Londonderry basketball player Niall McDermott has received support from the Northern Ireland Small Business Loan Fund to help his sports gear company break into new export markets.
Mr McDermott launched Basketball Direct, an online store that sells basketball clothing, equipment and accessories across the world, and is currently exporting to 90 countries, in early 2013.
The loan fund is is managed by Ulster Community Investment plc (UCI) on behalf of Invest Northern Ireland. UCI is a subsidiary of social finance organisation Ulster Community Investment Trust (UCIT).
Mr McDermott said: “Our aim is to continually expand and diversify our range of products.
“We have plans to increase our warehouse storage space in the next couple of months which means we can increase our inventory of stock and hire more staff.
“We want to increase our export markets as basketball is a global sport.
“I approached the Fund to help finance the working capital requirements and to aid the development of our website that would enable us to break into new markets.
“The Fund was very supportive of the business and shared my vision for growth.”
Chief Executive of UCI, Harry McDaid, said: “Niall has shown a passion for basketball since a young age and has finally turned that passion into a viable business that is exporting across the world.
“The NI Small Business Loan Fund is delighted to be able to support such an innovative start-up. Basketball Direct serves as a further excellent demonstration of the strong economic contribution that Derry~Londonderry is making to the Northern Ireland economy through innovation, R&D and export.”
Those interested in finding out more about the NI Small Business Loan Fund can visit www.nisblf.com