A senior business delegation led by US Special Envoy to Northern Ireland for Economic Affairs, Joseph P. Kennedy, III, visited the North West in October 2023 as part of their wider Northern Ireland itinerary.

Press Eye – Belfast – Northern Ireland – 26th October 2023 Photo by Phil Magowan / Press Eye

They were hosted by the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Cllr Patricia Logue to a Business Lunch at the Guildhall that was attended by over 40 delegates from the U.S., local partners and stakeholders including representatives from Ulster University, the North West Regional College, Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, City Centre Initiative and the neighbouring Donegal County Council.

A significant number of globally focused local businesses and international investors who are located in the NorthWest region were also in attendance alongside Jayne Brady, Head of the Civil Service and representatives from the U.S. Department of State and Invest NI.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Cllr Patricia Logue said she was delighted to welcome the delegation to the Guildhall. She said the visit was an important occasion for the North West region to promote and sell its compelling and unique investment opportunity.

She said: “This high-profile delegation offered us an opportunity to promote the NorthWest region’s unique location as a cross border city region with access to both the EU and UK markets, with a dynamic talent and skilful population thanks to our strong university and further and higher education provision and our unique approach to developing a skilled workforce for business. We were also able to promote the flexibility of our people, our rich culture and heritage and the quality of life for people living here.

“The focus of the business lunch was for U.S. investors and local NorthWest businesses to engage in ideas and experiences and to showcase our rich tourism, culture and heritage and unique business offering. The delegation was impressed by the strong collaboration and partnership that exists between all our business sectors and the supportive environment that is available here for investors.”

The event was an opportunity for companies from a diverse range of sectors including Fintech, digital, creative, advanced manufacturing and life and health sciences to network and engage with one another.

In addition to getting an update on the region’s City and Growth Deal and wider strategic projects from Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Chief Executive, the delegation heard contributions from a range of US companies who have invested in the area such as Seagate and Allstate NI, as well as from local leading businesses like NuPrint, FAST Technologies, Alchemy and Access Elemental, before taking a tour of the Guildhall and viewing the John Hume Nobel Peace Prize and a walking tour of the historic City Walls and the Peace Bridge.

The Mayor concluded that the visit reflected the continued commitment of Special Envoy Joseph P. Kennedy III to showcasing the North West as an attractive location for US investors

The delegation arrived in Northern Ireland on October 24 for a number of days to meet local business leaders, established US investors and politicians and took time visit key tourist attractions.

President Willian Jefferson Clinton has paid tribute to the late John Hume and David Trimble at an event in the Guildhall, Derry/Londonderry, hosted by the John and Pat Hume Foundation.

The Hume and Trimble families were in attendance to receive the awards, in front of an audience of over 400 people, including local school children.

The event, “Making Hope and History Rhyme”, brought together artists including Derry born Neil Hannon, from Divine Comedy, young Derry singer Roe, Phil Coulter and Tim Wheeler, from the band ASH who played at the historic YES gig in 1998.

Other contributions included readings from Nicholas Trimble, son of the late David Trimble, and a poem from Rachel Hume, granddaughter of John Hume.

Speaking at the event, President Clinton said:

“When I visited Derry/Londonderry over 25 years ago I was struck by the spirit of hope and possibility that lay ahead for the people of this beautiful city. And 25 years on, I know that the spirit of co-operation and ambition, epitomized by the great artists that came together to support John Hume and David Trimble back in 1998 remains as strong as ever.

“We should not underestimate how far the people of Northern Ireland have come; just as we shouldn’t underestimate how much further we have to travel.

“Peaceful change comes from commitment and leadership. While political leadership is hugely important, I have had the honour of meeting incredible people across communities, business and civic society who are working for a better future.

“Today, I want the great people of this city to know that I continue to support them in this journey to a better, more prosperous future.”

(Photo – Tom Heaney, nwpresspics)

Mayor of Derry and Strabane District Council, Sandra Duffy said: “It is a hugely proud moment for me as Mayor to welcome President Clinton back to Derry to mark this important milestone in our history and to acknowledge the pivotal role played by everyone involved in to securing peace for our city and across the North.

 I know that Derry has a very special place in President Clinton’s heart and it is a huge accolade for us to have him return to Derry –  to a city that has benefited from a better future –a city that is vibrant, welcoming and inclusive, its people filled with hope and confidence for the future.”

(Photo – Tom Heaney, nwpresspics)

Secretary of the John and Pat Hume Foundation, Tim Attwood said:

” President Bill Clinton’s words remind us of the incredible courage demonstrated by John Hume and David Trimble in delivering on a peace process that ended 3 decades of violence.

“25 years on we need to encourage and inspire young people in promoting new leadership for peaceful change, inject new momentum into our politics and ultimately, ensure that  the future of this region reflects the hopes and aspiration of  the next generation.”The event is supported by EY.

Some of Europe’s leading young tech stars have gathered in the North West for the Innovators Under 35 Europe Festival.

This year’s event, held in Gweedore, County Donegal, celebrated a new generation of changemakers tackling society’s most pressing challenges as it emerges from the pandemic.

Since its creation, MIT Technology Review has been publishing an annual list of the best Innovators Under 35, from biotechnologists to artificial intelligence pioneers, with notable alumni including Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page.

The festival, which took place in the gteic hub in May, was sponsored by Derry City and Strabane District Council alongside other regional organisations and educational establishments.

“By choosing this location, we wanted to demonstrate that in our connected world, no location is off-limits when it comes to innovation,” said Connla McCann, director of the festival’s host, Aisling Events.

“The Atlantic edge – and places like it – will be the centre of the new world.”

Ecommerce support platform eDesk is to create 150 jobs in the next 18 months as it plans further expansion in the US and Europe, the Middle East and Africa, more than doubling its current headcount.

From left: Ross Keating, vice president of sales for eDesk; Courtney Graham, vice president of customer success; Mats Forsgren, vice president of operations; Dermot O’Connor, chief executive.

Among the roles on offer are positions in product, sales, marketing, customer success and customer support.

The jobs will be based at eDesk’s headquarters in Dublin, its Derry office and its premises in Skibbereen, Co Cork. Some of the roles will also be based on the east coast of the US, where the company is planning to hoping to have 20 employees in the coming 18 months. EDesk currently operates a hybrid work environment, with remote working and office space available for its employees.

Founded by entrepreneur Ray Nolan as xSellco in 2012, the company provides ecommerce support solutions to customers looking to sell across multiple channels and consolidating all customer interactions into a single box. It rebranded to eDesk in 2021. Among its customers are Superdry, Pitstop Auto and Right Deals UK, with partners that include Amazon, eBay, and Shopify.

“Ecommerce is so hot right now and eDesk as a product has seen significant growth in recent years so we are delighted today to announce the growth of our team over the coming months with these new open roles,” said chief executive Dermot O’Connor.

“eDesk was created to ease the complexity of customer service so that companies can focus on growth. These new hires will continue to support our growth by creating new updates and top-tier products to ensure that our customers truly support each individual customer across all of their sales channels, allowing them to more effectively grow their own businesses.”

Boxever cofounder Mr O’Connor was recently appointed chief executive of eDesk, joining a number of senior hires that include vice-president of sales Ross Keating; Courtney Graham as vice-president of customer success; and Mats Forsgren as vice-president of operations.

“I’m so proud of our team for getting eDesk to the point where we can double our headcount, creating 150 new jobs,” said Mr Nolan. “Dermot brings with him to eDesk over two decades of experience in founding, building, and scaling successful SaaS businesses out of Ireland. I have every faith that he and the eDesk team will take the company to the next level of growth.”

The news of the expansion was welcomed by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar. “EDesk’s creation of 150 new jobs over the next 18 months in Dublin, Derry, Skibbereen and the US is a testament to the company’s ongoing commitment to Ireland,” he said. “The company’s incredible growth shows how Irish eCommerce and Business to Business firms like Flipdish, Intercom, and Wayflyer continue to take on global markets and grow from here in Ireland.”

Source: Irish Times

Learning Pool has paid an undisclosed sum for True Office Learning, a firm in the United States which specialises in compliance training.

True Office was at one time owned by the New York Stock Exchange.

Learning Pool’s chief executive Ben Betts said the deal with True Office Learning is “a significant step” for the Derry-based company.

“In the past two years, the way we work and learn has changed dramatically, and our aim is to lead the way in reshaping the new workplace learning landscape,” Mr Betts said.

The addition of True Office should take Learning Pool’s annual turnover to around £50m. The firm is aiming to significantly grow its business in the US where it already has an office in Colorado.

True Office’s major clients include the pharmaceutical firm Pfizer and the agri-food company, Cargill. Learning Pool was founded in 2006 by Paul McElvaney, who is now the firm’s executive chair.

The company provides online training courses for a range of major businesses and public sector organisations.

Last year a US private equity firm, Marlin Equity Partners, bought a majority stake in the business.

The 13th annual Golden Bridges Conference has taken place, showcasing the best of Ireland North West to influential US business and political leaders.

This year’s event was held virtually at Gteic in Gweedore, County Donegal, and featured prominent speakers discussing themes of investment, innovation, tourism, culture and education.

The conference, held last month, gave the global audience a unique insight into how people in the border region of Derry, Strabane and Donegal are continuing to work in close collaboration to attract investment, create jobs and boost the economy post-pandemic.

The event, jointly coordinated by Derry City and Strabane District Council and Donegal County Council, aims to promote partnerships between Ireland Northwest and Boston, Massachusetts.

Catch up on Golden Bridges 2021 at https://aisling-events.com/watch-golden-bridges-2021/

Learning Pool has agreed to a new investment from Marlin Equity Partners which will support the e-learning company’s continued growth and create 100 new jobs.

Founded in Derry and currently ranked as one of the top 60 Large Best Companies to Work for in the UK, Learning Pool employs more than 260 people across the UK and US.

The Marlin investment will facilitate further job creation, with plans in place to hire an additional 100 Learning Pool employees across the group this year. 

As part of the investment, Marlin will acquire the shareholding of Carlyle Cardinal Ireland, who invested in Learning Pool in 2016. Since then, Learning Pool has seen revenue increase four-fold and made four acquisitions, most recently acquiring US-based Remote Learner. Marlin is expected to help accelerate growth both organically and through additional acquisitions.

Learning Pool Team with Marlin Equity Partners

A virtual event promoting the North West as a great place to learn, work and visit will be held on the eve of St Patrick’s Day.

The Destination Derry initiative is holding a free evening of celebrations to connect Derry diaspora from all over the world with their hometown on March 16.

The event will include entertainment from Ulster University students, conversations with people who have chosen Derry as the location for their business or place of work, and a photo and video exhibition of previous St Patrick’s Day events in the city.

There will also be the opportunity to network with others worldwide in breakout Zoom rooms, and Foyle Search and Rescue will share how people can help them in their vital work.

Destination Derry was created by homebuilder Taggart Homes and its website (www.destinationderry.com) includes business support information, a blog, and Live, Learn, Work and Visit sections.

Tickets for the free St Patrick’s event can be booked at https://buytickets.at/destinationderry

Local company Learning Pool has announced the acquisition of US-based Remote Learner.

Paul McElvaney Learning Pool CEO

Situated in Denver, Colorado, the LMS (Learning Management System) specialist has represented more than a million users for over two decades, with clients including recruitment giant Indeed, Royal Caribbean Group and Ultimate Kronos Group.

Remote Learner is the fourth firm to join the Learning Pool Group in recent years and the news follows strong 2020 annual results for the Derry-based e-learning business, which saw revenues up 32% to £18.1m.

Learning Pool CEO Paul McElvaney said: “This acquisition puts the Group in great shape to accelerate our already ambitious customer satisfaction and growth targets in the North American region and takes the global Learning Pool team to more than 260 dedicated and talented people.”

A transatlantic conference hosted virtually in Derry’s Guildhall has attracted a record number of global participants.

The 12th Golden Bridges Conference and Awards ceremony saw political leaders, business and community representatives and education providers from the North West and Boston share their experiences of dealing with the COVID pandemic and preparing for Brexit.

The conference saw more than 500 registrations from all over the world and its influential delegates and speakers included Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine, Charlie McConalogue, and Seagate CEO Dave Mosley.

The challenge faced by the Ireland NW region in dealing with the pandemic was a predominate feature of the conference, with inputs and views from various community, cultural and commercial sector representatives from both sides of the Atlantic.

The annual Golden Bridges conference, usually held in Boston, aims to promote partnerships between Ireland Northwest and Boston, Massachusetts and highlight various community, business, and education initiatives in the two regions by bringing together influential business and political leaders.

You can watch the event back at www.aisling-events.com