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cross-border trade has potential for smes

SIxTY-three SMEs supported by cross-border business development body InterTrade Ireland have generated trade worth €20m to the Irish economy, the body announced yesterday.

The companies were awarded "business ambassador" status by InterTrade at the Mansion House in Dublin yesterday.

Jobs Minister Richard Bruton hosted the event and said the body is important in driving exports and job-creation in both jurisdictions.

InterTrade was set up under the Good Friday Agreement to promote north-south economic co-operation.

It is funded jointly by the two governments and has provided help to some 25,000 companies.

"In 2009 we identified that we needed help in entering the market in Northern Ireland," said Java Republic managing director Grace O'Shaughnessy.

"We felt the area itself was very closed in terms of coffee competition and pricing was a huge issue for us."

But support from InterTrade helped her business to tap into its growth potential in the North.

"Now when we look back over four years, we've successfully delivered in excess of 25pc growth year-on year," Ms O'Shaughnessy said.