubt that the fact that we had the two heads of local Executives there helped open doors in ruling circles,” said Hamilton.

Hamilton added that Arlene Foster, the Enterprise Minister, “did do a tremendous job last week in promoting tourism.” 

During the India leg of the trade-bolstering trip, Foster put special focus on Northern Irish sports, using golf pro Rory McIlroy as a focus.

While looking to begin new trade business in and around the UAE, Invest Northern Ireland has learned to look to the diaspora population within those areas in order to make new connections with the natives there.

“It is sometimes said that in North America you do business and that builds relationships. In the east you build relationships and then you do business,” Hamilton said.

“That is what we are trying to do. We are trying to build relationships, trying to build the connections with people because this is what is important.”

“Generally people need to get comfortable with you; they need to know your credibility and your products before they decide to start to do business with you.”

Invest Northern Ireland now has an office complex in Delhi where firms from Northern Ireland can rent rooms and be introduced to the region. Staffed by established Indian facilitators, Northern Irish business people who are visiting the area can be provided with advice and  introductions to local partners.

Similar projects are anticipated to be created across the region, with the next area being targeted as Shanghai in China.


Rory McIlroy with his trophy after winning the Honda Classic� AP