FinTrU, a technologically enabled regulatory solutions company, has been honoured with a Queen’s Award for Enterprise (International Trade) in 2022.

The company won the Queen’s Award for International Trade for ‘Outstanding Continuous Growth’ in overseas sales over the last six years.

Headquartered in Belfast, FinTrU has rapidly expanded in recent years with additional global offices in Derry/Londonderry, New York, London, Dublin and Maastricht.

FinTrU Founder & CEO, Darragh McCarthy, said “It is an absolute honour for FinTrU to be recognised in this way. The Queen’s Award for Enterprise is an incredibly prestigious accolade with a vast array of highly respected winners over the years. We are delighted at FinTrU to see the hard work of our employees rewarded with this fantastic achievement.”

Employing over 1,000 people, FinTrU was founded in 2013 and provides technologically enabled Regulatory Solutions for Investment Banks – specialising in the areas of KYC, Compliance, Legal, Risk & Controls and Operations.

Now in its 56th year, the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are the most prestigious business awards in the country, with winning businesses able to use the esteemed Queen’s Awards Emblem for the next five years.

Source: Written from press release.

There was delight this week after Derry was named as a regional winner in a competition celebrating locations which have the most to offer for entrepreneurs and businesses. The UK’s Top Towns for Business competition was being run by Enterprise Nation in partnership with Dell UKand Intel UK and aimed to shine a spotlight on the UK’s towns and cities that successfully nurture entrepreneurial spirit in order to make a lasting impact on local communities and the economy.

Locations across the UK were judged on a variety of different business-related sectors including connectivity, dedicated space, retail space, networks and leadership, and after Derry/Londonderry made it onto the shortlist for the NI award, a public vote saw the city come out on top.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Graham Warke, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been named as a regional winner for the UK Top Towns for Business 2022 competition.“The fact that we have been shortlisted and now selected as the top location after a public vote once again highlights why our city and region is such a prime and attractive location for living, working and investment. The area offers so much to entrepreneurs and businesses, from connectivity to workshops to networking and everything in between.

“We nurture and support entrepreneurial ambition and would welcome any individuals or organisations seeking to work and invest in this region. Thanks to everyone who voted to support our city in this competition.”​

PwC is opening a space at Ulster University’s Magee Campus in Derry/Londonderry as part of its investment in innovation in Northern Ireland.

The space will house research and development for its £40m Advanced Research and Engineering Centre (ARC), which launched last year in conjunction with Ulster University and Queen’s University Belfast, with support from Invest Northern Ireland. 

Through its alliances with government and academia, ARC’s innovation ecosystem is looking to build solutions to complex business problems into the next decade and beyond. This latest collaboration will see Ulster University students and researchers, at the Jordanstown and Magee campuses, work alongside Operate staff.

The new space will be used primarily as a base for ARC staff based in the North West of the country as PwC Operate ramps up recruitment from beyond its Belfast base. PwC Operate will start with four people at Ulster University’s Magee campus, but is looking to establish a larger team as ARC builds out its capabilities. 

Ian McConnell, PwC Operate Lead Partner, commented: “We’re delighted to be establishing a presence in the northwest. ARC’s vision includes university postgraduates working on research projects that feed into the software engineering function of ARC, as we develop solutions to our clients’ problems. ARC will continue to be based in our Merchant Square HQ in Belfast, but we’re keen to recruit from as wide a talent pool as possible. To be able to offer opportunities to people across the country is something very close to my heart and I believe fundamental to the success of this initiative.”

Jim Harkin, Head of the School of Computing, Engineering and Intelligent Systems from Ulster University also added: “It is positive for the Derry and Strabane City and District that PwC’s Operate will open an office at Ulster University’s Magee campus. The new office located on the Magee campus reflects the growing interest in doing business in Derry/Londonderry because of the easy access to talented people and innovative research from the Intelligent Systems Research Centre. As we develop research centres for robotics, AI and personalised medicine in the years to come as part of the Derry & Strabane City Deal, we will see more and more companies growing their presence in the North West and creating high-tech jobs.” 

The Stormont Executive has announced £15m worth of investment for a new 152-bed hotel in the Ebrington area of Londonderry.

The work will involve the refurbishment of the clocktower and five buildings in the former military base.

The first and deputy first ministers visited the development on Thursday to confirm the plans.

About £7m is coming from the executive office’s investment fund and almost £2m from Invest NI.

First Minister Paul Givan said it was “another step forward” for Ebrington and for the city.

“It continues to grow as a vibrant, modern city which is looking to the future with confidence – and there is a real sense of that optimism here today,” he said.

Mr Givan paid tribute to those involved in the redevelopment of the 29-acre site at Ebrington, which had been a military barracks until 2003.

Ebrington’s development is widely regarded as a key to Derry and the region’s wider economic growth.

“As today’s ideas become tomorrow’s opportunities, I will be watching with interest as potential turns into reality for Londonderry,” he said.

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said the start of work on the hotel “is a milestone day for Derry”.

“Together with the Grade A office space due to be completed soon, this new hotel will bring a renewed sense of vibrancy and a real boost to the regional economy,” she said.

“I offer my congratulations to the developers and all who have played a part in getting us to this point,” Ms O’Neill added.

Plans for the hotel were unveiled in 2017 and granted planning permission by Derry City and Strabane District Council the following year.

Ebrington is the largest regeneration site in Derry.

A former naval base that opened in 1841, it was known as HMS Sea Eagle during World War Two and was an important part of the North Atlantic Command.

Work is expected to be completed on the four-star hotel in the summer of 2023.

The Derry City and Strabane District City Region has been ranked second in the FDI European Cities of the Future 2022 category in a study carried out by the FDI Intelligence Division of the Financial Times.

Welcoming the accolade, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Graham Warke said the high ranking in this significantly prestigious and influential study was hugely positive for the City and District as Council as well as its wider delivery partners as they continue to work to set in motion the next stages of delivery of the City Deal and a wide range of major investment and regeneration plans to transform the City Region.

The ranking comes less than a year after the City and District was ranked first in the FDI Global Cities of the Future Category in a report carried out by the FDI, competing against major cities across the globe.

The data collated for this latest report is collected by the FDI intelligence division of the Financial Times using specialist online tools, FDI markets and benchmarks. Data was collected for 553 locations (367 cities, 148 regions and 38 LEPs), under five categories: Economic Potential, Human Capital and Lifestyle, Cost Effectiveness, Connectivity and Business Friendliness. Locations scored up to a maximum of 10 points for each data point, which were weighted by importance to the FDI decision making process to compile the subcategory rankings as well as the overall ‘European Cities and Regions of the Future 2022/23’ ranking. In addition, surveys were collected under a sixth category, FDI Strategy, for which there were 161 submissions. In this category, locations submitted details about their strategy for promoting FDI, which was then scored by fDi’s judging panel.

The Derry City and Strabane District City Region ranked second in the European Cities of the Future Category, tipped only by Doncaster and Sheffield City Region and overseeing competition from other European cities such as Cork, Middlesbrough and Lublin.

As part of the evaluation process, judges assessing the application took account the area’s economic potential, cost effectiveness, connectivity, human capital and lifestyle and business friendliness, as part of their assessment.

Mayor Alderman Warke said this ranking was hugely significant and puts the city and district on a positive footing as it progresses to the next stages of delivering the exciting and innovative City Deal projects. He said the ranking put the city and region on the map in terms of gaining recognition from world leading investors and helps increase the city and region’s visibility across the Financial Times Group global readership and audience, which in turn will encourage further funding and investment.

He said: “Securing this top ranking in this category is hugely positive for us and reflective of the huge amount of proactive work that has been done over the past number of years to actively promote and develop the opportunities in Life and Health Sciences, in digital technologies and in the application of research in artificial intelligence and machine learning across our City and District. Key to this is that all these areas of focus and investment continue through City Deal projects. Our prime focus will be to develop opportunities for the development and promotion of the compelling proposition that is our city and region and the wider North West.”

Kevin O’Connor Head of Business with Derry City and Strabane District Council who was involved in the bid for the award, said the panel in their feedback acknowledged the strong cross border collaboration and mobile talent available in the region and the city and district’s innovative approach to developing talent in high demand sectors. He said the region’s large international diaspora with its strong international business network was also recognised, while the use of historic connections to the city of London and using it to focus on attracting UK based companies who want closer dual market access to the EU and UK was also acknowledged.

He said: “This is a very significant coup for us and comes at a very exciting time in our City Deal journey and as we are recovering from the COVID pandemic and working proactively to promote investment opportunities across our diaspora network, highlighting our increased quality of lower cost of living and increased work life balance to those interested in returning to live and work here. Combined with being recognised by USwitch.com as the top location in NI for remote working in the UK Top 5, along with being one of the top locations in the UK for Full Fibre Network connectivity, we are ideally placed for remote working.  We are also the only City region located where the UK and EU meet, and is a great place to live, visit, study or to do business in.”

For more info on the report visit https://www.fdiintelligence.com/article/80707

The Stormont Executive has announced £15m worth of investment for a new 152-bed hotel in the Ebrington area of Londonderry.

The work will involve the refurbishment of the clocktower and five buildings in the former military base. The first and deputy first ministers visited the development on Thursday to confirm the plans. About £7m is coming from the executive office’s investment fund and almost £2m from Invest NI. First Minister Paul Givan said it was “another step forward” for Ebrington and for the city.

“It continues to grow as a vibrant, modern city which is looking to the future with confidence – and there is a real sense of that optimism here today,” he said.

Mr Givan paid tribute to those involved in the redevelopment of the 29-acre site at Ebrington, which had been a military barracks until 2003.

Ebrington’s development is widely regarded as a key to Derry and the region’s wider economic growth.

“As today’s ideas become tomorrow’s opportunities, I will be watching with interest as potential turns into reality for Londonderry,” he said.

Artist Impression of Ebrington Hotel at Ebrington Square, Derry/Londonderry

‘Renewed sense of vibrancy’

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said the start of work on the hotel “is a milestone day for Derry”.

“Together with the Grade A office space due to be completed soon, this new hotel will bring a renewed sense of vibrancy and a real boost to the regional economy,” she said.

“I offer my congratulations to the developers and all who have played a part in getting us to this point,” Ms O’Neill added.

Plans for the hotel were unveiled in 2017 and granted planning permission by Derry City and Strabane District Council the following year.

Ebrington is the largest regeneration site in Derry.

A former naval base that opened in 1841, it was known as HMS Sea Eagle during World War Two and was an important part of the North Atlantic Command.

Work is expected to be completed on the four-star hotel in the summer of 2023.

In June 2020, Derry City and Strabane District Council granted planning permission for the major international data centre developer, Atlantic Hub, to locate the centre at the Foyle Port Innovation Park. Work began this month on the development which will host computer data and services equipment for large tech companies, catering to the growing global tech sector and generating up to 100 jobs.

The campus at Foyle Port will have the capacity for up to 500,000 sq ft of technical floorspace, one of the largest ever infrastructure developments in the North West. It will offer world class services to large corporates and hyperscale data centre operators, utilising the EXA (Kelvin), transatlantic fibre-optic submarine cable, providing excellent connectivity to North America and Europe.

“After a significant period of preparation, we are delighted to begin construction of our flagship development project”, said Brian Doherty, Managing Director at Atlantic Hub. “We consider the North West to be an excellent location for our data centre development, and our investment in the region reflects the fantastic economic opportunities on offer here. With unique access to the UK and EU markets, this development is set to attract some of the largest global companies and investors to our shores in the coming years.”

With a ‘twin’ site in Letterkenny also being considered as part of the same cross border campus, this development forms part of transformative work from across the North West to boost our offering to foreign investors. The strategic location provides connectivity to local energy supplies generated from 100% certified renewable sources.

Software development company AquaQ Analytics is recruiting 40 staff for its new North West branch.

The Belfast-based business, which was founded in 2011 and employs around 250 people globally, is one of Northern Ireland’s fastest growing companies. It provides specialist consulting, software and data services, cloud solutions and more, to clients working in sectors including capital markets and Tier One investment banks. 

It hopes the new roles, which will offer a flexible mix of home and office working, will attract people living in the North West as well as border counties in the Republic of Ireland.

AquaQ recently held an insight event in Derry’s City Hotel to help potential employees and new graduates find out more about the business and speak with staff.

Ronan Pairceir, CEO of AquaQ, said: “We look forward to our expansion into the North West. Since the start of Covid, we have added an additional 100 employees around the world, with plans to reach 400 employees globally over the coming 18 months.”

Patrick Farren, Head of Engineering, added: “We are looking to recruit Java and React developers for our rapidly expanding Software Engineering division. These roles will involve using modern development tools and concepts to deliver high quality, best practice software solutions to our clients. Successful applicants will require a mix of technical and client-facing skills, offering highly rewarding careers for the right people.”

Ulster University is partnering with Manufacturing & Engineering Growth & Advancement (MEGA) to provide Northern Ireland’s first degree-level apprenticeship in Manufacturing & Engineering.

This first-of-its-kind course, funded by the Department for the Economy, is now underway and represents a new chapter in higher education for the Magee campus.

This new offering aims to create a pipeline of skilled talent fit for industry’s needs now and into the future, ensuring Northern Ireland is in a position to maximise the opportunities presented by the fourth industrial revolution.

An alternative to the traditional degree route, it will see apprentices employed from day one. This means participants incur no cost in their higher-level education; in fact, they earn a salary.

Robotics, artificial intelligence and digitalisation will be among the key themes studied within the new programme offered by the School of Computing, Engineering and Intelligent Systems at Magee.

Apprentices who train at Magee will also benefit from access to Centres of Excellence such as the Centre for Industrial Digitalisation, Robotics and Automation (CIDRA) and the Cognitive Analytics Research Laboratory (CARL) that are being developed as part of the emerging Derry and Strabane City Deal, and which will become a destination for Research and Development for industry partners.

Three local redevelopment projects have received a £16m boost as part of the UK-wide Levelling Up Fund.

The funding has been secured by the Council to progress with Derry’s Daisyfield Community Sports Hub (which received £4.2m), the Acorn Farm St Columb’s Park Regeneration project (£5.6m), and Derg Active in Castlederg (£6.4m).

A total of £4.8 billion in government Levelling Up Funding was announced across the UK, with Derry City and Strabane District Council receiving a third of Northern Ireland’s £49m allocation.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Alderman Graham Warke described the funding decision as “a really positive good news story for our Council area”.