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.

In this edition you will find interesting articles about what is happening in Derry City and Strabane District, bios of Derry Londonderry Dispora, human interest stories about Derry Strabane connections, a snapshot of jobs & key employers recruiting in the area, plus lots more.

September 2017 Issue

Read Derry ~ Strabane Global – Connecting With Our Diaspora


Boston Trade Mission Success

Franz Schlindwein celebrates Boston Trade Mission Success

Qubizm squares up to Boston market: Local businesses hoping to break into the US market are being encouraged to sign up for a special trade mission to Boston Massachusetts, which is being led by Derry City and Strabane District Council working in partnership with Donegal County Council.

The 2017 Trade and Investment Mission, November 14th-17th, will focus on promoting the North West region as an attractive investment proposition for global companies. The trip builds on strong links established over the years as part of an ongoing programme of activities included in Ireland Northwest’s Gateway to Growth Initiative.

Several local companies are already reaping the rewards from previous trade missions – among them Qubizm, a unique company which is hoping to transform the landscape of traditional education with an innovative and engaging new approach to Maths. Qubizm creates specialized learning tools aimed at improving teaching standards and reviving interest in the subject for primary and secondary school children.

Local innovator and educationalist Franz Schlindwein heads up the company, which is now also making positive inroads into the education sector in Boston, Mass. Having travelled with the delegation last year, Franz will be travelling back to Boston next month to follow up on a series of networking opportunities generated from last year’s trip, and is confident that other companies can enjoy similar benefits. He explained more about the company’s groundbreaking work, and why Qubizm is the ideal company to break into overseas markets.

“International Research in the form of the TIMSS Report 2015, shows that 43% of children here are not confident in Maths by the time they reach the age of 13,” he explained. “Up until age 9, that percentage is only 19% – this downturn is a reality and Boston College did the research. The downturn creates major problems for children entering the transition process between Primary and Secondary school phase and we can offer unparalleled support in this area.

“We didn’t want to enter the US market until we knew our product was right, so we’ve been refining the system to the point where we now have the endorsement of the universities, validation from the Inspectorate and Education Authority and published research completed by QUB and Trinity College. Now we have something that is proven to work, we are confident in sharing it with the American market.

“In the US there is significant underperformance in Maths, which varies state by state, but in general, attainment levels are much lower than here. The TIMSS Report also shows NI to have the highest performance levels in Maths of any English speaking country in the world.

“Teachers here embrace Izak9 and 40% of schools have already adopted our system for a variety of uses so the response has been extremely positive.”

Qubizm’s first learning tool Izak9, has been going down a storm in schools across Ireland and the UK, where the colourful cube based system, which is supported by engaging online learning resources, has been bringing teachers and pupils together in developing exciting new strategies for tackling traditional Maths problems.

“When we took our system to Boston, children in the Boys and Girls clubs had the chance to try out the cubes and for example the pupils and teachers at Newman College – which is Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s former school – use them already.

“While there we had several initial meetings with a variety of organisations both in the private and education sectors, and the next step is now for us to capitalize on that experience by travelling out there in June. We’ve had fantastic support since the trade mission, both from Council and from Invest NI, who assisted in setting up meetings with the appropriate points of contact for our company.

“It’s also been a great help having a contact on the ground over there, with business consultant Pat Bench setting up meetings for us with the Mayor’s Department, Boston Public Schools etc.”

Franz Schlindwein  from Qubizm celebrates Boston Trade Mission Success

Franz Schlindwein from Qubizm celebrates Boston Trade Mission Success

The future is certainly bright for the company which is currently working closely with local education authorities while keeping their sights set on the lucrative US and Asian markets.
“We have lots of plans in the offing at the moment,” Franz reveals. “As well as our trip back to Boston, where we hope to make further inroads in the market there, we also have plans to translate our system into Mandarin and are in channel partner discussions with a company in the Middle East.

“We are supporting the Attainment Challenge initiative in Scotland where they are seeking to achieve equity in education, as disadvantaged children are greatly affected by the massive socio-economic divide over there. It’s become a major priority for the Scottish government to bridge this gap and they are investing heavily in finding ways to improve attainment levels in Maths. We’re working with 50 schools in Scotland already, and we are also initiating a research project with the Welsh Education Authority in September.

“I would really recommend the trade mission to Boston in terms of the support that is offered to anyone unsure of how to establish those first important links. The follow up support is excellent. Of course it does require effort on the part of the company in keeping the momentum going after the trip, but the rewards are definitely there for those who are committed to pursuing their goal of breaking into the US market.”

Places are available for 12 companies from Derry and Strabane with similar aspirations to gain access to key economic and government decision-makers in Boston. Burgeoning enterprises can develop in-market networks and in-market intelligence though business-to-business meetings with potential partners, agents and customers, as well as gain valuable first hand insight into the US market. The deadline for submissions is 9th June 2017.

Anyone interested in finding out more about the 2017 Trade and Investment Mission to Boston should contact: Rosalind Young/Adam Goodall at Derry City and Strabane District Council 00353749160735

Apply now for the 2017 Mission at
Further information on Izak9 can be found on

Local businesses across the North West are being offered the opportunity to become part of a cross-border trade delegation trip to Boston scheduled for November 2017.Expressions of interest are now being sought for the 2017 Trade and Investment Mission to Boston for any local companies with aspirations to break into the US market.

Boston 2017 Trade Delegation. Civic Leaders

Boston 2017 Trade Delegation. Civic Leaders

The trip is being jointly organised by Derry City and Strabane District Council and Donegal County Council.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Alderman Hilary McClintock, said the trip offered a major opportunity for businesses in the North West.

I would really encourage any up and coming ventures, or existing companies with plans for expansion, to consider the benefits of establishing trade links with the US,” I travelled to Boston last year as part of a similar delegation and I was extremely impressed by the networking opportunities included in the itinerary. We received an extremely warm welcome during the visit and the participating delegates had the opportunity to establish meaningful and fruitful links with business counterparts in Boston.The NW region’s relationship with the US is a vital factor in our long-term strategy for economic growth and as a council we are committed to strengthening those existing relationships and identifying new opportunities for partnership and investment.

Twelve companies in total will be included in the delegation sourced from both the Derry and Strabane and Donegal County Council areas. They will be accompanied by the Mayors and Chief Executives of both Councils and key partners. A number of business sectors have been identified as priority areas for this trip, to include companies involved in Creative Digital Technologies, Advanced Manufacturing, Materials and Engineering (AMME) and Life and Health Sciences.

This will be the second Trade and Investment Mission led by the councils to this region and will endeavour to nurture and develop existing relationships with key economic, business, political and civic connections in the Boston Massachusetts area which have been progressing since 2008.

Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Cllr Terence Slowey said:

The trade mission offers some unique opportunities for local businesses to engage with key economic and government decision makers, as well as market professionals. It’s a great chance to gain some valuable market insight and establish lasting connections through business to business meetings with potential partners, agents and distributors. Those personal connections can prove invaluable when trying to stand out in an increasingly competitive business arena.”

Potential delegates will receive support throughout the trip and will have the chance to participate in a pre-mission assistance programme, as well as post-trip follow up support. A financial support package towards flights and hotel accommodation is available (50% contribution towards flights and up to £100 per night hotel accommodation) and companies will benefit from extensive local media coverage to heighten their presence in the market.

O’Neills Irish International Sports Company Limited joined the 2016 North West Trade Mission to Boston and Massachusetts jointly lead by Derry City and Strabane District Council and Donegal County Council.
A spokesperson for the company said:

We would recommend the trade mission to any company with serious aspirations about doing business in the Boston and Massachusetts area. The Trade Mission provided the opportunity to explore new markets in Boston/Massachusetts while meeting key Irish community contacts. The council’s network of contacts in Boston/Massachusetts is very well developed and we were given the opportunity to meet with key contacts from the business and political communities. The trip certainly helped O’Neills to build our professional networks and provided insight to a market we know will be a key growth area.”

Anyone interested in finding out more about the 2017 Trade and Investment Mission to Boston should contact: Rosalind Young/Adam Goodall at Derry City and Strabane District Council 02871 253253 Michael Tunney Donegal Local Enterprise 00353749160735

Pennsylvania expansion potential for local companies: Business representatives from Pennsylvania have said there could be major opportunities for Derry-based businesses to expand into what has become one of the world’s largest economies

Talks have also been taking place around partnership work with Ulster University about trans-Atlantic collaboration. Joseph Burke, Deputy Secretary for International Business Development at the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development, and Richard Kilner, Managing Director, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania European Investment Office, delivered a presentation on potential investment at a Council meeting on 14/03/17 . Addressing Derry & Strabane Council’s Business & Culture Committee, Mr Burke said they saw:

A lot of opportunity on the island of Ireland north and south”

He elaborated that their work centered on attracting business investment into Pennsylvania – the 19th largest economy in the world- and growing the export market. He said that one of the biggest business opportunities in the state revolved around the shale gas natural resources located there and said that fracking has been ongoing for the past 10 years amid tight regulations. Mr Burke said that this was “Creating a new renaissance in Pennsylvania manufacturing.

Other major industries in the State include life sciences, agribusiness and pharmaceutical manufacturing, mirroring some of the biggest employment sectors in Ireland. At present there are 13 businesses from the north of Ireland operating in Pennsylvania, including Almac and Primark, as well as many others from the south. There are now opportunities, Mr Burke said, for joint international ventures. He said that engagement with Derry & Strabane Council has been ongoing since October, with plans to strengthen ties between the two regions.

Sinn Fein Councillor Mickey Cooper said that formalising a mutually beneficial relationship was now “key”, and said there were opportunities for local businesses and the tourism sector to tap into a whole new market. “In many ways there is an open door we can exploit as much as possible,” Colr. Cooper said. “This is opening up opportunities for other organisations- the local university here is very much based on research work, and very much dependant on EU funding, and that’s going to be a problem as well.

“We think there is a lot of untapped potential here.” SDLP Councillor John Boyle said it was “encouraging” that the Pennsylvania representatives were considering that “companies in our part of the world can be of use in what is obviously a very strong and vibrant economy in Pennsylvania”. “We have many talented individuals in this part of the world. One of our problems is we export people,”

Colr. Boyle said, adding it would be better if the region was exporting knowledge and trade. “If your door is open we will be more than happy to facilitate companies from here expanding their business and their presence in Pennsylvania. What we are effectively opening up is that entire area,” he said. UUP Councillor Derek Hussey said that the research and development potential in conjunction with Magee and the North West Regional College was of particular interest. Mr Burke said he has met with the Ulster University representatives on several occasions, including in San Diego and Chicago. “On the life science front I think there’s a lot of synergy,” he said. “The desire is to continue that conversation.”