Derry City and Strabane District Council are working with Ignite NI and alongside other partners, Invest NI and Ulster University, to bring an exciting one-day virtual start-up bootcamp for founders/early stage companies specifically for this Council area.

The bootcamp is open to anyone who wants to build a successful start-up of scale.  It will be delivered through a one-day online course on Wednesday, 25th November by Ignite NI, who will bring their expertise along with the shared experiences of their NI Propel alumni companies and mentors.Through a series of workshops, Q&As and 1:1 chats, the start-up bootcamp will provide you with the building blocks of a successful start-up.By the end of the session, individuals and teams will be well on their way with a growth mindset. 

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Brian Tierney, welcomed the bootcamp.”This has been a particularly tough period for our local business community so, as a Council, we have been working with partners to grow and support the entrepreneur ecosystem within the district, and this bootcamp is an example of that.”We want to stimulate high growth potential within our business community and give entrepreneurs a platform from which to build, and through this bootcamp those individuals and groups will be equipped with the necessary supports and tools they need to grow.”The bootcamp will also help us build a network of start-ups within Derry and Strabane which is exactly what we want to see as we move forward.”If you want to build a successful start-up of scale, whether you are a student, an academic or employed, an individual or a team; if you have an idea or concept or it is in early stage development but don’t know how to take it forward, this is for you.

Kevin O’Connor, Council’s Head of Business, added: “To build a successful start-up, you need to have the right growth mindset from the start.”Through this start-up bootcamp we want to provide the building blocks, the knowledge and the encouragement entrepreneurs need to take the right first steps.”To apply to take part in the start-up bootcamp, please visit https://airtable.com/shrNrEMYuMSU9KkMR

The application process will close on Wednesday, 18th November 2020.

Five new entrepreneurs and start-ups have each received £10,000 from Innovate UK, the government’s innovation agency, as part of the first Catalyst North West Co-Founders programme.

The funding will help the winning teams pursue their technology, engineering and science ideas and contribute to the thriving innovation ecosystem growing in the North West region.

Although based at Catalyst Innovation Centre at Fort George in Derry, the Co-Founders cohort completed a part-time online programme one night a week for 16 weeks.

The five ideas which have secured funding include technology for medical student training, an innovative development for cat’s eyes on the road, a digital platform for golf caddies, a social fintech solution and a digital platform for exercise and wellbeing.

Catalyst at Fort George opened in 2014 and is fully occupied by 32 companies and 250 people working in the innovation and knowledge economy.

Find out more about The Co-Founders programme at www.co-founders.co.

A new medical training school in Londonderry has been given the go-ahead.

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill confirmed the graduate medical school at Ulster University’s Magee campus will open in September 2021.

The only medical school in Northern Ireland at present is at Queen’s University in Belfast.

The deputy first minister said the school will be “instrumental in the regeneration of the region”.

“This is a hugely important investment decision for the north west, and it adds to the executive’s recent announcement on the Derry and Strabane city deal and inclusive future fund,” she said.

Ms O’Neill said the first 70 students would start their training in the north west in 2021.

The British Medical Association (BMA) said the announcement was “a very welcome piece of positive news”.

“The Covid-19 pandemic brought the chronic medical staffing gaps in our health service into sharp focus, as the enlisting of retired doctors and early graduation of final year medical students showed,” the BMA’s NI chair Dr Tom Black said.

He added: “This new school will mean more medical students graduating annually in Northern Ireland and then staying on, not only to treat our growing and aging population but to support our health service should such a pandemic like this ever happen again.”

Plans for a medical school in Derry were first mooted in the mid-2000s, and submitted to the General Medical Council in 2016.

In May 2019, the UK government announced £100m for the Derry and Strabane city deal.

The bulk of that, and match funding from Stormont announced earlier this month, has been earmarked for Ulster University’s expansion in the north west, including the medical school.

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood welcomed the announcement from the deputy first minister but said further detail is needed.

“We need a guarantee from the executive and from Ulster University that the first students will enrol starting in September 2021 and we need to see a plan for university expansion beyond that.

“The medical school is the first step, not the end product,” the Foyle MP said.

Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Karen Mullan said the school’s go ahead is “a major boost for Ulster University and for Derry” while DUP MLA Gary Middleton tweeted that “we must now work towards students being accepted from 2021”.

Derry City and Strabane District Council has announced another initiative to help local businesses navigate the current economic difficulties casued by COVID-19.

The 100 Day Consolidation Programme, which is part of Council’s ongoing Business Boost initiative, will provide businesses with their own set of cashflow projections for the next 100 days, that will highlight their short-term cash requirements over this period. This Programme is part-funded by Derry City and Strabane District Council, Invest NI and the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Jobs and Growth [2014 – 2020] Programme.

The programme will be delivered remotely and safely using modern technologies. This will allow business owners to participate fully, irrespective of whether they are working from home or from their normal workplace.There are 12 places available for the programme, and the schedule will involve two remote workshops with a step-by-step guide to building a 100 day cashflow projection model for your business, and engaging with key stakeholders like the bank manager, HMRC, customers, suppliers, utilities suppliers, staff etc.

There will also be two and a half days of bespoke remote mentoring for new Business Boost participants or one day of bespoke remote mentoring for previous/existing Business Boost participants to assist them to apply the key learning points to their own business.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Michaela Boyle said the programme was an excellent opportunity for local businesses to seek guidance at a difficult time.

”I think what we are all looking for at this time is clarity, and that is obviously particularly important for our local business owners.The 100 Day Consolidation Programme will allow them to develop a clear picture of the extent to which they currently have working capital in their business.It will project with accuracy how the cash position of their business is likely to fluctuate over the next three critical months – and what implications that will have for their business in terms of its survival prospects – and, furthermore, businesses can then identify key steps that they can potentially take to free up cash over the next 100 days. Many small businesses owners have found themselves thrust unexpectedly into a tough position, and we want to help them address this difficult situation as best they can to get positive results for all involved.”

Kevin O’Connor, Head of Business with Derry City and Strabane District Council, said:

“We want to ensure that businesses know what they need to do to optimise their cash position and to then actually take positive steps to make that happen. These businesses are the backbone of our District, and it’s important that they can develop as clear a picture as possible of what the immediate future will look like for them, so they can address and navigate any challenges that may arise.Council’s Business team are working around the clock to provide up-to-date advice, guidance and assistance, and this programme is a great opportunity for our local businesses to seek further direction.”

The Programme will be delivered by highly experienced business consultants who have worked with hundreds of businesses, ranging from micro enterprises to some of the largest companies in Northern Ireland.Eligible businesses must be based in the Derry City and Strabane Council area and employ less than 50 people.

To register, simply contact Jacqui at Full Circle – jacqui@fullcircle.eu.com to express an interest in the programme. The deadline for submission of expressions of interest is Monday 15th April at 12pm. 

North West Regional College (NWRC) has secured a huge €1.6 million of Erasmus+ funding, giving staff and students opportunities to study and work across Europe during the next 24 months.

The funding will be used for staff and students from many of the college’s curriculum areas to travel to partner countries including Germany, Norway, Sweden, Finland, France, Italy and even Reunion Island, and undertake training and development programmes designed around specific curriculum, entrepreneurship, leadership, innovation and creativity.

Staff will also participate in strategic partnership projects collaborating on innovative practices for vocational training and education with a number of key European partners.

Bronagh Fikri, NWRC European and International Projects Officer, said the college was also pleased to announce its success in obtaining the Erasmus+ VET Mobility Charter. Currently held by just 14 organisations in the UK, the charter is awarded to organisations with a track record in organising and delivering high-quality mobility projects.

The €1.6 funding boost was revealed at a special event celebrating the success of the college’s Erasmus+ training mobilities and collaborations across European networks in 2018/2019.

During the event, students who have taken part in a range of different mobilities across the world received awards recognising their various achievements.

A local delegation of commercial, educational and local government leaders have attended a seminar in London to discuss the factors shaping business growth as we enter 2020.

The event, hosted by the Mayor of London’s official promotional agency, London & Partners, brought together leaders in financial and professional services and technology to debate how innovation is reshaping the business environment.

Attendees heard from a panel of specialist industry speakers including Danny Corrigan, CEO, ED&F Man Capital Markets CEEMA Ltd Cyprus, John Healy, MD, Allstate NI, and Brendan Bradley, Co-founder, Seismic Foundry.

They addressed a range of business challenges including Future Technologies and Skills, and the Global View, considering the impact of new megatrends in technology and data.

The event is the latest in a series of networking opportunities reflecting the close local links with the City of London.

Chief Executive of Derry City and Strabane District Council, John Kelpie, headed up the delegation and said he was confident this close collaboration would continue for years to come.

He added: “We want to get across the message that the NW City Region is open for business with an exceptional offering of skills and talent that is second to none.”

The event pre-empted a special visit to Derry by a group from the City of London, led by newly vested Lord Mayor of the City of London, Alderman William Russell.

A Health Innovation Hub promoting innovative solutions to support living well independently has been launched at the North West Regional College (NWRC).

The Design Innovation Assisted Living Centre (DIAL) in the heart of the college’s Strand Road campus, is the first of its kind in Northern Ireland and provides a space where education, business, and the health and social care sector can work together.

The state-of-the-art facility is also home to NWRC’s Academy of Enhanced Care and Clinical Skills providing flexible and bespoke learning for the professional workforce, informal carers, and the community.

Geraldine Lavery, Department Head of Health and Social Care at NWRC, said the DIAL centre will make a significant impact to the lives of local people and their carers who are facing the challenge of living independently at home.

She added: “DIAL is a health innovation hub with a focus to promote collaboration, learning and innovation so that improved practice models and solutions are developed that will support independence and a quality of life for greater numbers of people to live well at home.” 

The opening of DIAL comes with the news that NWRC has been designated as Health & Social Care ‘Curriculum Hub’ for the further education sector in Northern Ireland. As the leadership College for NI, NWRC will lead the HSC sector in curriculum development for Health & Social Care from level 1 to 5.

With a high spec home simulation centre, DIAL will operate as a demonstration centre for solutions to support independence, ranging from specialised equipment, e-health, and smart bespoke digital including Alexa and Eye Gaze. It also contains a dissemination and conference facility with leading edge video/audio capture technology, external live streaming capability, product demonstrations and regional learning networks

DIAL, which launched in November, has been developed by the college in partnership with the Department for the Economy and Connected NI. It also offers advice clinics for clients, carers and businesses, as well as live modelling of design guidelines, standards and principles (e.g. design for dementia).

Around 250 local and international academics, clinical researchers and members of the Life and Health Sciences industry have attended a prestigious TMED (Translational Medicine) conference in Derry-Londonderry.

The event which is now in its 10th year, had a theme of ‘Disruptive innovation in healthcare’, and was opened by Professor Rafael Bengoa, an internationally renowned expert who previously developed a Systems not Structures healthcare strategy for Northern Ireland.

This year, the Clinical Translational Research and Innovation Centre (C-TRIC) celebrated a decade of partnership between Derry City and Strabane District Council, Ulster University and the NHS through the Western Health and Social Care Trust. 

Based on the Altnagelvin Hospital site in Derry/Londonderry, C-TRIC have been instrumental in facilitating healthcare research by bringing together clinicians, academic university staff and industry to achieve better outcomes for patients both locally and internationally.

During his keynote speech at the conference in the City Hotel, Professor Bengoa addressed how Northern Ireland has delivered on his report, which is also referred to as The Bengoa Report.

Global manufacturer Terex has officially opened its new £12m facility in Campsie, which will create 100 jobs locally.

The firm, which makes lifting and material processing solutions, unveiled the 105,000 square foot facility where heavy equipment for Terex Ecotec (waste management and recycling) and mobile conveyors will be manufactured.

Speaking at a reception of over 100 representatives from educational, political and business institutions in the area, Kieran Hegarty, president of Terex Materials Processing revealed that the manufacturer has “ambitious plans for growth” in the future.

“We’ve a fantastic local team now in place and trained in our world-class manufacturing processes. But we don’t stop there. Terex has ambitious plans for growth and just as important as this new facility and filling our current vacant positions is in developing and retaining our people so we have the skills needed to deliver our ambitious growth plans,” he said.

Discussing the new facility, Mr Hegarty added: “As people, businesses and governments become more aware of their carbon footprint we’re seeing enormous growth in demand for environmental equipment globally.

“We’re excited that Terex Campsie has started producing equipment to cater for this market – the type of equipment capable of processing construction and demolition waste or everyday waste from your home – to be exported all over the world.”

Manufacturing at Terex Campsie is underway, with almost 40% of the initial 100 jobs filled. Northern Ireland is a key manufacturing location for the firm, with nine sites in the region and more than 1800 people employed.

Derry City and Strabane District Council Deputy Mayor, Cara Hunter said: “The grand opening today is very good news for our region and reaffirms the North West’s position as a competitive, exciting and innovative place to do business.”

A high-level delegation from Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development has visited the North West to engage with local companies ahead of a trade mission to the US.

During the trip, the representatives met with local businesses and visited Ulster University, Letterkenny Institute of Technology and CoLab to explore the opportunities for partnership with education and business centres in the US.

The visit comes just weeks before a trade delegation from Derry, Strabane and Donegal travels to Boston and Philadelphia.

The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Cllr Michaela Boyle said she was delighted to showcase the city and region for investment and collaborative working.

She added: “The delegates were very impressed with our offering and how well placed we are in terms of offering cost competitive business opportunities in a cross border location, along with high level digital connectivity with a skilled and talented workforce pool.”

John Kelpie, Chief Executive with Derry City and Strabane District Council, said the work being done by Derry City and Strabane District Council and Donegal County Council and its partners to promote the City Region for investment was beginning to gain momentum.

“We are really seeing the benefits of this joined up and positive approach to establish strong economic development links and initiatives between the US and the North West region,” he added.

“The visit by this delegation puts us in a really positive position ahead of our trade mission planned for November.”

Seamus Neely, Donegal County Council Chief Executive said there would be a strong emphasis during the upcoming trade mission on promoting the region’s strategic cross border location to the US market.

“We will also be showcasing our talent, skills and entrepreneurship along with our strong ICT strengths, well established eco system and quality of life,” he said.

The North West City region trade delegation will build on the work done over the past number of years to build strong political, economic and cultural links and to reach out to the diaspora. Key to the visit is the inclusion of local companies to promote the region as an attractive investment proposition and to develop new market and network opportunities.

For more information, visit www.IrelandNW.com #IrelandNW19.