During trade missions to Philadelphia and Boston 12th – 16th  November potential American investors were told that the North West is perfectly placed for an ‘investment hub for business and global companies seeking to establish a gateway to both the UK and EU markets’.

A number of focused engagements with industry specialists, FDI executives and venture capitalists took place throughout the week in both Philadelphia and Boston as part of the Trade and Investment mission led jointly by Donegal County Council and Derry City and Strabane District Council, presenting the compelling investment proposition that the Northwest City Region has to offer.

Potential investors heard from leading global company DuPont, which has a longstanding commitment to the region, taking advantage of the unique combination of benefits that the Northwest region has to offer including an accessible, connected and business friendly gateway region with a compelling vision for greater international impact.

Investors learned that companies and businesses are attracted by a talented and educated workforce, the value balance, the superb quality of life and the supportive business environment.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council John Boyle believes that: “The strength of the region is underpinned by the strong collaborative approach which sees industry, government at both central and local level, and further and higher education institutions from both sides of the border working together to fuel further economic growth and prosperity. This is something that investor’s value greatly in terms of facilitating ease of access to supports in the region.”

Local businesses from a range of sectors across both Council areas also participated in the mission meeting with potential clients and business partners with a view to increasing sales and expanding their businesses.

Derry based Bridie Mullin Irish Linen Ltd. participated in the mission and brought her eponymous label of handcrafted quality Irish line to Boston in an effort to tap into the US market.

Bridie explains that the trade visit was an opportunity to build on her own research, and to visit stores and meet with potential clients gaining a deeper understanding of what exactly the customer is looking for. It also allowed her to get an insight into the potential costs associated with exporting and logistics assisting in finalising price points for trading.

The trade and investment mission also involved engagement with educational institutions with a memorandum of understanding being signed by the North West Regional College and Philadelphia Community College and the State of Pennsylvania during the mission that sees the consolidation of relationships developed over the last two years.

The week also saw the announcement by both Councils of an exciting research project with Harvard Graduate School of Design, exploring how the cross-border northwest city region can be shaped in light of the economic, political and social realities of Brexit. This project is being led by Assistant Professor Gareth Doherty in Harvard GSD, who is originally from Donegal.

Reaching out to the diaspora was also a key objective of the mission and this manifested in events in both Philadelphia and Boston, where members of the diaspora from across the region attended and shared with the delegation the opportunities and challenges faced by the diaspora and their commitment to continue to engage in a way that is meaningful and mutually beneficial.

The Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council also had the honour of accepting on behalf of Donegal Hospice a cheque of $14,000 raised by the Donegal community in Philadelphia. Speaking after the trip, Chief Executive of Donegal County Council, Seamus Neely, said: “This Trade and Investment Mission is part of the ongoing positive work being done by both Councils. We are committed to continuing with the positive work we are doing to drive forward our economy and to maximise the opportunities we have as a cross border gateway to both the UK and EU markets.

“We have longstanding connections with Philadelphia and Massachusetts and these connections transcend economic, cultural and political linkages. The Golden Bridges conference has provided the Northwest region with an important platform in the Massachusetts region allowing us to reach out, connect with and form meaningful relationships and collaborations with stakeholders in various sectors that have been instrumental in progressing growth and prosperity in the region.”

Reflecting on the visit, Chief Executive of Derry City and Strabane District Council, John Kelpie, said: “It takes time to make connections, develop relationships and build trust. Our ongoing positive engagement with Massachusetts has to date resulted in a number of exciting developments including the investment and success stories around One Source Virtual and Metaverse. “Results such as these are part of our key objectives in terms of strengthening the profile of the City Region as outlined in our Strategic Growth Plan and are evidence that our direct approach of travelling to the US, making those connections and building rapport, really works.”

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.

144310822-ffd75ada-1158-4a77-80d9-a0786ff2f77a
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.

_103378218_img_4032
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.

_99701455_danske

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

Cyber crime
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.

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.

FinTrU to create over 600 new jobs in Belfast and Londonderry as part of £38m expansion

Invest Northern Ireland’s Chief Executive, Alastair Hamilton has announced that 605 new jobs are to be created by multi-award winning financial services firm FinTrU over the next five years.

This significant expansion by FinTrU will see it establish a new operation in Derry with 305 new jobs and create a further 300 new roles in Belfast.

L-R Alastair Hamilton, CEO of Invest NI and Darragh McCarthy, CEO of FinTrU

L-R Alastair Hamilton, CEO of Invest NI and Darragh McCarthy, CEO of FinTrU

Welcoming the major investment, Alastair Hamilton said: “Today’s announcement is another significant re-investment by FinTrU which will create over 600 new jobs for graduates and professionals in the Financial Services industry.

“We are delighted to have played such a significant role in the company’s rapid growth to date. The new jobs to be recruited over the next five years will generate over £15million in additional annual salaries for the local economy.

Invest NI has offered £3.2million of support for the new jobs and the Department for the Economy has offered £2.4million of support through its Assured Skills Programme.

“The company will create 305 of the new jobs in Derry which is a great endorsement of the wealth of talent in the North West. This investment will also make a significant contribution to Northern Ireland’s flourishing Financial Services sector and will deliver a projected £20million in additional new export sales for the company.” continued Alastair.

FinTrU provides regulatory resourcing services, including legal, risk, compliance, KYC, operations and consultancy, to Investment Banks and other financial institutions. It established its Belfast centre of excellence in 2014, with initial plans to recruit 80 staff and has since grown successfully to now employing over 240 staff.

Darragh McCarthy, FinTrU Founder and CEO said: “Our current operation in Belfast has been hugely successful which has been driven by the exceptional talent we have been able to recruit in Northern Ireland. FinTrU has won two ‘Fast Growth Business of the Year’ awards in 2018 and we are delighted to continue our expansion in other areas of Northern Ireland.

After reviewing a number of locations, I had no hesitation about expanding our presence into the North West due to the highly attractive location and the availability of talent that the region offers. Whilst managed as a profit-driven organisation, I see FinTrU as having a social purpose to create high-quality professional employment in Northern Ireland.

“After reviewing a number of locations, I had no hesitation about expanding our presence into the North West due to the highly attractive location and the availability of talent that the region offers. Whilst managed as a profit-driven organisation, I see FinTrU as having a social purpose to create high-quality professional employment in Northern Ireland.”

Darragh, who is a finalist in this year’s EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, added: “Our partnership over the last few years with Invest NI has been invaluable to our growth. We are also working with the Department for the Economy through its Assured Skills Programme, Belfast Metropolitan College and the North West Regional College to establish a Graduate Academy which will result in a considerable investment in training for our new employees.”

Noel Lavery, Permanent Secretary at the Department for the Economy said: “Since 2014 we have worked with FinTrU helping them recruit the talent they need to grow their business through the Department’s pre-employment skills training programme, ‘Assured Skills’.

“175 of the current FinTrU staff complement are former Assured Skills Academy graduates, highlighting the impressive talent we have in Northern Ireland. It is planned that, over the next 5 years,500 of the 605 jobs announced today will be delivered through a series of future Assured Skills Academies, providing high quality employment opportunities for graduates in the growing financial services sector.”

MANUFACTURING LOCALLY, SELLING GLOBALLY CREATES MORE JOBS AT FLEMING AGRI

Fleming Agri Products is a fifth generation family business manufacturing a range of agricultural and grounds-care machinery at their factory in Newbuildings. With almost 90% of production exported outside Northern Ireland, the company see a solid future in the viability of engineering and manufacturing in the North West region.

t4_75_powerstar_13_021_c
Approximately 12,000 machines came off the production line in 2017 and were shipped to an extensive network of dealers and importers worldwide. Fleming’s have put a dedicated Export Manager in place in 2016 and have been growing and developing new export markets in France,
Denmark, Latvia, Spain, Slovakia, UAE, Australia, New Zealand, and most recently the USA and Russia.

The Fleming factory has been operating a two shift pattern up to the start of 2018, but
due to increased demand from both the domestic and export markets for Fleming products, the workforce has had to be increased to create a third shift. This has created 10 further new job roles initially with further growth in employment as this new shift develops and increases the production output.

Plans for a new 25,000 sq. ft. factory extension are currently being put together to
streamline the production flow and create capacity and capability for new products
designed and developed in recent years to come online. Currently Fleming’s employ 110 staff and the proposed new expansion will create a further 25 new positions at their base in Newbuildings.
For further details and employment opportunities with Fleming Agri Products please see; www.fleming-agri.co.uk

A major boost for Northern Ireland’s future economy, life sciences industry and global patient healthcare through a collaboration between Randox and Ulster University.

Carla Harkin, PhD student, Professor Alastair Adair, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Dr Peter FitzGerald, Founder, Randox and Tara Moore, Professor of Personalised Medicine. (Photo: Nigel McDowell/Ulster University)

Carla Harkin, PhD student, Professor Alastair Adair, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Dr Peter FitzGerald, Founder, Randox and Tara Moore, Professor of Personalised Medicine. (Photo: Nigel McDowell/Ulster University)

Ulster University and Randox Laboratories Ltd have launched a £5 million skills development initiative to support up to ten individuals annually through PhD level study in the Life Sciences sector.

The Randox-Ulster University-Industrial PhD Academy, which aims to encourage the development of advanced, higher level skills in key industry sectors, will further reinforce Ulster University’s position as one of the top universities for biomedical related research impact and, enhance Randox’s competitiveness in the growing global healthcare sector.

Up to ten PhD researchers will be supported annually, including Randox employees and individuals from the wider sector, who are working on a range of scientific projects, with the ultimate goal of new product development. They will have the opportunity to work on new research projects, driven by industry and jointly supervised by Ulster University and Randox, to enhance their own individual skill sets whilst delivering groundbreaking advances in the life sciences sector. Ulster University and Randox will each fully fund up to five PhD researchers annually.

To date PhD researchers enrolled in this new programme of Industrial Research have started exciting projects in areas of medicine including mental health, diabetes and cancer, with more projects being developed. All projects share the common goal of delivering new diagnostic approaches for early detection of disease and earlier intervention where possible.

Professor Alastair Adair Deputy Vice-Chancellor Ulster University said:

Ulster University is renowned globally for research in personalised medicine, cancer, diabetes and mental health and this makes us the perfect fit for a global industry leader like Randox. Ulster University and Randox have a longstanding partnership built around research, knowledge sharing and collaboration which has placed both organisations at the forefront of diagnostics and health research globally.”

Ulster University Professor of Personalised Medicine Tara Moore, said:

“The life sciences sector is of critical importance to our economy and health. To truly maximise our contribution to the economy and to fully exploit new advances in science and technology we must focus on advancing the skills of our workforce, ensuring the most talented people reach their full potential by working with partners to tackle new challenges and drive new discoveries. A strong and growing life sciences sector ensures patients will continue to benefit from new technologies which will help to improve diagnosis getting them the treatment they need quickly.”

“This new Industrial PhD Academy is a further step forward in our commitment to respond to national priorities such as the Industrial Strategy, aligning the research community with industry to drive innovation, building on the world-leading reputation of Randox and supporting a new generation of researchers in this strategically important sector.”

Dr Peter FitzGerald, Managing Director of Randox Laboratories, said:

“At this time of rapid and significant change in the UK, it is critical that the next-generation can meet industry’s ever-changing demands. The current STEM skills shortage costs the economy £1.5bn/year and will only be resolved if all companies in the sector recognise they have a role to play now too.

“In the last 4 months, we have made significant investments within Northern Ireland, in both R&D infrastructure and now in helping aspirational scientists at Ulster University to develop the critical skills to make a positive difference to patient healthcare around the world. We are unapologetically ambitious in our determination to cement Northern Ireland’s reputation as a global hub for life sciences and our own position as a worldwide leader.”