A high-level inward investment team from the State of Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia visited Derry, Strabane and Inishowen in October as part of a visit to Northern Ireland.

During their visit to the North West the group met with the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council John Boyle, and visited a number of local businesses, including E&I Engineering in Burnfoot.

They also spent some time at the North West Regional College and the Ulster University Magee campuses to see at first hand the region’s entrepreneurship and innovation and skilled workforce.

The delegation also attended a business engagement lunch with the Chamber of Commerce and met with international investors and local business representatives who are interested in doing business in the Pennsylvania and Philadelphia areas, as well as local companies such as Fleming Agri and Marblehill, who already export to the US.

The visit was just weeks ahead of a forthcoming trade mission to Boston/Philadelphia, which will saw companies from Derry, Strabane and Donegal travelling to the US along with representatives from Derry City and Strabane District Council, Donegal County Council, the Local Enterprise Office, North West Regional College and LYIT.

Among the representatives who visited the city this week from the State of Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia were Mr David Briel (Executive Director, Centre for Direct Investment, Pennsylvania); Mr Richard Kilner (Office of International Business Development, Center for Direct Investment, Pennsylvania); Mrs Sylvie Gallier Howard (First Deputy Commerce Director, Department of Commerce, City of Philadelphia) and Mr Vaughn Ross (Deputy Chief of Staff to the Mayor of Philadelphia).

Mayor Boyle said: “They were very impressed with our offering and how well placed we are in terms of offering cost competitive business opportunities along with high level digital connectivity and a young and well educated workforce.

“They were very keen to further explore the existing trade and export relationships that exist with companies from the North West region and Philadelphia, as well as the wider State of Pennsylvania. We are starting to see the benefits of this joined up and positive approach to establishing strong economic development links and initiatives between the US and the North West region. Our relationship is very strong and there is a real eagerness to develop our relationship further.”

For further Information  http://www.derrydaily.net/2018/10/23/mayor-welcomes-high-level-us-delegation-to-north-west/

North West Regional College (NWRC) has signed two Memorandums of Understanding in the United States, signalling its commitment to international co-operation with other education partners. Samantha Traynor, Vice Principal of North West Regional College has travelled to Philadelphia with the College’s European Projects Officer Bronagh Fikri, to sign a MoU with the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and the Community College of Philadelphia.

Mrs Traynor was part of a high level trade and investment delegation to Boston and Philadelphia lead by Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council John Boyle, and Seamus O’Domhnaill, Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council. The visit was part of the ongoing positive work being done by the two Councils to establish strong economic development links and initiatives in the US and will build on the work done over the last number of years in promoting the North West region as an attractive investment proposition and on developing new market and network opportunities for businesses from Donegal, Derry and Strabane areas.

A number of companies from the North West are involved in the trip, as well as third level and further education providers and development organisations from across the North West including Ulster University, Letterkenny Institute of Technology, North West Regional College and Udaras na Gaeltachta.

Speaking at the signing of the MoU Mrs Traynor said: “The signing of this MoU in an important event for our College, it’s a great day and one that sees us formalise our educational partnerships, that we have been building and consolidating over the last two years with the wider Penn State through the Department of Community and Economic Development and also with the Community College of Philadelphia.

“The MoU represents the first step in building and consolidating a partnership through education and training with a specific focus on sharing best practice in Work Based Learning to include Traineeships, Apprenticeships including Higher Level Apprenticeships and also the continued professional development of our respective professionals in our workforce.

“There is much to work on together and today marks the next step in building and consolidating that commitment for the benefit of all of our students in the NW City and region in our part of Ireland, in Philadelphia and in the wider state of Pennsylvania.”

For further Information  http://www.nwrc.ac.uk/2018/11/13/north-west-regional-college-signs-mou-in-united-states/

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.”


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.

Positive links being made at joint trade mission to Philadelphia

The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Cllr John Boyle and An Cathairleach Seamus Ó’Domhnaill of Donegal County Council, along with senior representatives from Derry City and Strabane District Council and Donegal County Council, and a number of companies from the North West returned this week from a very successful trade delegation visit to Philadelphia.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr John Boyle said this is the second visit by the North West group to the city of Philadelphia and was organised to build on the initial good work that was done during a visit to the city last year.

He said the Philadelphia market was a significant one for companies in the North West to tap into and it was important the Derry/Strabane and Donegal Councils were working in close collaboration to promote the North West City region to further develop links and relationships previously established between the two cities and regions.

The Philadelphia trip coincided with a tourism and business visit to New York the same week by the Derry and Strabane Mayor and a number of Council officials to attend the start of the Legenderry Finale leg of the Clipper Round the World Race before its departs for Derry to take part in the Foyle Maritime Festival taking place in July and to officially launch the city’s International Halloween festival to the US audiences.

Mayor Boyle said the visit was hugely worthwhile and a great opportunity for Councils to work closely with its strategic partners and local businesses to further develop ties with the US in particularly with businesses in Philadelphia and New York.

“I was delighted to be part of the delegation that travelled to the US 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. It was a very busy visit but very worthwhile for everyone involved. There is really strong Derry/Strabane and Donegal connections in Philadelphia and we have a lot in common in terms of industry and our links to the Port so working with them to further develop those business links is hugely important,” he said.

Among the companies who travelled to Philadelphia were local agricultural company, Agri Fleming and data company Atlantic Hub from Derry.

An Cathairleach Seamus Ó’Domhnaill of Donegal County Council said the work being done by the two Councils in profiling the North West as a gateway to both the EU and UK markets, and a unique and vibrant place to do business is vitally important. and really effective. I had the opportunity to see this collaboration between the two councils at work and the positive reception in the US for the strong proposition we have to offer. The trip was extremely successful as an opportunity to identify new opportunities for foreign direct investment and to promote the growth and development of the North West as well as form new relationships with key stakeholders in the spheres of education, politics and business, and to showcase the unique products and services they have to offer to the right market.”

During the Philadelphia trip, the North West region delegation met Mayor Jim Kenney, Councilman Bobby Heenan and Congressman Brendan Boyle, and attended a number of functions and events including a Diaspora engagement event and a trade mission event. The group met with the Director of the NI Bureau Norman Houston OBE and the Deputy Irish Consul General Anne McGilicuddy as well as representatives from the economic development units in neighbouring areas of Chester and Montgomery. The delegation also attended a breakfast event at the Irish Immigration Centre of Greater Philadelphia.

In New York, in addition to attending the Clipper Connect Business Series event, the Derry and Strabane delegation met with the British and Deputy Irish Consul General and took part in a City Region of Opportunities event that was attended by business investors and tourism culture, diaspora to showcase the region and up and coming events including the Foyle Maritime Festival and the International Halloween festival.

Mayor Cllr John Boyle speaking after the visit said: “We really believe that our ongoing positive engagement with the US is part of our long-term strategy and commitment to develop relationships and links that will help us attract investment, develop trade links that will in turn see tourism numbers increasing, jobs being created and money invested. To date we have enjoyed some success and are confident that our continued and joint efforts “


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.

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 US spirits company in Missouri has acquired a stake in a Londonderry liqueur firm as they look to build a distillery in the city.

Luxco in St Louis and Niche Drinks already produce Saint Brendan’s Irish Cream and global
brand, The Quiet Man Irish whiskey. In a statement, the company said it had spoken to the Strategic Investment Board to discuss building an Irish whiskey distillery in Ebrington Square in
Derry. Ciaran Mulgrew, managing director of Niche Drinks, said: “Luxco has impressive distillery experience, having built Lux Row Distillers and partnered with Limestone Branch Distillery, both in Kentucky, and is nearing completion of a Tequila distillery in Arandas, Mexico.

“This experience will be a tremendous asset as we proceed with The Quiet Man Craft Distillery at Ebrington Square.” Mr Mulgrew is to remain with the business
following the transaction.

Ulster University Business School joins elite USA group

Ulster University Business School has been accepted into the prestigious Babson Collaborative for Entrepreneurship Education. Combined with its affiliation to Harvard Business School, Ulster University Business School has become the first Business School in the UK to have formal relationships with both institutions.

Based in Massachusetts, USA, Babson Collaborative is a membership organisation that brings together educational institutions seeking to increase their capability and capacity in building entrepreneurship education programmes. It is an initiative by Babson College which is regarded as a global authority in entrepreneurship education.

Professor Mark Durkin, Executive Dean of Ulster University Business School, said;

“We are delighted to have been accepted by Babson Collaborative, the most prestigious entrepreneurship institute in the world. This affiliation allows us to access, create, and share the most thought-provoking, and forward-looking content related to entrepreneurship education. But acceptance into the group is just the beginning as membership of this elite collaboration is dynamic and demands active participation and contribution by each of its affiliates. We are looking forward to playing our part which in turn will bring substantial added value to our School and alongside the partnership with Harvard, further strengthen our influence in the field of entrepreneurial education.”

Through membership in the Babson Collaboration, Ulster University Business School aims to enhance its entrepreneurship education offerings by developing new flexibly delivered modules such as Digital Transformation, Artificial Intelligence and Entrepreneurial Growth, tailored to the needs of Northern Ireland’s business community and learning from the best practices of the most revered entrepreneurship educators globally.

Heidi Neck, Professor, Babson College, said;

“We are very proud to have Ulster University Business School as a member of the Babson collaborative. I know that the School aims to be the leading provider of entrepreneurship education in the UK and Ireland by 2021. Like us at Babson, they are embracing change in educational delivery. Today, it’s all about customised learning experiences – learning through experimentation, building a tolerance, and appreciation for uncertainty. We applaud and support the work at the Business School and look forward to co-creating programmes and learning together.”

In April 2013, Ulster University Business School became the first School in the UK and is still the only School to be affiliated with Harvard Business School. Since then it has delivered the Microeconomics of Competitiveness course developed by Harvard Professor Michael E Porter, a world leading authority in matters of economic competitiveness.

Work begins on building on strong connections made in Boston and Philadelphia

Ireland Northwest Delegation members

Ireland Northwest Delegation members

A first ever North West Trade delegation trip to Philadelphia next summer is one of a number of positive outcomes from last week’s joint Council led trade and investment mission in North East America.

The delegation, led by Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Maolíosa McHugh and Leas Cathoirleach of Donegal County Council, Councillor Noel Jordan, included representatives from 15 local companies, Údaras Na Gaeltachta and senior council officers.

Representatives from Ulster University, North West Regional College and Letterkenny IT also made the trip as the region presented a united front to showcase its offering for inward investment and potential export opportunity.

A key element of the trip was showcasing the region’s entrepreneurship and innovation and to provide local companies with an opportunity to tie into the US market.

The delegation returned to Ireland at the weekend and work has already begun on building on the strong connections made during their week in the US.

“The mission sought to build on the ongoing positive work being carried out by the two Councils to establish strong economic development links and initiatives in the US,” explained Chief Executive of Derry City and Strabane District Council John Kelpie.

“We showcased the region as a well placed, cost competitive investment hub with high speed broadband and a young, talented and well educated workforce.

“Our message was well received and the challenge now is to build on the many positive connections the Councils and travelling companies have made to deliver increased education links and export relationships between our two regions and attract more direct investment into the North West region.”

The delegation began their five day trip in Philadelphia where they met with the City’s Mayor Jim Kenney and representatives from the City’s Chamber of Commerce and civic representatives to plan the details on the 2018 trade mission.

After a day exploring business and life science partnerships in the City of Worcester and an evening meeting with Irish Consul-General Fionnuala Quinlan on Tuesday, the delegation met up with the 15 local companies for the start of three days of networking in Boston.

On Wednesday morning, the Ireland North West Showcase presentation at allowed both Councils to sell the region as a prime area for investment before a networking event allowed the local companies to meet with potential partners in the US.

Thursday saw the delegation take part in an Invest NI breakfast with Ireland’s Ambassador to the US Daniel Mulhall and key decision makers before a meeting with the City of Boston International Economic Development Office and a visit to Boston’s House of Representatives.

The week climaxed with the annual Golden Bridges Conference and Awards on Friday at the Seaport Hotel and World Trade Centre where officers from Ulster University, Letterkenny IT and the North West Regional College joined representatives from Harvard in a panel discussion on the benefits of a strategic alliance between the three further and higher education providers in the region and the increasing partnerships with Boston-based colleges.

Delegates heard from Derry City and Strabane District Council Chief Executive John Kelpie and Donegal County Council Chief Executive Seamus Neely who discussed Ireland’s role as America’s Best Friend in Europe. Officers from both Councils also discussed ‘Driving Tourism to the North West through World Class Events’ and ‘Helping Start-ups Survive and Thrive’.

Reflecting on the trip, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Maolíosa McHugh, said the joined up approach of the region’s civic, business and educational representatives filled him with optimism for the future.

“The message from the Ireland North West delegation was very clear, that we were a prime location for inward investment and trade with Derry as a city operating in partnership with the regional towns of Strabane and Letterkenny,” he noted.

“The trip highlighted the importance of the joined up strategy of our educational institutions with the North West Regional College’s campuses in Strabane and Derry working alongside their colleagues in Ulster University and the Letterkenny Institute of Technology.

“Those institutions’ are part of a strong working relationship with Council and our local businesses and their flexibility in being able to adopt to the needs of industry to address any skills shortages was reassuring to potential investors.”

Among the companies from the Derry City and Strabane District Council area in the Ireland North West delegation are AE Global (formerly Allpipe Engineering); The Clinical Translational Research and Innovation Centre (C-TRIC); ActionSense Ltd; Makematic; NeuroConcise; O’Neill’s Irish International Sports Co Ltd; Troll Inc; and Type 40 Creative.

While Aniar Cumhacht Teoranta; Algaran Teoranta; O’Donnell’s Bakery; Silver Birch Gallery; Meastoiri Domhanda Teo; Eilis Galbraith and DS Environmental Services Ltd from the Donegal County Council area also took part.

Ireland North West and City of Boston sign MOU

Civic leaders from the City of Boston and the North West of Ireland sign an MOU

Civic leaders from the City of Boston and the North West of Ireland sign an MOU

Civic leaders from the City of Boston and the North West of Ireland have signed an MOU this week to formalise their economic partnership.

The ‘Boston-Ireland North West Innovation Economic Partnership’ pledges to further develop and expand the existing bilateral relationship between the two regions to create business and job opportunities through joint initiatives in innovation and trade.

The Transatlantic partnership was signed during this week’s visit of a local trade delegation to the Massachusetts city led by the Derry / Strabane and Donegal Councils.

Earlier this week, the Ireland North West delegation, that includes Council CEOs John Kelpie and Seamus Neely and Council officials, visited Philadelphia where a working group agreed to a first ever trade mission from Derry/Strabane and Donegal visiting the city this summer.

The Mayor of Philadelphia, Jim Kenney, also met the delegation who spent a full day in Pennsylvania’s largest city exploring opportunities for business and educational partnerships.

The MOU agreement with Boston will initially focus on the fields of entrepreneurship, life sciences and healthcare technology and aims to build upon the successful economic development missions to Boston in recent years.

“I would like to warmly welcome the signing of this Memorandum of Understanding between our two regions,” said Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council at this week’s signing in Central Boston.

“I look forward to seeing the development and implementation of our joint and coordinated initiatives, initially in the areas of Entrepreneurship, Life Sciences and Healthcare Technology.

“Our regions have been closely linked through our diaspora for generations and I am pleased that we have been able to formally strengthen that link with this new partnership that can help accelerate business growth and create new jobs.”

Leas Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Councillor Noel Jordan added:

“This is a hugely positive development that builds on the strong work that has gone on behind the scenes in recent years to strengthen the economic partnership between our regions.

“The joint initiatives committed to today will help expand the growth of our shared industries and strengthen the assets that are key to the North West region’s economy growing and being globally competitive in the future.”

Among the responsibilities of both regions detailed in the memorandum are the sharing of best economic practices to strengthen their mutual abilities to support bilateral trade.

The parties have also agreed to encourage academic research and development collaboration in life sciences and healthcare technology, as well committing to the promotion of economic development and opportunities for small businesses.