The companies were awarded “business ambassador” status by InterTrade at an event in Dublin’s Mansion House yesterday.

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

“For small businesses in the Republic, Northern Ireland can play a key role as a first foray into export markets, and vice versa,” he added.

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

It’s funded jointly by the two governments and has provided help to some 25,000 companies since its establishment.

“In 2009 we identified that we needed help in entering the market in Northern Ireland,” Java Republic managing director Grace O’Shaughnessy told the Irish Independent.

“We weren’t in that market, even though it was an hour and a half north of Dublin… we felt the area itself was very closed in terms of coffee competition and pricing was a huge issue for us,” she added.

Ms O’Shaughnessy said 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.”

Indo Business