Ulster University gets £5m donation to boost data analytics

Ulster University is to boost its prominence in the field of data analytics and artificial intelligence following a £5 million donation.

The money is to be spent on the establishment of the Dr George Moore chair in data analytics. The late Dr Moore was described by the university as “one of the founding fathers” of the data analytics industry.

Professor Paddy Nixon, vice-chancellor, Ulster University, with Angela Moore, who made the donation.

Professor Paddy Nixon, vice-chancellor, Ulster University, with Angela Moore, who made the donation.

The donation was made by Dr Moore’s wife, Angela Moore. Recruitment for the role has begun and the selection process is ongoing.

“The chair will be a stellar, world-class academic, who will lead an innovative research team responding dynamically to the real-world needs of data analytics,” said Ulster University.

“In recognition of Mrs Moore’s gift, Ulster University will recruit an associated research fellow and three PhD students who will contribute to revolutionising global AI and data analytics research.”

Dr George Moore, born in Co Louth, left Ireland in 1972 and established Targus Information, a world leading data analytics service provider, whose technologies are used by many Fortune 500 companies.

Dr Moore predicted the explosion of information that would follow the creation of the internet and he recognised the commercial value of harnessing such information though data analytics.

Ulster University awarded Dr George Moore an honorary doctorate in 2005 in recognition of his “outstanding contribution to society” and his global impact on the field of data analytics.

Fleming Agri to create 34 new jobs in the North West

Londonderry based manufacturer, Fleming Agri Products has announced it is making a £4 million investment and creating 34 new jobs in the North West.

The company is a leading manufacturer of agricultural and ground maintenance machinery. Making the announcement, George Fleming, Chairman of Fleming Agri-Products said:“This £4million investment will help us to meet our strategic growth plans and boost sales in external markets.

“Over the past few years, we have developed new products which have helped to significantly improve our sales performance. With this new investment and the addition of 34 new staff, we hope to break into new markets, including the US and expand our existing sales in Europe.y

“Our main goal is to increase sales in external markets and put in place the necessary resources and infrastructure to enable us to service the increased demand for our products. This investment is a major commitment to the North West region and to our existing staff to help us build long-term sustainability and we look forward to welcoming new people on board to help us drive the future of our business.”

Invest NI has offered the company £220,000 of support towards the new roles which include Production Operatives, Sales Executives and Managers. The 34 staff will be in place by 2020, with 15 of the roles already in place.

Des Gartland, Executive Director for Regional Business, Invest NI said:“Fleming Agri Products is a highly regarded business in the North West area with a strong brand reputation. We have offered Fleming Agri wide ranging support over the last number of years, helping the company improve its performance and strengthen its business.

Pictured (L-R) are Des Gartland, Executive Director for Regional Business, Invest NI and George Fleming, Chairman of Fleming Agri-Products.

Pictured (L-R) are Des Gartland, Executive Director for Regional Business, Invest NI and George Fleming, Chairman of Fleming Agri-Products.

“The company’s pragmatic approach has proven extremely successful and it is great to see an indigenous company reinvesting in the local area. The new jobs being created will generate over £700,000 in additional annual salaries for the Northern Ireland economy which is a great boost for the Derry City & Strabane District Council area.”

This £4million investment will help us to meet our strategic growth plans and boost sales

Alchemy Technology Services has announced it is setting up a European Centre of Excellence in Derry. It will provide software implementation and technology consultancy to the UK and European insurance sector. The company will provide certified staff to System Integrators, Software Providers and insurance companies for the implementation of digital solutions across the insurance industry. To meet this demand the company aims to recruit 256 staff.

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Announcing the significant investment, Alastair Hamilton, CEO, Invest Northern Ireland said: “The Alchemy management team has extensive knowledge of the insurance sector and in delivering transformation projects. They have identified a gap in the market to provide a service to the insurance industry and believe Londonderry is the right place to find the talent to meet this need. “Alchemy is planning to create the new roles in software implementation and technology consultancy over the next three years. The majority of the roles will be customer facing with the opportunity to work on projects right across Europe. “With average salaries in the mid-£20k range, and good opportunities for progression, these are roles that will suit college and university students, as well as graduates. “Once the project is fully implemented it will generate over £6.5 million in annual salaries, a real economic boost for Northern Ireland, and the North West specifically.” The government has offered nearly £2.3m of funding to support the creation of the new roles and secure the project for Northern Ireland.

John Harkin, Director and Founder, Alchemy said: “Insurance companies in the UK, and across Europe, are making an unprecedented investment in the digital transformation of their core systems and processes to respond to the changing demands within their marketplace. There is a real shortage of specialist skills to respond to this upsurge in digital transformation projects across the insurance industry. We plan to help meet that demand by bringing new talent into the industry. “We look forward to working with the Department for the Economy’s Assured Skills Training programme to recruit business and technology oriented graduates and college students with good communication and interpersonal skills to fill these customer facing roles. “I am originally from Derry, and have made frequent visits here in recent months as we assessed different locations for this investment. I have met with the colleges and university, and numerous students and have been impressed. I am confident that this is the right place to set up our business and find the talent we need.”

90 new jobs at E&I Engineering ‘a massive boost’ for Derry City and Strabane Region

E&I Engineering is to recruit 90 new staff with €9.5million investment and support of Enterprise Ireland. Donegal TD and Minister Joe McHugh said today the creation of 90 jobs at Burnfoot close to the Derry-Donegal border is a “massive boost and vote of confidence” in the region.

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E&I was founded by Derry businessman Philip O’Doherty in 1986 and is currently one of the region’s largest private sector employers, with a workforce of 1,200 people hailing from both sides of the border.

“It was a privilege to be in E&I Engineering this morning to see the success story that has been built up in this part of Inishowen and now has a presence in 40 countries worldwide,” the Government Chief Whip said. “I would also like to thank An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar for coming to Co Donegal and making E&I his first stop on a busy day. “E&I is at the top of its game. Enormous credit has to go to the likes of the company’s managing director Philip O’Doherty and the management team and workers whose drive and skills have taken the company to compete and win on the global stage. “And it says something about Donegal and Inishowen that the company are still striving to make their base in Ireland bigger and better.”

The E&I investment comes after Alchemy Technology Services yesterday announced 256 jobs for Derry yesterday, which in turn followed Danske Bank’s announcement of 67 jobs for the city last week.

Danske Bank creates 67 jobs in Londonderry

Danske Bank has created 67 jobs in Londonderry at a new customer protection centre.

The roles, 25 of which have already been filled, will include quality assurance managers and analysts.

Invest Northern Ireland has offered Danske Bank £234,500 towards the creation of the jobs.

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Once fully operational, the centre will generate nearly £1.5m annually for the local economy in salaries, according to Danske Bank.

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Stephen Matchett, Danske Bank’s chief financial officer, said: “This is exciting news”.

“We also had great support from Invest NI.

“The centre will be there for due diligence. How customers operate on their accounts is vital information that we need to be across.

“Cyber crime is very important to us. The centre will have direct contact to the customer.”

He said the typical salary would be in the region of £17,000 or £18,000.

Local tech entrepreneur wins UK Gamechanger of the Year Award

Robert O’Brien, CEO of leading cyber tech firm MetaCompliance, has won the UK Gamechanger of the Year Award at the ACQ5 Global Awards 2018.

Robert O’Brien, CEO of leading cyber tech firm MetaCompliance

Robert O’Brien, CEO of leading cyber tech firm MetaCompliance

Having successfully grown and sold a number of technology firms in the past, Robert is an excellent example of a modern entrepreneur, and his achievements have been recognised by the recent award win.

The ACQ5 Global Awards recognise the most outstanding organisations and professionals across the globe and celebrates the best in achievement, ability and performance.

MetaCompliance has been developing software and content for the Cyber Security and Compliance market since 2005 and is experiencing a phenomenal phase of growth as worldwide demand for its products increases.

The massive growth in cyber-crime has meant that cyber security and compliance have now become key priorities for organisations as they realise the massive implications that a data breach can have on their business.

MetaCompliance has created a product range that directly addresses the specific challenges that arise from cyber threats and corporate governance, and the company has helped over 600 organisations around the world stay cyber secure and compliant.

Clients of the company include BUPA, ITN, Jaguar LandRover, Vodafone, Volkswagen, ESB, Schroeders, Dentons, Top Oil, Jamie Oliver Ltd and one of the largest Banks in the world, with a network of over 360,000 staff in 172 countries.

Robert has been instrumental in driving the business forward and ensuring the company remains at the forefront of innovation.

With more than 30 years’ experience in the IT industry, Robert is a serial technology entrepreneur with a wealth of experience in executing and developing strategies for high growth businesses.

Robert commented on the award win and the plans for the business going forward: “I’m delighted to win the UK Gamechanger of the Year Award, it’s a real buzz!

“Our purpose is to help organisations keep their staff safe online and protect their brand and reputation.

“As disrupters in our industry, we recognise that Cyber Security is hard for ordinary people and we are relentless in our vision of making this palatable, whilst ensuring people are equipped with the skills to protect themselves online.”

The award win continues the winning streak for the company after it recently won the award for the Most Innovative Cyber Security eLearning solutions, by Corporate Vision Magazine.

To support its continued growth, the company recently announced a major recruitment drive of 30 graduates for its Derry office and is still welcoming applications across all disciplines including software development, software testing, sales, marketing, HR, support, design and motion graphics.

Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race: Sir Robin praises Derry-Londonderry

Legendary sailor Sir Robin Knox-Johnston has praised Derry-Londonderry as the Northern Irish city embraces the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race for a fourth consecutive visit.

Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race - Sir Robin, Ralph Morton from the Seattle Sports Commission, and the Visit Seattle team. © Martin McKeown

Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race – Sir Robin, Ralph Morton from the Seattle Sports Commission, and the Visit Seattle team. © Martin McKeown

Sir Robin, the Founder and Chairman of the Clipper Race, has sailed into the walled city from Les Sables d’Olonne, France, where he was celebrating the 50th anniversary of when he began the epic voyage that would see him become the first person to sail solo and non-stop around the globe.

Sir Robin says: “It was lovely returning to Derry-Londonderry and heading up the Foyle, I’m just disappointed that I didn’t beat the entire Clipper Race fleet in!

“I think the partnership we’ve had with the city is why the public give us such great support. This is a place where the city got behind the event and when you get that combination of an enthusiastic city and the spectacle of the boats and crew, you can do so much more. And I think the result has been a major event – I give the city of Derry-Londonderry full credit for that success.”

Fresh from their win into Derry-Londonderry, the Visit Seattle team and Skipper Nikki Henderson cheered Sir Robin into the Foyle Port Marina. Nikki is the youngest ever Skipper in Clipper Race history and the victory means her Visit Seattle team is now in the box-seat to take out the overall Clipper Race win.

Sir Robin said: “Nikki’s performance was just fantastic, especially as I had Ralph Morton from the Seattle Sports Commission in my crew for the sail to Derry-Londonderry and he was following it avidly.”

This is the first visit to Derry-Londonderry and Northern Ireland for Ralph, who played a pivotal role in staging the successful race Stopover in Seattle earlier in the race. He said: “I’ve heard so much about the city and the Foyle Maritime Festival and it is so exciting to think about all the things I’m going to see. And when you go to a town you want to experience their culture and sailing is a big part of who Derry-Londonderry is.

“Being a Clipper Race Host Port is a great way to welcome visitors to your city but also gives you an opportunity to interact with other places around the world.”

INVEST NI, TOURISM IRELAND AND THE NI BUREAU PROMOTE DERRY-LONDONDERRY AS A KEY DESTINATION FOR TRADE AND TOURISM


Derry City and Strabane District Council [DCSDC] utilised the Clipper Race stopover in New York to promote itself as a ‘City and Region of Opportunities’ across both the leisure and business tourism industries. In partnership with Invest NI, Tourism Ireland and the NI Bureau the event’s audience consisted of businesses, investors, travel and trade operators from the tri-state area, travel media and Ireland NW diaspora.

The objective of the event was centred around tourism promotion and development, building upon DCSDC’s association with the Clipper Race where by Derry-Londonderry is the a Host Port Partner. The Clipper 2015-16 Race and Foyle Maritime Festival 2016 attracted 163,000 visitors across the nine-day event, 25 per cent of which originated from outside of Northern Ireland which provided a global platform for the city to be promoted as a key destination for tourism. It also resulted in an economic boost of £5.1 million GBP [£3.46 million attributed directly to the festival] to the city.

Attended by the new Mayor John Boyle who was part of the delegation that travelled to New York in conjunction with the race, the event also provided an opportunity for potential investments, engaging with New York businesses to promote DCSDC as an investment location. Another contributing factor for the event was to strengthen international relations, raising the profile of DCSDC and build its diaspora network in New York.

Speaking about the event and visit to New York, Mayor John Boyle said: “The Partnership with the Clipper Race provides us with an international platform from which to generate extensive media exposure for our city and brand in international markets, to promote tourism and to stimulate trade and investment. I was delighted to be part of the delegation that travelled to the US for the Clipper Race stopover to continue with the excellent work that is being done on the ground to develop business links, put job creation and investment to the fore and promote our unique tourism and cultural offering to a new and captive audience”

Guests were formally welcomed to the event by Alison Metcalfe, Executive Vice President, USA & Canada at Tourism Ireland. Norman Houston, Director at Northern Ireland Civil Service then provided a valuable insight into the work the NI Bureau does before the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane spoke around his new role and the global impact the Clipper Race has provided Derry-Londonderry. Clipper Race skipper Conall Morrison, who is local to Derry-Londonderry, was invited to speak around his experience as a Race Skipper and his feelings around sailing into his home town on board a Clipper Race yacht during the Foyle Maritime Festival.

The event raised the profile of the Walled City of Derry where the Atlantic Way meets the Causeway Coast, promoting the city region as a connected, competitive and cohesive region positioned as a gateway to the UK, Republic of Ireland and numerous European markets.

Derry based online learning firm expands into Scotland

Londonderry-based firm Learning Pool has confirmed the acquisition of Scottish company MediaCorp for an undisclosed sum.The e-learning business, which employs 140 people in Derry, Belfast and Nottingham, will now incorporate 12 new members of staff at MediaCorp’s Hamilton office.

Paul McElvaney (left) of Learning Pool with MediaCorp’s James Marshall

Paul McElvaney (left) of Learning Pool with MediaCorp’s James Marshall

The Scottish online learning and e-portfolio provider was founded and is still run by James Marshall.

Learning Pool said that the move would strengthen the company’s footprint in Scotland and increase its presence in the manufacturing market, which it considers key to expanding its product offering.

In its latest accounts, Learning Pool reported turnover of £7.6m and pre-tax profits of £2.3m for the year ending April 2017.

Co-founder Paul McElvaney said the acquisition would push its user numbers past two million.

The takeover sees Learning Pool enter the apprenticeship training market, availing of the Scottish firm’s services, which help companies manage qualification and apprenticeship programmes.

Mr McElvaney added: “It’s a significant acquisition for us.

“It gets us past 550 customers and two million learners on our platform. Plus, the acquisition opens up the apprenticeship market, which in Great Britain is an exciting market and something a lot of our customers are interested in.”

He said his company was on course to grow by 20% in 2018, with further acquisitions in the pipeline.

“The business plan for Learning Pool is very much focused on growth,” he added.

“We intend to grow by 20% organically this year and we have a pipeline for acquisition that is pretty interesting, but there is nothing imminent.

“The next six months is about us bedding in the MediaCorp team and about integrating as a team.

“We’re delighted to welcome James and the MediaCorp team into Learning Pool.

“We’ve been impressed by what they have achieved and I’m delighted to be working with an extended team in Scotland who share our passion for customer service and creating positive business impact.

“The apprenticeship market is clearly a growth area and many of our customers are looking for solutions to help manage the complexity of delivering apprenticeship programmes.”

It is the latest acquisition for Learning Pool.

The company bought over Mind Click in Nottingham two years ago.

Executive Office opens the doors of £1.6 million state of the art office accommodation in Derry

The Executive Office today officially opened Building 104 on the Ebrington site which has undergone a £1.6 million transformation.

Speaking at the announcement in building 104, Dr. Mark Browne said: “The Executive Office is committed to the development of the Ebrington site for the benefit of the North West.

“Building 104 is an important element of the wider programme of work and this multi-million refurbishment, coupled with new tenants moving in immediately, is testament to the build quality of the work that we have carried out.

“Up to 16 new business start-ups, and employment opportunities for a minimum of 40 people can be accommodated in the refurbished building.

“I welcome the new tenants Enterprise North West who through their efforts will facilitate the growth of new SME businesses, increase employment and bring significant economic and social benefits to Ebrington and the wider North West. Enterprise North West have signed a ten year lease so we look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship in the coming years. I wish Brian O’Neill from Enterprise North West every success for the future.

“We are making considerable progress on the Ebrington site and although a number of discussions are at a commercially sensitive stage we hope to be able to announce more good news for Ebrington in the near future.”

Brian O’Neill, Business Development Manager with Enterprise North West said: “This is a proud day for Enterprise North West. From the early design stage our team have collaborated with The Executive Office to deliver what we feel is the best start-up space in this area.

“The Executive Office have been a pleasure to partner with and for us it’s now all about filling this space and creating jobs. We work very closely with Derry City & Strabane District Council, as well as many other stakeholders, to provide support and workspace for start-up and existing companies. 104 Ebrington Square gives us a vital footprint on the Ebrington site.