8th December

Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Jonathan Bell has welcomed Invest Northern Ireland’s latest performance figures.

Speaking after the publication of today’s figures, Jonathan Bell said: “Invest NI was set new and stretching targets as part of the one year extension to the Programme for Government. This latest performance update shows they are well on track to deliver against, and in some cases exceed, the revised targets.

“By supporting local businesses to grow, and attracting new investors, Invest NI has helped promote over 39,000 new jobs across Northern Ireland over the last four and a half years.”
“Invest NI’s support over the last four and a half years has leveraged over £3.6bn of investment into the Northern Ireland economy. This is the result of businesses investing in research and development, recruiting new staff and upskilling their existing workforce as well as purchasing new machinery or equipment to make the business more efficient all of which is vital to ensure we remain ahead of the competition in this highly competitive global market place.”

OneSource Virtual’s new European Service Centre was officially opened in Derry by the deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness MLA and Regional Development Minister Michelle McIlveen MLA, representing the First Minister.

OneSource Virtual is a Texas-based Business Process as a Service (BPaaS) provider offering HR outsourcing, IT outsourcing, finance and accounting outsourcing and consulting. The OSV North West office will support product offerings in the UK, including deployment, UK payroll and application management services.

The deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: “OneSource Virtual Service Centre locating its European Service Centre in Derry is a huge vote of confidence in this City and its people.

“Despite fierce competition from other cities we attracted OneSource Virtual here. The Executive fully supported this project providing a £2.9million financial support package for the new jobs and training.

“The 289 posts announced in July will pay in excess of £30,000 per year and will benefit the local economy by £11.8million pounds annually. The company is working hard to build its team with 42 people already hired and completing an intense 12 week initial training programme. OneSource Virtual is also launching their next round of hiring for 45 vacancies today, all of which come with the opportunity to learn new skills and earn a very good salary.”

“Directly and indirectly the people of the City and wider North West will feel the benefit of this cash injection. I wish OneSource Virtual, current and future employees every success for the future.”

Wesley Bryan, co-founder, president and COO of OneSource Virtual said: “By establishing our European operations centre here, we are in a stronger position to target opportunities within the UK and Europe, expand sales and ensure the future growth of our business.

OneSource

Image by Press Eye
The deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness and Regional Development Minister, Michelle McIlveen are pictured with left to right: Bill Thomas Director, OneSource Virtual; Wesley Bryan, Co Founder and President of OneSource Virtual and Britt Wirt, Co Founder and Head of Strategy OneSource Virtual at the official opening of their new Service centre in Patrick Street, Derry.

03 December 2015

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Elisha McCallion is hopeful that Derry and Strabane District Council will develop a sister city relationship with Berkeley in the United States.

Speaking following a recent four-day visit to Berkeley and the wider San Francisco Bay area, Mayor McCallion said the meetings were extremely positive and she was quietly confident a formal arrangement between the two cities could be established.

She said: “Berkeley and Derry have very close connections and they are both very similar in terms of their history and outlook.  The trip last month was hugely successful and provided me with a great opportunity to further develop those links and connections and tap into their economy to identify new opportunities for investment, education and culture. Council will be attending the Sister Cities Summit in Dublin in the spring of next year to further pursue this proposal and we will also be extending an invitation to the Mayor of Berkeley and his team to visit Derry prior to the summit in an effort to further bridge the relationship between the cities.”

One of the positive outcomes of the trip was as a result of meetings with academics from the University of California, Berkeley, who agreed to send 20 of its students to the Ulster University’s Irish Language Summer School in 2016 and a further 30 students in 2017 and thereafter.

Dr Malachy Ó Néill, Head of the School of Irish Language and Literature at Ulster University said that he was delighted to welcome the additional students to the growing international provision at Magee Campus.

During the trip, the Mayor met with Invest NI and their West Coast team to update them on recent developments in Derry.  The Mayor chaired a breakfast meeting with key members of the North West Diaspora in the Bay Area and also with a number of companies with potential investments into NI and Derry.  There were specific discussions with members of the Diaspora around stimulating philanthropic investment into initiatives such as a scholarship fund for US students to Derry/Strabane.

The visit very successful in forging real and positive links with Berkeley and it is hoped that this will bring new opportunities for Derry and Strabane in the months and years ahead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Isle of Man based company CityWing will begin operating twice-daily flights from City of Derry Airport to Dublin, by April 2016.

Derry to Dublin Flights The City of Derry airport submitted a successful application to the Department for Transport under the Regional Air Connectivity Fund, to support the new service from Derry to Dublin.

Speaking about the new service, Clive Coleman, Contracts Director for Regional & City Airports at CoDA stated, “This is very welcome news for the airport. The benefits of this new Dublin service, through enhanced inter-regional and international connectivity, to the local economy and travelling public are significant. Furthermore, they are aligned with the UK Government’s objectives of encouraging the growth of regional airports by making better use of their infrastructure, reducing the need for long-distance travel to and from airports, providing air passengers with greater choice and finally attracting new or more frequent international connections to attract new business activity to support the growth of a more balanced regional economy.

Sinn Fein MLA for Foyle, Raymond McCartney, said the news was a “welcome development”.
“This is a welcome development for Derry and the North West economy. Sinn Féin has long maintained that connectivity between Derry and the major centres of population including Dublin is crucial if we are to achieve our full potential for economic development.

Commenting on the news Sinead McLaughlin, chief executive of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, said, “It is great news that we will again have a direct flight connection between Derry and Dublin. It is particularly positive that there are to be two flights a day between the two cities. For businesses here it is essential that they have good transport links to the local capital cities of Dublin, London and Belfast. While more work still has to be done on our road links with Belfast and Dublin, a reliable and frequent flight connection with Dublin is a very important step forward for our members. We hope the new route will be followed by others and help to attract more investment to our city.”

Visit Derry’s General Manager, Odhran Dunne, also welcomed the news.
“Visit Derry, as the city’s official tourism organisation, recognises the importance of air connectivity to grow the tourism economy of the North West region. In global tourism terms air route development is vital if we are to enhance our reputation as one of the top leisure and business tourism destinations to visit on the island.

“The establishment of this double daily Dublin-Derry air route service will ensure stronger connectivity with the Greater Dublin catchment area and our international markets. The growth of inbound visitor numbers to the North West is supported by increasing direct air connectivity to the region.

“By continuing to invest in and develop our infrastructure the destination will create greater opportunities to use the unique assets of our people and the place to deliver a sustainable all year round tourism economy.”

Northern Ireland’s reputation as a location of choice for international legal services investment is on the rise!

In an effort to maximise on this reputation, Invest Northern Ireland supported four Northern Ireland legal firms to exhibit at the International Bar Association annual conference in Vienna last month, the largest gathering of the international legal community in the world.

Olive Hill, Invest NI’s Director of Trade said: “In the last five years, interest in the Northern Ireland legal services sector has been boosted as the region has become an investment location of choice for global legal giants such as Baker McKenzie, Allen & Overy, Herbert Smith & Freehills and Axiom Law who have all established operations in Northern Ireland. This international profile provides a platform from which to promote the excellence of our local lawyers in key export markets”

“Continuing to grow Northern Ireland’s legal services sector through increased internationalisation is vital to the growth of our economy and so we were delighted to support local legal firms to participate in the IBA Conference this year.

 

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Image by Press Eye Photography Pictured is Orlagh Kelly, former barrister and CEO of Briefed, with Olive Hill, Invest NI, and Chris Ross, Managing Partner of John McKee.

 

The Northern Ireland Executive’s announcement that Corporation Tax will be reduced to 12.5 per cent by April 2018 has been widely welcomed. Alastair Hamilton, CEO Invest Northern Ireland said: “A reduced rate of Corporation Tax will significantly add to the attractiveness of Northern Ireland as an investment location for existing and potential new investors and bring benefits to our local business base. It will open doors for us to be able to compete for, and seek to attract, new operations, which are tax sensitive.

“Securing inward investment projects often takes two to three years from initial engagement to confirmed letters of offer. Now that we have an agreed rate and date we will be able to proactively begin engaging with potential new investors who may have profit centre opportunities. Today’s announcement will also provide a welcome boost to local, profitable businesses which will have additional finance to invest in their future growth.

“The addition of a reduced Corporation Tax to our investment proposition has the potential to make Northern Ireland the most attractive location in Western Europe for new FDI, based on a combination of tax, talent and value.”

Derry Strabane Diaspora Project

19 November 2015

Details of Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Diaspora Engagement Project, which aims to reach out to Derry and Strabane people across the world to become ambassadors for the region, were revealed by the Mayor, Councillor Elisha McCallion, when she welcomed a delegation from the Global Irish Network today.

The delegation were in Derry as part of the Global Irish Economic Forum event being held in Dublin from 19-21 November. The Global Irish Economic Forum is organised by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

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Welcoming the delegation to the city, the Mayor said the visit was an excellent opportunity for her to connect with our global Diaspora community and encourage them to come home, share their experiences and help us to tell the region’s positive new story.

She explained: “Derry City and Strabane District Council is very keen to connect with our global Diaspora community and engage with them to have a role in shaping our economic and social future. Close to 1,000 highly skilled quality jobs have recently been created in the region presenting us with opportunities for our Diaspora to come home and bring their experience and skills and secure some of these positions. We feel that our Diaspora have an important role to play in our future success story, by assisting us in promoting Derry and Strabane as a good place to invest.”

Last month the Mayor travelled to Boston as part of a NW delegation to promote the region and linking up with the Diaspora was a key element of the trip. The Council has also been working in close partnership with Donegal County Council to learn from their experiences of their hugely successful Diaspora project.

Mayor McCallion said the Council’s membership and close working relationship with Northern Irish Connections is vitally important in allowing the Council to make positive connections and links with partners across the globe. “Thanks to Northern Irish Connections we can link directly with our partners and make real and positive connections with our Diaspora to encourage them to engage with us and help us tell our positive story.

“We have a lot to learn from our colleagues in Donegal who have developed what is now an award winning programme of engaging with Donegal Diaspora across the world. We want to work collectively with all our partners and connections to build on the work we have done so far to spread the word and help deliver a strong investment message.

“We have a very clear message for our Diaspora – we want you to get in touch in with, let us know when you are coming home, share your experience, your skills and your contacts to become an ambassador for the city and district and tell the world about where you come from and what a great place it is to live and work,” she added.

As part of the initiative the Mayor will be hosting a series of welcome events for Diaspora, the first being over the Christmas period when loved ones will be travelling home to spend time with their friends and family. Grandparents and parents across the Council area are being encouraged to spread the word and invite their families who are home for Christmas to come along to the Mayoral Diaspora reception to take place at the Guildhall on 22 December.

“I am really looking forward to the opportunity to invite people from Derry and Strabane who are home for Christmas to come into the Guildhall and be part of our festive celebrations and to share in our new story,” she added.

To find out more about the event and to register diaspora@derrystrabane.com

Successful US convention celebrates increased attention on North West

26 October 2015 
Worcester Chamber of Commerce - Boston TripThe Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor Elisha McCallion has described the recent trip to the Golden Bridges Conference in Boston as an extremely significant visit which has further strengthened business relations with the US, building on the recent commitments of major investors One Source Virtual and Metaverse Mod Squad.

A cross-border delegation including Mayor McCallion, the Mayor of Donegal, Councillor Ciaran Brógan, and the Derry-Strabane and Donegal Council Chief Executives, John Kelpie and Seamus Neely, were accompanied on the trip to Boston by representatives of the Ulster University and Letterkenny Institute of Technolog. During the trip, the delegation launched the new NW Ireland Investment Prospectus which promotes the region with a view to generating inward investment.

A major highlight of the conference was the presentation of a special recognition award for US Company One Source Virtual, who were praised for their recent investment in the city, by bringing 289 jobs and an estimated £12million annual contribution to the local economy.

Mayor with Fionnuala Quinlan Irish Consul General - Boston TripDuring the visit, the delegation met with key partners involved in tourism development, sport, culture, education and the digital economy.
On her return at the weekend, Mayor McCallion said: “We enjoyed some extremely positive engagements during our visit to Boston and I was delighted to meet with so many significant figures in the spheres of politics, business and education. It was fantastic to hear so many influential business leaders discussing the merits of doing business here in the North West.
“The conference offered the perfect opportunity to reaffirm the North West’s commitment to providing our international investors with the ideal platform to do business in terms of educations, skills, infrastructure and lifestyle.”

During the visit representatives of both Derry and Donegal introduced the NW Ireland Investment Prospectus to their US counterparts, stressing the importance of the new Cross-Border Gateway for Business. This partnership approach aims to strategically target international investors based on a strengthened offering combining the assets of both sides of the border.

 

US Convention in North WestA wide range of collaborative projects were discussed throughout the trip, including the development of educational exchanges, regeneration initiatives and key foreign direct investment plans.

 

 

 

Derry voted best Hallowe’en destination in the world!

19th October 15

Halloween Derry LondonderryA leading US publication – USA Today has named Derry as the Best Hallowe’en destination in the world, outdoing the competition from locations such as Transylvania, Sleepy Hollow and Salem, Massachusetts.

When it comes to celebrating the most haunted night of the year, Derry scooped the majority of online votes.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor Elisha McCallion, said the announcement would significantly boost the city’s reputation as a top Hallowe’en visitor experience.

“The event is always a huge visitor attraction in terms of drawing people from all over the world to the city, and it’s a major contributor to the local economy. Topping the poll is an extra endorsement from the public for the fantastic programme of events which takes over the city each year, and the transformation to Scary Derry.

Derry secures Runner-Up position in Foodie Town Competition!

13th October

Foodie DerryDerry has been announced as one of Ireland’s leading Foodie Towns in a prestigious national competition organised by the Restaurants Association of Ireland.

In a close fought battle for the title of Foodie Town of Ireland, the city was marginally beaten by the Burren, who took the top spot on the list of ten shortlisted food destinations. The judges introduced a special runners up category recognising Derry’s performance and the closeness of the final decision.

Derry emerged second out of ten of the country’s best known food tourism hotspots and secured a top position on the fine food map; with a total of 30 towns applying for the coveted title this year.

The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor Elisha McCallion, said she was delighted that the city had been among the front runners to win the coveted title. “I think we put in a fantastic effort and to be placed second is a great endorsement of Derry as an exciting new food tourism destination and one that will really raise the city’s profile in terms of the quality of our restaurants and our local produce.

The outcome of the competition was decided by both an online public vote and the Restaurants Association judges, both having equal weighting in the final decision.

Following the awards the Restaurants Association paid tribute to the local campaign tipping the city as a big contender for next year’s awards, and confirmed that Derry had gained the biggest number of public votes in the competition.