After a four-year absence, the award-winning event has returned with exciting live performances, shop tours, water sports, LegenDerry food trails and much more. The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race also made a welcome return to the Maiden City. This year’s theme is What Lies Beneath, focused on the natural beauty of the oceans, rivers and lakes, and how we can protect marine life.
On Friday, July 22, the River Foyle was illuminated by a Parade of Light featuring the Clipper Race Fleet and the Phoenix Tall Ship, a synchronised fireworks display, and an hour of illumination, performances and installations along the quay from early evening through to midnight.
On Sunday, July 24, the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor Sandra Duffy, joined the crowds on Derry’s quayside to bid farewell to the Clipper Race fleet as they left the city on the final leg of their global adventure. The eleven Clipper 70 racing yachts have been central to the festivities throughout the Foyle Maritime Festival, and there were emotional scenes as they embarked on a beautiful Parade of Sail up the Foyle before heading for the final race start in Greencastle.
https://investderrystrabane.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/InvestDerry_Strabane_logo_small-003.jpg00Adam Goodallhttps://investderrystrabane.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/InvestDerry_Strabane_logo_small-003.jpgAdam Goodall2022-07-29 15:32:132022-07-29 15:32:16The Foyle Maritime Festival returned to the banks of the River Foyle
A worldwide television audience of hundreds of thousands were tuned into Bready last month as the Ireland’s women cricketers played host to Australia and Pakistan in a Tri-Series tournament.
The visiting nations used the event as preparation for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham which featured women’s T20 cricket for the first time.
The Australian side are the number one ranked side in the world and their games with 11th ranked Ireland went to form as they recorded back to back wins.
The games between Pakistan and Australia were unfortunately called off due to rain and although Pakistan defeated Ireland, the Kiwis claimed the series courtesy of their victories over the girls in green.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Sandra Duffy attended the weekend game against Australia and praised everyone involved in hosting the high level international.
“This was a brilliant opportunity for the Ireland women to gain experience against some of the top sides in the world and prepare for their World Cup qualifying games later this year,” she said.
“Bready Cricket Club have gone from strength to strength in recent years and have developed an outstanding venue fit for international fixtures such as this.
“Ireland’s men’s and women’s games at Bready are beamed to homes all over the world on television and online and cement our city’s reputation for playing host to international level events.”
Paul Nelis is founder and director of ChallengeCurve, a quality assurance and software testing consultancy. Originally from Creggan, Paul left the city in 1985 to study a degree in Maths and Computer Science and then pursue a career in IT. He specialised in sales, strategy and development in London before launching ChallengeCurve with his business partner, Chris Bean. This month marks a year since the business established its centre of excellence in Ebrington Square’s AMP building, where it now has a team of 19 people.
How did ChallengeCurve start out?
I’ve known Chris practically all my career. At our previous organisation we both got promoted through to Director level but we were getting further away from being “hands-on” and enjoying our work, so we decided to found ChallengeCurve to work at senior level with organisations and advise them on their QA and testing frameworks and processes.
Usually, we work with FinTechs and challenger banks. We help get them live, hand over to permanent members of staff and then disengage. We liked the cut and thrust of launching a new bank; it’s very exciting. But we decided, instead of leaving behind a good relationship after all that hard work, why don’t we pitch a long-term managed QA & Testing service? To enable to do this we needed to hire our own staff.
Why did you choose Derry as its headquarters?
I live in Reading and have spent most of my working life commuting in and out of London. Pre-pandemic, we always had to be on the client site. But Covid-19 and IR35 [a legal change to off-payroll working rules] created a tectonic shift in ways of working. Applications such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams were also coming of age to enable remote working to become a norm. For ChallengeCurve, this meant we didn’t have to be based in a costly business capital such as London or Dublin.
We considered a few different locations, but we were won over by Derry. We met with Rosalind Young, investment manager at Derry City and Strabane District Council, and chief executive John Kelpie to find out, ‘Has Derry got a talent pool to support our business sustainably, is there business network, what support mechanisms are in place, what’s the WIFI infrastructure, office logistics – can we do this?’ The Council were absolutely brilliant.
The Council organised a mini tour of the city for Chris and Yann Gloaguen (our business advisor) and myself. Over the years I’d always come back to visit with my wife, who’s from Yorkshire, and our children, who liked getting over to spend time with their cousins. But Chris and Yann had never been before. Walking over the Peace Bridge and visiting Ebrington Square, they were both amazed at Derry’s potential.
How did you start building your team?
We are self-financed, we don’t have any venture capital, so it was a bit of a risk. But as a consultancy, people are our business, so we have to invest in them.
We built our own four-week intensive training programme in testing and quality assurance with the North West Regional College, funded nine people through it and supplied them with MacBooks and iPhones to test our client’s online banking application.
The candidates were an eclectic bunch – we had a former barman, a taxi driver, and a costume designer from Game of Thrones. At the end of the course, we decided to make Derry our centre of excellence and employed all of them as consultants. We then successfully pitched our managed service to Nomo, a Kuwait-based banking app in English and Arabic, targeted at high-net-worth individuals. Our team bridges the gap between auditor, the business and IT by providing the evidence that the banking platform is fit for purpose.
We currently have 19 people in Derry, based in the AMP business incubator in Ebrington Square: 17 consultants, an office manager, and a sales and marketing consultant.
ChallengeCurve is one of many thriving tech companies in the North West. How helpful has it been to be a part of Derry’s tech hub?
By basing ourselves in Derry, ChallengeCurve can contribute in our small way to help Derry punch above its weight. There’s a culture of networking and collaboration here which we have fostered from day one. Since we moved into the AMP, we’ve given business to a local web design agency, engaged a local law firm, a local head-hunter, and a Derry accountancy firm. We’re doing work for another start-up from the building, who is looking at the traceability of biofuels, and we put money into the local hospitality sector through hotel bookings and social events.
What Ryan Williams, founder of the AMP, has done is brilliant. We need those office spaces, and entrepreneurs and visionaries like him to create the infrastructure and encourage more people to stay in the city or come back and build successful companies here.
What do you do in your spare time?
I was going through my fourth midlife crisis and decided to get into my running big time! I find it very therapeutic, and love running marathons. My children persuaded me to try and get into the Guinness World Records at the London Marathon. I managed to break the world record for fastest male marathon runner dressed as a nun! If I’m doing something, that’s it, I’m going to do it to the best of my ability. I don’t do things half-heartedly.
I enjoy coming back to Derry regularly. The quality of life in the North West is a big factor; your money goes a lot further, we have great beaches, and I think the stigma of the Troubles is becoming a fading memory for many. I try and catch the occasional Derry City FC game too.
What advice would you have to others considering moving to – or investing in – Derry?
On a general point – don’t be afraid to ask for help as everyone from the local businesses, community and institutions are keen to see greater investment in the area and they will be very supportive. At a strategic level, I would recommend engaging with the local chamber of commerce and the council.https://www.challengecurve.com
https://investderrystrabane.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/InvestDerry_Strabane_logo_small-003.jpg00Adam Goodallhttps://investderrystrabane.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/InvestDerry_Strabane_logo_small-003.jpgAdam Goodall2022-07-14 19:55:172022-07-29 15:23:42‘We’ve been blown away by Derry’ – Paul Nelis, ChallengeCurve
A much-loved Derry bookshop has been crowned Business/Entrepreneur of the year at the North West Business Awards.
Little Acorns Bookstore, located on Foyle Street, took home the final award at the annual ceremony, which recognises and celebrates the achievements of local businesses.
Among those who paid tribute to Little Acorns and its proprietor, Jenni Doherty, on the night were Derry Girls creator Lisa McGee.
“Creative writers inspire each other and drive our imagination. Most successful films come from books and the existence of independent book stores keep literature alive and are cornerstones for communities,” she said.
“Without places like this, many would not get the opportunity or confidence to create and inspire, and that is a catalyst to successfully making films and TV programmes that can promote our city and drive its economy.”
Other winners on the night included Find Insurance, named Small Business of the Year, retailer Ferry Clever, awarded Best Retailer and Best Use of Marketing and Social Media, and Best Western Plus White Horse Hotel, named Best Hotel and Best Restaurant.
https://investderrystrabane.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/InvestDerry_Strabane_logo_small-003.jpg00Adam Goodallhttps://investderrystrabane.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/InvestDerry_Strabane_logo_small-003.jpgAdam Goodall2022-07-14 19:43:362022-07-29 14:32:09Local firms honoured at North West Business Awards
https://investderrystrabane.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/InvestDerry_Strabane_logo_small-003.jpg00Adam Goodallhttps://investderrystrabane.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/InvestDerry_Strabane_logo_small-003.jpgAdam Goodall2022-07-14 19:35:032022-07-29 14:33:52Hit ‘The Spot’, Derry’s new street art gallery
Strabane’s Summer Jamm made a welcome return to the streets in June.
The event saw live music, traditional games, amusements, cultural activities, a petting zoo and circus skills performed across a range of venues. Meanwhile, foodies were treated to a range of sweet and savoury delights at the Castle Street Food Quarter.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Sandra Duffy: “Summer Jamm is always a great draw for visitors, and it’s fantastic to see the event return with all the benefits it brings to the local economy.”
This year, Strabane BID collaborated with businesses on a special Love Strabane event, showcasing the best of Strabane has to offer as well as one-off promotions on local products and services.
Derry’s Walled City Market has been named local attraction of the year at a prestigious Europe-wide travel event.
The market, which takes place on the first Saturday of every month in Guildhall Square, was praised by the Travel and Hospitality European Travel Awards programme for its uniqueness, customer care, and quality of facilities.
It was selected from over 22,000 nominations, with judges saying the chosen winners ‘reflect the very best in travel and hospitality standards’.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Sandra Duffy, congratulated all those involved in the Market’s success.
“The market offers an ideal platform for the best of local food and craft and it wouldn’t be possible without the fantastic traders that we have operating at the WCM each month,” she said.
“Whether it’s LegenDerry food or unique gifts, there’s always so much to enjoy for locals and visitors alike.”
https://investderrystrabane.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/InvestDerry_Strabane_logo_small-003.jpg00Adam Goodallhttps://investderrystrabane.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/InvestDerry_Strabane_logo_small-003.jpgAdam Goodall2022-07-14 19:20:002022-07-29 14:43:21European travel award for Walled City Market
Derry has been hailed as the best place to live in Northern Ireland in a survey by The Sunday Times.
The newspaper praised the city as “cool, credible and cheap” in its annual UK-wide list, highlighting the benefits of “years of investment” and the millions of pounds spent regenerating the town centre.
Judges added: “Younger buyers are moving in, attracted by the city’s brisk outward-facing air and its closeness to the border with the Republic.”
The seaside villages of Ballycastle and Helen’s Bay also made the list of Northern Ireland’s top locations.
Meanwhile, Derry was also named as having the best community spirit in the region, in a survey from the retailer Spar.
The Maiden City came out on top of the NI communities, and placed seventh in the whole of the UK.
Around 64% of those surveyed described themselves as happy living in their community, with 53% of those from Northern Ireland – the highest in the UK – adding that their community gave them a sense of belonging.
https://investderrystrabane.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/InvestDerry_Strabane_logo_small-003.jpg00Adam Goodallhttps://investderrystrabane.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/InvestDerry_Strabane_logo_small-003.jpgAdam Goodall2022-07-14 19:14:322022-07-29 14:44:23‘Cool, credible, cheap’ Derry named one of best places to live in UK
Derry has been named regional winner in the UK’s Top Towns for Business competition.
Locations across the UK were shortlisted on factors including connectivity, dedicated space, retail space, networks and leadership in the competition, run by Enterprise Nation in partnership with Dell UK and Intel UK.
After a public vote, Derry came out as Top Town for Business in Northern Ireland.
The awards aimed to shine a spotlight on the UK’s towns and cities that nurture entrepreneurial spirit to make a lasting impact on local communities and the economy.
https://i0.wp.com/investderrystrabane.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/Top-town-for-business.jpg?fit=1030%2C579&ssl=15791030Adam Goodallhttps://investderrystrabane.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/InvestDerry_Strabane_logo_small-003.jpgAdam Goodall2022-07-14 19:13:412022-07-29 14:45:45Derry voted top town for business
The Taoiseach Micheál Martin has visited Derry to discover the positive impact the North West Regional Development Group is having on regional growth.
Attendees at the Guildhall meeting were updated about ongoing work between Derry City and Strabane District Council, Donegal County Council, regional strategic partners and central government to deliver economic growth, investment and environmental and social cohesion for the region.
Senior council and government representatives discussed with the Taoiseach a range of regional priorities and options for scaling up co-operation and development work on both sides of the border.
Delegates heard how, with the Irish Government’s continued support and North-South co-operation, the cross-border North West City Region can boost innovation, create jobs and contribute to a sustainable, balanced regional economy on the island of Ireland.
Members re-emphasised to the Taoiseach the Irish government’s role in supporting efforts to improve road, air, rail and sea connectivity of the region and in supporting sustainable ‘green’ growth.
Chief executive of Derry City and Strabane District Council, John Kelpie, said the meeting highlighted both Councils’ shared goals.
He added: “Whether it is in education, business or tourism, the two Councils and Government are working collaboratively to ensure what we achieve is sustainable and brings benefits and opportunity to everyone.”
https://investderrystrabane.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/InvestDerry_Strabane_logo_small-003.jpg00Adam Goodallhttps://investderrystrabane.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/InvestDerry_Strabane_logo_small-003.jpgAdam Goodall2022-07-14 19:08:312022-07-29 14:47:47Taoiseach meets NW Development Fund
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