Connected Business Magazine Issue 4

Page 1

Magazine of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce



FOCUS ON Entrepreneurs Agri –Food Education and Skills North West Development

OPEN FOR BUSINESS BDO talks North West with Maybeth Shaw

Contents 6

President’s Message

Sinead McLaughlin, Chief Executive Londonderry Chamber of Commerce


Cover Story

18 Chief Executive’s Update

Derry / Londonderry Remains Switched On for Business: Maybeth Shaw, Partner at BDO Ireland



Entrepreneurship and Encouraging the Younger Generation


Nick Hewer, public relations consultant and Lord Sugar’s trusted advisor for many years on The Apprentice talks to the editor Jackie Logan

Airporter Celebrates 20 Years in Business

40 Manufacturing Success


George Fleming, Chairman of Fleming Agri Products, on the changes in the engineering and manufacturing of agricultural equipment


North West Develops Foodie Reputation

50 Appointments 52

Seamus Heaney HomePlace Opened

54 59th Annual President’s



City of Derry Airport

Airport Vital for North West Success


Building the North West Gateway

Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard MLA writes for CONNECTED




64 52 72

Being CONNECTED CONNECTED, Londonderry Chamber of Commerce’s full colour publication. Designed and produced by business people for business people. Distributed to businesses across the North West.

Welcome to the fourth edition of Connected, the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce’s magazine.

Winter is coming, Brexit is happening and Trump is President. For some of us, that’s good news, but for others, it’s been a strange year of dramatic political twists and turns, that has, in their view, left the North West suspended in the unknown.

Editor Jackie Logan

For those of you who are Game of Thrones fans, you will know that ‘Winter is Coming’ is the motto of the House of Stark, one of the Great Houses of Westeros. The meaning behind these words is one of warning and constant vigilance and, of course, that snow is on the way!

Editorial Assistants Darryl Campbell Amy McGuckian

I’m not comparing Brexit to Games of Thrones motto, or those governing the European Union to White Walkers… but some of you may think there are some similarities!

Content Editors Sinead McLaughlin Carol Kelly

We really don’t know what 2017 will bring to the North West in terms of business, no one knows, so it’s paramount that we prepare for it as best we can. How do we do that? Well for many it’s to continue doing what we do best – business as normal.


Motoring Correspondent Darryl Campbell Designer Big Moo Design Advertising Mary Miller Email addresses Front Cover Image Stephen Latimer Londonderry Chamber of Commerce President Gavin Killeen Chief Executive Sinead McLaughlin

For one, the Chamber has continued its work, engaging at the highest levels to ensure that the North West’s voice is heard in relation to the concerns of their members, organising meaningful and engaging events where members can network, socialise, and do business, all with one aspect in mind, to educate, engage and to learn best practice via shared experiences and mutual connections. This magazine, CONNECTED, is representative of what is taking place in the North West, from awards to new contracts and deals, businesses expanding, business start ups and various events – there is much good news throughout. These pages also map out the resilience that businesses are showing each and every day in the North West. To add to this there is positive news regarding investment and infrastructure, and the Minister for Infrastructure, Chris Hazzard MLA, writes specifically for CONNECTED. This news means better connectivity and more opportunity for our indigenous companies as well as potential further foreign direct investment. Also, it’s worth noting that whilst the Pound weakened in the wake of Brexit, the Euro got stronger, making Derry a much more attractive tourist destination for our neighbours. So you can always discover the opportunity in the unknown.

Membership Recruitment Officer Mary Miller

So, wrap up warm, grab a hot drink, lift the CONNECTED magazine and enjoy the many news stories and articles, including our cover story from BDO Northern Ireland, the helpful tips and hints and the latest news in the motoring section and then tell me whetherAwinter L INTERNATION is all doom and gloom – I think you’ll be surprised.

Marketing & Events Coordinator Grainne McLaughlin

One glimmer of hope? Game of Thrones Season 7 starts next Summer!

Members Services Executive Laverne O’Donnell


t: 028 7126 2379 w: Follow us on:


Business Operations Manager Carol Kelly

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort is made to ensure accuracy, the publisher accepts no responsibility for omissions or errors within this publication. Editorial submissions are included at the discretion of the editor. The opinions expressed in articles within this publication are not necessarily those of the Chamber. All offers, promotions and competitions appearing in Connected are the sole responsibility of the advertiser/promoting party and Londonderry Chamber of Commerce does not accept any responsibility for any representations made within them.



Jackie Logan

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President’s Message As I come to the end of my term as President of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, I am very humbled and privileged to have played a part in leading the Chamber in the North West.

This is a great place to live, work and play and I have found that it is only through working with others that it will become even better. So I’d like to thank Sinead, the Chief Executive and her exceptional team for all their assistance and guidance they have offered me over the past year. Team work is not just confined to the Chamber and regardless of what kind of business we run, or who we are, for us to succeed and in order to build a better future, we need to compete as a team, building strong and lasting relationships with all the stakeholders, both within government and the wider civil society. 2016 has been a challenging year for many. Uncertainty for many businesses has caused all sorts of challenges from the currency fluctuation to exporting and I know that Brexit has and will certainly challenge us in the immediate future. There is a lot we need to know and understand in relation to this, what will happen the border, to the common travel area, to the Customs Union and to our membership of the Single Market? All these questions need answers so that we as business men and women can plan accordingly. Brexit aside, there is more we can be getting on with and forgive me for beating this drum again but we need to be able to recruit highly skilled staff in order to prosper. Modern workforces contain employees from many different countries, the North West is no


different. If our options are to be limited in the future, it is entirely wrong that we should not be able to source the best people from wherever, however, we must also focus on ‘growing our own’ in terms of skills. Sadly, Northern Ireland has underperformed and is still underperforming when it comes to skills. That is a key reason why productivity is weaker than that of many of our competitor nations. Businesses need to be able to recruit highly skilled staff in order to prosper. Connection, collaboration and creativity through diversity and empowerment are critical to this region’s future success. Both the North West Regional College (NRWC) and the Ulster University are to be commended on the change that is taking place. The recent commitment from Vice Chancellor, Paddy Nixon, to expand Magee’s student numbers and to establish a Graduate Entry Medical School in Derry is to be welcomed. The engagement of NWRC to meet the needs of local employers and the labour market has been a remarkable breath of fresh air. I make no apology for my belief that skills are the key to enhancing our economy, but we all have our part to play, whether as an educational body or a public organisation or private sector company. We need to inspire young people and persuade them that with the right skills they will be able to gain jobs that will give them good wages, a good lifestyle and an enjoyable working life, here in the North West. Recently the Derry City and Strabane District Council launched a draft of the Transitional Community Plan, building on the work of the

One Plan but now including the Strabane area. Once again it has a strong collaborative and partnership approach – it is an aspirational plan. Critically it is based on a full economic analysis, it is clearly evidenced based with a 10-year vision that envisages; an additional 9,700 jobs, 43% at level 4 and above, above average earnings for Northern Ireland, increased level of economic activity and slightly improved gross value add.

workforces, upskill and develop management and leadership skills, this will ultimately lead to much improved performance. Regardless of Brexit, we as business men and women need to get on with doing what we do best – good business. By focusing on our excellent products which are produced by a talented workforce, this will stand us in good stead and enable businesses to overcome the many challenges ahead.

Such a plan needs to be commended but this ambitious plan can only be achieved with central Government investment, grave momentum and energetic planning.

However, now is time for the Executive to accelerate the investment that is so badly needed for many years, it will transform the city and the region and will significantly improve the lives and outlook for many of our citizens, it will enrich our society and will help deliver the significant change the whole of Northern Ireland needs.

Key to its success must be the university expansion, the completion of road and rail infrastructure, the A5, A6 and A2, as well as development of key assets like Ebrington, Fort George and Strabane Town Centre. I was also delighted to see the swift support from Stormont to the City of Derry Airport recently and that there was agreement that the Derry-London route was a Public Service Obligation thus helping secure the Airport’s future and provide regular connectivity to London. There is real opportunity for all. As employers and business leaders, we too must look inwardly, invest in our own

As I hand over to George Fleming, our very own President Elect, I wish him well and hope that we will triumph in moving forward in the North West with much needed investment, with much improved infrastructure and engagement across the educational spheres. This very fine part of the world must continue to succeed but it needs us all to play our part.

Gavin Killeen President

Gold Awards Keep Coming for Property Link

Neil Patterson and Laura Giacani of Property Link Ltd, receiving the Letting Agent of the Year award 2016, NI from sir Clive Woodward.

Property Link has recently been awarded Best in Northern Ireland, Gold Award at The Lettings Agency of the Year Awards 2016 for the second year running. With over 40 years’ experience, Property Link has amassed a reputation for high levels of customer service to both landlords and tenants alike, having also won the Gold Award in the Tenant category, Northern Ireland, at the Estate and Letting Agent Awards 2015. Originally based in Belfast, the company began to grow and spread its wings towards Derry/Londonderry, where the need to open a branch soon became apparent. The new office was opened on the Strand Road in 2009, staffed only by Neil Patterson until February 2010, when he took on an Administration Assistant. Over the coming years, the business grew steadily, increasing its landlord and property portfolio every year. Today, it has more than 150 landlords, with more than 400 properties, all managed by an extremely dedicated team of nine individuals. Neil Patterson, Property Link Managing Director said: “It is testament to the hard work and dedication of our management and staff that the company has been awarded Best in Northern Ireland, Gold Award at the recent awards ceremony. “I am very proud of the fact that Property Link were among the final eight shortlisted for the Best in the UK. We are dedicated to improving our services year after year so that landlords and tenants alike will have confidence in knowing that Property Link will look after their requirements and needs to the highest possible standard. Our expertise in the Buy to Let market makes us more attractive to both new landlords and those who are already in the market, as we project manage their investment from purchase.”

Phil Spencer presenting the ESTA Gold Award 2015, to Barry Corscaden, MD of Property Link NI, and Geraldine Lynch of Property Link L’Derry. Also pictured are Neil Patterson MD, Property Link L’Derry, and Laura Giacani Business Development Manager, Property Link L’Derry.


MPA Recruitment Continues to Grow MPA Recruitment has seen over 30% growth in the last two years that’s according to newly appointed managing director of MPA Recruitment, Paul McQue. With a clear vision on how he is developing the agency into a contemporary and exciting business for everyone involved, Paul said, “We are delighted to announce that MPA Recruitment is now the Derry and Strabane District Council’s staffing partner for the next three years and hopefully beyond. This award is great news and testament to the continued high levels of recruitment excellence by our Head Office in DerryLondonderry and teams throughout the North West.” MPA Recruitment is one of the top recruitment businesses in Northern Ireland, providing over 750 jobs with over 200

clients each week. With over 30% growth throughout the past 24 months, MPA continues to deliver a consultative, partnership led solution for their clients throughout their branch network. Based at Great James Street, with three additional offices located in Belfast, Coleraine and Omagh, Paul added, “MPA provides temporary, permanent and master vendor solutions to a vast array of clients in multiple sectors throughout the country. I’m extremely proud of the team at MPA and passionate about delivering an industry leading service to our clients. “It was a pleasure to be asked by Mary Pat to take on the managing director’s role with a view to continuing the impressive growth of MPA into the long term. Mary Pat

Paul McQue, Managing Director of MPA Recruitment

O’Kane has built a wonderful business and we look forward to celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2017. “We will continue to develop the MPA brand into new sectors alongside the recent introduction of our executive search arm. For almost 20 years we have earned the reputation of being the ‘go to’ consultancy in the North West

for professional recruitment services and we are excited to see what 2017 brings. “The team and I would like to thank the Chamber and our Chamber partners for their support this year and I look forward to continuing to provide substantial employment opportunities in assisting our region’s overall growth into 2017 and beyond”.

New Finance House gives SMEs Choice A new Belfast based lending solutions platform, Clearpath Finance, is set to address the need for alternative finance by helping small businesses that are struggling to access finance from the mainstream lenders. The new company has already drawn down £15m in its first tranche of loans, which will go

towards licensed trade, retail and renewables projects. A further £10m is in this fresh pot of money and the company expects this to grow to £100m within the next six months. The company, a commercial finance broker, has established excellent relationships working with a select number of peer-

James Gibbons and Conor Devine of Clearpath Finance

to-peer lenders, equity and mezzanine funders and private lending consortiums across the UK. Conor Devine MRICS of Clearpath Finance said; “The SME market has been seriously under-supported by the main financial institutions over the last ten years mainly due to legacy debt and balance sheet problems facing the local banks. We identified an opportunity in the market to provide third party lending to businesses and organisations looking for additional financial resources through our comprehensive experience and research. “By bringing together a number of larger financial institutions that have the capacity to support the SME sector in Northern Ireland through Clearpath Finance, we will ensure that business lending for the SME sector is through a simplified, uncluttered and expedient path.”


Clearpath, which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, will effectively offer term-loan funding, secured or unsecured at rates of between 4 and 12 per cent. SMEs are continuing to diversify their funding needs and Clearpath Finance is committed to providing those SMEs who wish to grow with the support and solutions that they require. James Gibbons, Clearpath Finance added; “Many businesses in Northern Ireland are being turned down by the main street banks when asking for support for their business for one reason or another. From the hospitality sector to renewable energy projects, Clearpath Finance, depending upon each individual case, can offer up to 70 per cent of the ‘loan to’ value, ensuring that SMEs have the access to funds when they need it, whether it is for additional cash flow, to fund an extension, or to grow their business.”

North West Businesses Celebrate Commitment to Local Community Businesses from across the North West came together at a special celebration event, organised by Business in the Community, in September to recognise their achievements as part of their engagement with Business in the Community.

Pictured at the event (back row, from left to right): Leanne Doherty, Northern Ireland Employability Manager, Business in the Community; Teresa McCloskey, Performance & Quality Improvement Manager, Apex; (front row, from left to right) Sorcha Dunne, North West Director, Business in the Community; June Coates, Communications Manager, Seagate; Grainne O’Kane, GM Human Resource UK, Firstsource

The event, which took place at The BEAM Centre in Maydown, saw the two groups coming together to reflect on their accomplishments and celebrate responsible business in the North West. The North West Employers’ Forum, chaired by Kyra McDowell from Firstsource, acts as a platform for employers in the region to meet and discuss recruitment needs and employment issues, with the ultimate aim of supporting local unemployed men and women back into the workplace. The North West Leadership Team is a regional hub of Business in the Community members committed to making a positive impact on their local community. It is chaired by Rob Hardeman, who was awarded the accolade of HRH Ambassador for Corporate Responsibility in Northern Ireland 2015-2017. Speaking at the event, Leanne Doherty, Employability Manager for Business in the Community explains: “We wanted to host an event to celebrate the commitment of our members in the North West and

recognise their achievements in the past few years. For example, the North West Employers’ Forum has been operating since 2010, and to date has helped over 300 people into employment, whilst providing over £50,000 of pro-bono support to local

Pictured at the event is Sorcha Dunne, Business in the Community with Rob Hardeman, Chair of the North West Leadership Team and HRH Ambassador for Corporate Responsibility in Northern Ireland

unemployed people. “Our members in the region are incredibly dedicated to doing business responsibly and this has been reflected in the 2016 Responsible Business Awards when we saw Seagate Technology winning the Workplace, Health and Wellbeing Award; Firstsource picking up the Employer of Choice Award and Apex receiving Highly Commended in the Community Impact Award category. “This celebration event gave us a valuable opportunity to recognise the commitments of both of these valuable business groups, thank everyone involved and look ahead to continued activity in the local community. With the ongoing support of our members, we hope to continue to play an important role in increasing sustainable employment opportunities across the North West.” A wide range of organisations attended the event including Apex, Allstate, Click Energy, DuPont, Firstsource, Learning Pool, North West Regional College, Precision Group, Rutledge, Sainsbury’s, Seagate, Heron Bros, First Trust and PSNI.


Elite Aesthetic Treatment Clinic Local award winning skin clinic, Elite Aesthetic Treatment Clinic is a finalist in the London Aesthetic Awards for Best Clinic in Ireland, which takes place at the Park Plaza Hotel, London in December 2016.

in their own skin. Margaret is the clinic’s practice manager and skin specialist. The former NHS nurse has received awards for her clinical excellence and charter marks as a service provider.

The Derry-Londonderry clinic was established in 2013 by mother and daughter team, Margaret Doherty and Emma Heaney, and has received recognition locally and nationally for its wide range of anti-aging treatments.

Margaret said; “We are very excited to be a finalist in this year’s London Aesthetic Awards. In 2014 we came third and were highly commended as the Best New Clinic in the UK and Ireland. To now be a finalist is testament to the service we provide in helping our clients through our quality care and wide range of exclusive treatments. This is reflective in our increasing client base and our 98%

The clinic came about due to Margaret’s and Emma’s commitment to helping people with insecurities, gain confidence and feel beautiful

retention of clients.”

This year’s awards entrants were judged on commitment to excellence in customer service, patient care and patient safety with evidence of good feedback from clients. The winner will be decided by the Aesthetic Awards judging panel. Emma Heaney, Elite’s aesthetic clinical practitioner and qualified nurse commented; “We provide an elite, professional and discrete experience at our clinic. Our mission is to challenge ageing through refreshment and the rejuvenation of the skin. The treatments we provide are

result driven and clinically proven to be safe and effective.

“A small taste of what we offer includes anti-wrinkle injections, dermal fillers, chemical peels, hair restoration and laser hair removal. There really is something for everyone. We are absolutely delighted to be a finalist in the Aesthetic Awards and would like to thank all of our clients for the support they have given us.” Elite Aesthetic Treatment Clinic is focused on providing clinical excellence within the field of non-surgical aesthetic treatment and skin care regimes.

Learning Pool CEO, Paul McElvaney wins UK IoD Director of the Year After receiving the IoD Director of the Year Award for Northern Ireland earlier this year, Paul McElvaney, CEO at Leaning Pool, was automatically enrolled into the SME category for UK IoD Director of the Year. The judges of this highly competitive awards category were particularly impressed by the culture, passion and customer focus at Learning Pool, which led to Paul securing the esteemed title of UK IoD Director of the Year. Speaking of his new title Paul comments; “Winning this award is a great recognition for the people who really have made Learning Pool the success story that I’m very proud of; the staff, the board, investors, customers, suppliers and of course friends.”


Paul McElvaney collects his award for UK IoD Director of the Year. Left to Right: Linda Brown, Paul McElvaney and Mark Durden-Smith

Established in 2006, Learning Pool works in partnership with their customers to deliver a complete learning solution that drives results and improves performance. Offering first-class customer service, the award-

winning learning technologies company has delivered high-quality learning solutions in over 360 organisations across the globe including McDonalds, The Houses of Parliament and Jury’s Inn.


AWARE Launches New Mindfulness Courses for Derry Professionals AWARE, a leading organisation providing Mindfulness training courses in Northern Ireland has just launched a new NW programme. To date the charity has delivered its Mindfulness programme to more than 1,000 people across the province and earlier this year launched NI’s first Mindfulness day, which attracted widespread support from key industry professional bodies.

“The mindfulness sessions with AWARE were an oasis of calm in our otherwise relentless days, providing the opportunity to refocus and recalibrate the mind. We also gained invaluable insight into things like how to cope with stress, build resilience, and be present to the task in hand. I have no doubt that, through continuing practice, our team will feel considerable benefits

One professional who has taken AWARE’s Mindfulness course said;

that have the potential to very positively impact our business well into the future.” AWARE has a dedicated Mindfulness Practitioner, Frank Liddy who has more than 30 years’ experience working in the mental health sector and he works alongside Mindfulness Co-ordinator, Carolyn Blair. Based in AWARE’s new office in Derry’s Bishop Street, the charity is launching a new training programme for professionals in the North West. In two days, participants will learn about the scientific theory supporting Mindfulness and its benefits, the core techniques and will be equipped to use Mindfulness as a tool to improve focus, reduce stress, and increase creativity.

Pictured preparing for the new Mindfulness training courses are Carolyn Blair, Mindfulness Co-ordinator, Frank Liddy, Mindfulness Practitioner and Siobhan Doherty, Chief Executive, AWARE.

This training can be of particular benefit to professionals in the legal, construction, education, and healthcare sector, and those who attended last time gained great benefit on a personal and professional level. Further Information on this course and additional courses can be found at

Something for Everyone at Lisnagelvin Shopping Centre Aisling Doherty, Centre Manager

The long established Lisnagelvin Shopping Centre has really got something for everyone, with an excellent range of shops from fashion and accessories to footwear, a community pharmacy to a butcher’s shop. The welcome recent addition of Costa Coffee, Subway, Card Factory, Poundland and Savers, have definitely added to the wonderful array of shops on offer. Aisling Doherty, the Centre Manager, said, “We’ve been working very hard at the Lisnagelvin Shopping Centre over the last period to ensure that the Centre has everything for all of our customer’s shopping needs. It is a great place to shop, catch up with friends and grab a coffee. “We are the only centre to offer crèche facilities and along with


free car parking as well as a diverse number of shops on one level, we are committed to providing the best possible choice for our visitors. We have been working behind the scenes to bring new business to the centre for shoppers to enjoy.”

The Lisnagelvin Shopping Centre each year gives back to their local community. This year they are delighted to “give back to both communities in our efforts to sponsor cross community activities.” Aisling Doherty continued; “Having chosen the Hill Crest Community Centre and the Irish Street Community Centre as our ‘give’ this year it is hoped that both Centres will continue with the fantastic work they do with young people giving them somewhere to go and learn new skills”.

Celebrating Local Construction Local construction specialist, JA Gamble & Co Ltd has recently completed a large scale refurbishment project for the city’s Richmond Shopping Centre and the company is optimistic about the increasing volume of work in the North West. Managed by third generation family member, Richard Gamble, JA Gamble & Co Ltd has over 80 years’ experience of working in both the local and national construction market. The company has seen its fair share of ups and downs which have affected the industry during recent years particularly during the recession. Richard Gamble, company director, commented; “We have just finished a complete refurbishment of the Mall and all public areas of the Richmond Shopping Centre. We had two months in which to carry out the work as the project needed to be completed

Richard Gamble, JA Gamble & Co Ltd pictured on site at a recent build in Limavady


before the arrival of the Santa’s Grotto in preparation for the festive period.

“Adding to the uniqueness of the project was that all the work had to take place once the centre was closed to the public so we worked throughout the night, ensuring all areas were safely secured before the shopping centre opened each morning. “The investment in the refurbishment of the shopping centre and the increase in volume of new projects in the area is indicative that the North West is experiencing continued, and new growth. At JA Gamble we specialise in a niche part of the market with our core work focused on industrial, retail, healthcare and leisure facilities throughout Ireland and beyond.

“Following what has been a turbulent few years in the construction sector, we are quietly confident that the market has reached a turning point. We learnt some valuable lessons during the downturn period and were fortunate that we implemented some key strategic decisions at the right time. We are looking forward to continued growth in the company.” JA Gamble & Co Ltd consistently receive high ratings in its accreditations which include its safety certification and it was one of the first small to medium companies to receive its Nvirocert certificate management system accreditation.

Bishop’s Gate Hotel Awarded Hideaway of the Year 2017 Bishop’s Gate Hotel, Derry was awarded the title “Hideaway of the Year 2017” at an awards presentation held in Dublin in September 2016. The Georgina Campbell Awards are the longest running hospitality awards in Ireland and are highly coveted within the industry. During the award presentation Georgina Campbell said about the hotel; “Everyone loves the idea of a hideaway, and this is one of our most popular awards. Whether it’s the establishments which offer that sense of privacy and seclusion, or its location, there is something very appealing about a place that you can disappear to and escape everyday pressures. “Our favorite hideaways are

most often in remote places - on islands perhaps or in deeply rural areas. But there is something uniquely appealing about the idea of a hideaway in a city - and, although it brings a treasure chest of history to its current role, this unusual place has also brought something very new and different to ancient surroundings. “Bringing history, luxury, style and service to the Cathedral Quarter, Bishop’s Gate Hotel is a uniquely interesting place to stay within the historic city walls - and the charming staff are full of warmth, enjoying nothing better than sharing its history with guests. “There’s a lovely pride of place that immediately makes new arrivals feel at home. A very special destination, and a great asset to Derry City.”


Freshly prepared bar snacks and daily specials served from 11am – 7pm Live music every Friday and Saturday


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Foyleside Expects Busy Period

Be Brrrrave and Support Donegal’s Polar Plunge for Special olympics Hundreds support Special Olympics at Rathmullan Strand Special Olympics Ireland asked Co. Donegal to get ‘Freezin’ for a Reason’ in December by participating in their ‘coolest’ fundraising event of the year. Donegal’s Polar Plunge took place at Rathmullan Strand, Rathmullan. Last year, hundreds of people including families, sports clubs, businesses and individuals turned out to take part in this unique fundraising event, bravely plunging into icy cold waters. Special Olympics were hoping that the event would be just as popular with potential plungers so that much needed funds for the organisation and its athletes can be raised. The sports charity is gearing up to send 26 athletes to Austria in March, enabling them to compete in the Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017.

Foyleside Shopping Centre in DerryLondonderry has reported an influx of cross-border footfall over the last few months since the value of sterling has decreased significantly, and euro-based shoppers are now reaping the benefits. Fergal Rafferty, Centre Manager Foyleside, explains; “Currency fluctuations are nothing new to shoppers in this region. There has always been a large flow of cross-border traffic as a large segment of our shopping catchment is based in Donegal and the North West region. “It has been a number of years since we had a parity situation with sterling and euro, back in 2005. This of course means that we have large price variations. The Sunday Times published recently that there are variations as much as ten euro on a bottle of spirits and up to 20 euro on fashion items from the same multinational traders on both sides of the border. “Following Brexit, footfall figures from the Republic have increased by 20 per cent in the past three months in Foyleside, and many retailers have

reported up to 50 per cent more euro transactions versus last year. This trend looks set to continue. “Shoppers are very savvy and priceconscious and they will avail of the best opportunities available to them. Some retailers in the centre responded to the shift by pricing close to pound for euro deals, so this is a win-win scenario for the euro consumer. “It has been a number of years since sterling has been this weak and retailers in the Republic have had the advantage for a number of years of Northern shoppers making the trip over the border. This tends to be cyclical and certainly with the advantage now in the North, we anticipate an extremely busy trading period in Foyleside, with late night shopping and accessible car parking facilities.”

Speaking at the launch of the Polar Plunge, Special Olympics Ireland’s Ulster Regional Director, Shaun Cassidy said: “The Polar Plunge is a freezing but fun event which we hope the people of Co. Donegal and beyond will get behind. This special opportunity allows people to take part in a meaningful initiative during the season of good will. We would encourage everyone to come along and show their support.” Special Olympics Ireland provides sporting opportunities for over 9,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities across 360 clubs all over Ireland. The Polar Plunge in Rathmullan was kindly supported by the Law Enforcement Torch Run. To keep up to date with Special Olympics Ireland events and Special Olympics Ireland athletes, follow the organisation on Twitter, @SOIreland and on Facebook, @SpecialOlympicsIreland.

Foyleside Shopping Centre is the North West’s premier shopping destination, and home to over 50 top retailers including Top Shop, M&S, River Island, Debenhams, MAC, Next, Office, Schuh, Dunnes, and many more.



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09/11/2016 14:59

Chief Executive’s Update Sinead McLaughlin talks about Chamber life these past six months in the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce.

I think I can safely say the decision by the population of the United Kingdom on June 23, 2016, to leave the European Union was a shock to most of us. I make no apology for the Chamber lobbying hard and promoting the fact that we wished to stay within the European Union. We believe that the North West region is the most economically deprived region of the UK and as such the vote to leave will have a greater impact here than on any other region in the UK. The visit by Alex Salmond MP in June, before the vote, saw a strong pro-EU voice in the Brexit Debate and he made considerable impact when he was in Derry. Now, like you, I’m anxious to see what actions and assurances we will receive by the various governing bodies. Some months later we haven’t seen much, there is further uncertainty and more unanswered questions.

Our ‘What next?’ event in October at Catalyst Inc, sponsored by BDO Northern Ireland sought to address some of those questions. A panel of speakers discussed the implications and considerations for business, post Brexit; the impact of currency values, trade costs, taxation and the economic outlook. This was a chance to prepare businesses for changes in the market that will come as the UK prepares to leave the EU and to identify and capitalise on possible opportunities.

Despite Brexit, the Chamber has continued with ‘business as normal’, networking events took place in The Phoenix as part of the Foyle Maritime Festival in July, at Campsie Karting in early September and a ‘Let’s Do Business’ breakfast in mid November at the An Grianan Hotel. Thank you to, Electric Ireland, Eamon Gallagher of Campsie Karting and An Grianan Hotel for their support.


Susan Hayes Culleton returned to Derry-Londonderry to talk at the EURES Employer Incentive event at the City Hotel in September. As always Susan enthusiastically gave those present, real life business examples ensuring that they left with some very helpful hints and tips for their own businesses. EURES along with speakers from the Department of

For a list of our upcoming events log onto our website For event management, contact Laverne O’Donnell – or Grainne McLaughlin – Or alternatively call 028 7126 2379

Social Protection, Department of Communities, Derry City and Strabane District Council and the Donegal Local Development Office, provided attendees with information and signposting to support available for SMEs on both sides of the border. In October, we took time out to engage socially, the Millennium Forum gave members the opportunity to witness first-hand the multi award winning musical ‘Blood Brothers.’ It was a fantastic night for all those who attended and an event that should be repeated. This year we ran a series of events entitled ‘Entrepreneurship in Action’. The first event focused on Innovation at C-TRIC. Sponsored by the Ulster Business School the attendees heard from Professor Tony Bjourson and Dr Maurice O’Kane about C-TRIC, how it was started and then developed. This was a unique occasion to hear about how this organisation facilitates clinical research and innovation, enabling the streamlining of developments from the laboratory to the market place through a focused ‘bench to point’ of care approach.

The second event was all about People Power and Paul McElvaney from Learning Pool kindly facilitated. Learning Pool and Paul have both achieved many accolades. Paul more recently as UK IoD Director of

the Year, 2016 but the company was listed in 2016, as Sunday Times Best Small Companies to Work For and one of Deloitte Ireland’s Best Managed Companies. Paul took time out of his busy diary to talk about Learning Pool’s fantastic journey and experience. The third event was kindly hosted by Fleming Agri, one of the oldest agricultural machinery companies in Ireland and the UK. Through the generations, the company’s product portfolio has changed and adapted to meet the evolving needs and efficiency requirements of this sector. Guests were treated to a tour of the facility in early December as well as hearing from Chairman, George Fleming, about his experiences and those key points that he had learnt along the way.

shared his department’s strategic focus within the current programme for government and outlined the challenges and opportunities for government and businesses in a post EU Referendum environment. It was an exceptionally interesting discussion which was well attended at the City Hotel.

As of the 15th December 2016, George Fleming, Chairman of Fleming Agri, will be the new President of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce and In October, in partnership with The I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Rainbow Project, Diversity Champions NI Gavin Killeen for his tenacity, his time and and Allstate, we focused on diversity and his unwavering desire to achieve change inclusion initiatives to celebrate gender in the North West. He will be staying on, and sexual minorities in the workplace. on the Chamber’s Board, nonetheless, we It was a very interesting event with many at the Chamber, wish him well in his own business, Nu Print Technologies. taking part at The Playhouse. The President’s Dinner held in October is I, on behalf of all Chamber members, always a prestigious event. Sponsored by would also like to wish George well SONI and held at The White Horse Hotel, during his tenure. 2017 will be a very the event was full to capacity. As always it interesting and no doubt challenging year was a memorable event. You’ll see further but the Chamber will continue its hard work to represent all of its membership detail later in the magazine. whether it is lobbying central or local on policies and On the 2nd November I was asked by the government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade developments which affect the North to moderate the North South plenary West or promoting all that is good in the at the All Island Discussion on Brexit, North West – for there is much that is which was held in Kilmainham Hospital in good too! Dublin. This was an excellent opportunity to highlight the issues facing the NW The Londonderry Chamber of Commerce will continue to give our members an region to a very high profile guest list. active forum and put them at the heart of More recently the Chamber hosted the this creative, innovative, competitive and Economy Minister, Simon Hamilton. He confident region.

New Members Acorn Fund Adair & Neely BDO Northern Ireland Claire Hughes Dental Click Energy Connect Telecom Cross Eyes Eyewear & Optometry

Darina Eades Management Solutions Dynasty Group J A Gamble & Co Ltd J E Hegarty & Co Ltd John Mulholland Motor Group L.A.T.C.H. Marks Design Collective

MCI Ireland Ltd My Accountant Friend SCATTR Servall Women’s Centre Derry


Stephen Devine from Evermore Energy (Event sponsor), Minister for the Economy Simon Hamilton, Gavin Killeen and Ciaran Devine from Evermore Energy (Event sponsor)

Martin McGuinness Deputy First Minister, Mark Durkan MP, Alex Salmond MP

Sinead McLaughlin, CEO, Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Maurice O’Kane, C-TRIC, Prof. Tony Bjourson, C-TRIC, Barry Johnston, C-TRIC; Edel Grifin, Ulster University Business School, Gavin Killeen, President, Chamber of Commerce


Attendees at Business Leaders Lunch with Mr Alex Salmond MP

Attendees at Business Leaders Lunch with Minister Simon Hamilton

Alex Salmond MP talks with Colum Eastwood MLA, Mark Durkan MP, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and Gavin Killeen

Sinead McLaughlin, Paul Diamond, Neil Diamond, Gavin Killeen, Martin McGuinness MLA, Alex Salmond MP and Mark Durkan MP and Colum Eastwood MLA


Sing Song Down Memory Lane The Millennium Forum has recently announced details of an exciting new initiative that will help engage the dementia community with their annual pantomime. The North West’s leading arts venue, in conjunction with Arts and Business N.I and the Cinderella show sponsor, Dunnes Stores, have come together to create ‘Sing Song Sessions’ for people living with dementia.

‘Sing Song Down Memory Lane’ features interactive singing sessions which will be hosted by the Millennium Forum panto cast under the direction of Alan Wright, all of whom are trained in dementia awareness. These sessions will give people living with dementia the chance to become familiar with the songs from the Millennium Forum’s pantomime, providing a way for them along with their carers to express themselves and socialise with others in a fun and supportive group. As part of this initiative the Millennium Forum and panto show sponsor, Dunnes Stores, are also participating in employee engagement activities which includes training sessions for staff on how to make their environments dementia friendly as well as helping staff gain general

Cara McCartney, Millennium Forum and Bobby Clifford of Dunnes Stores enjoying the sponsorship of Dunnes and the annual Christmas pantomime

knowledge and understanding for catering for customers with dementia. Brona Whittaker, Arts Manager, Arts & Business NI commented; “The Sing Song down Memory lane is a wonderful initiative that will have a positive impact on people in the community living with dementia. This is a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate how the arts and in this particular occasion, music is being used in producing new ways of evoking memories. The involvement

of Dunnes Stores staff in an educational capacity in learning how to work with people with dementia will add a new layer of customer service within their stores making shopping experiences dementia friendly which will be beneficial to many families.” Cinderella runs from the 2nd to the 31st of December 2016, the dementia friendly performance is on the 18th of December.

Can Your Business Help Develop Skills in Young People? Local charity, Young Enterprise NI, is calling for business people in the North West area to support the delivery of their business education programmes. The charity works with over 40 schools and

centres and 13,800 young people aged 4 to 25 in the North West area each year. The entrepreneurship-based programmes develop skills, increase confidence, prepare

young people for work, and get them to consider business start-up as a future career option. By volunteering on Young Enterprise programmes you will

be inspiring young people in the North West through our innovative, fun and hands-on business education programmes and you will also get the chance to network with other businesses involved. Gavin Killeen, President of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, said: “Businesses have to take responsibility, take control and give something back by inspiring future business leaders in the North West. Supporting Young Enterprise NI is a fantastic way of doing this – even if we impact just one young person in a classroom, it is all worthwhile.” If you are interested in supporting Young Enterprise NI contact them at or on 028 9032 7003.

Photograph caption: Keepsakes from Lisneal College, winners of the Best Overall Company at The Big Market 2015


Young Enterprise NI is part funded by the Department of Education.

BDO: Northern Ireland’s Accountants Audit | Tax | Advisory

Advising local businesses for over 25 years. When you need advice and support in meeting your growth plans choose a firm born and raised in Northern Ireland. BDO Northern Ireland: People. Innovation. Results

W: T: 02890 439009 @bdoni

BDO in Northern Ireland is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority to conduct investment business.

Derry/Londonderry Remains Switched On for Business Technology, people and innovation will continue to propel firms in Derry-Londonderry, says Maybeth Shaw, Partner at BDO Northern Ireland. With its impressive engineering heritage, strong work ethic and excellent education system, Derry-Londonderry boasts a skilled pool of labour, modern infrastructure and an outwardlooking business culture. This is a region that is truly more than the sum of its parts, making the business landscape an appealing location of choice for potential inward investors and a hotspot for enterprise. In the recent Northern Ireland, Open for Business report, developed by BDO Northern Ireland and leading law firm Carson McDowell, the quality of the local work force was identified as a major driver for Foreign Direct Investment. This is an

area where the North West is ahead of the game, particularly in the fast-growing tech sector and communications sector with global firms Allstate, Seagate, DuPont and Firstsource having already laid strong roots. Thousands of students are also studying high demand technology related courses in North West Regional College and the Ulster University’s Magee Campus getting ready to sustain the growing cluster of indigenous and international digital enterprises operating in the area. Outside of London, Northern Ireland remains in the strongest position of any part of the UK to secure Foreign Direct Investment

Maybeth Shaw, Partner at BDO Northern Ireland addressing the audience at the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce EU Referendum, ‘What Next?’ event

following the referendum to leave the EU and it is clear that the North West holds many of the best cards when it comes to future success. Open for business The Maiden City is a place where ambition, innovation and talent are encouraged and developed by leading educational facilities producing a highly skilled workforce. In recent years, DerryLondonderry has led the digital revolution and at the heart of its international communications network is Project Kelvin, a €30million infrastructure investment that links the city via a submarine cable to the Hibernia North Transatlantic cable located 22 miles offshore.

This provides a lightning-fast direct telecoms link to North America and improved connectivity to mainland Europe. Derry-Londonderry, almost literally, is sitting astride the information highway between the two continents. In sectors such as media and finance, fractions of seconds matter for information delivery and fast-paced connectivity can give the city a unique advantage in a post-Brexit world. It puts the North West ahead of other GB and Irish capitals, but also competing local locations that share comparably low operating and living costs. This is a businessfriendly working environment that will remain a destination of choice for knowledge intensive sectors. Competitive advantages Derry-Londonderry remains a hotbed for indigenous business and we, in BDO Northern Ireland, have been active in sharing our advice with local businesses looking to mitigate potential


The Panel for the BDO EU Referendum: What Next? Event. Paul Gosling, Broadcaster/Writer/Policy advisor, Gavin Killeen, President, Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, Maybeth Shaw, Tax Partner, BDO, Phillip Gilliland, Commercial Lawyer, Caldwell and Robinson

turbulence and capitalise on new opportunities in the months ahead. For more than 25 years, we’ve helped businesses in this region establish reputations for innovation, tourism and creative enterprise by negotiating the highs and lows of market changes. It is timely and important for businesses in the North West to take stock and consider how new relations with the European Union may influence longterm plans for jobs and growth. Despite inevitable changes and uncertainties, local firms are well positioned to maximise Brexit opportunities – particularly given favourable currency fluctuations. Flexible, adept and ambitious for the future, the North West remains a place of opportunity, building on its strengths and enhancing relationships with its trading partners both in the European Union and beyond. Indeed, Derry - Londonderry could become one of the most

thriving border regions in Europe. Local and regional government have set ambitious job creation targets for the coming decade, but securing big picture employment, innovation and growth in the North West is no pipe dream. The city has the infrastructure and skills to compete with any corner of the UK and Ireland; and much further abroad. Just as important, there is a resolve and a determination to get on with business regardless of the challenges. Councils now have additional powers and responsibilities including the promotion of enterprise awareness, social entrepreneurship and youth entrepreneurship. That’s good news in the North West where Derry City and Strabane District Council has seized the initiative and put in place plans to grow Business Start-Ups by five percent in the current year within a band of priority sectors.

The transfer of the business start and enterprise functions is an opportunity to consider the delivery of related services better aligned to Council’s existing local economic development remit. Any future programme of support most align with overarching economic development and regeneration strategies. It must also deliver outputs in line with transferring budgets and maximising achievement of future targets set by central government as a minimum requirement. Given the challenges ahead, it is reassuring to see how the North West is turning uncertainty into opportunity and making this part of the world somewhere that businesses can and will continue to thrive. About BDO Northern Ireland BDO Northern Ireland is a leading accountancy and advisory firm that has been advising some of Northern Ireland’s most dynamic busi-

nesses for over 25 years. With a client portfolio of more than 1,000 businesses ranging from micro enterprises up to multinationals, BDO Northern Ireland holds a unique insight on the rich tapestry of our local economy and, tellingly, confidence following the European Referendum. We have a higher proportion of Partners than some of the other firms and provide a genuine Partner-led service. The people we attract and the technology we deploy is changing the face of business at rapid speed. We are investing to add even more value to our clients, but importantly we’re doing it in areas and market segments we understand and believe in. We have supported many local businesses in the North West over the last quarter of a century from inception to growth and expansion. We are here to help answer any question you may have.


City of Derry Crystal Hand cut glass and crystal Here at City of Derry Crystal, we pride ourselves on our superior workmanship. Established in 1991 by father and son, Michael and Kevin Bond, City of Derry Crystal is one of few remaining companies who still hand cut crystal in Ireland. We believe the old-age skill of hand cutting allows for truly bespoke designs. For the perfect corporate gift or for that special occasion, we have a range of unique glass products which we can custom engrave to your specification for you to enjoy.

We supply staff recognition awards, presentation pieces for all kinds of businesses, sports awards and trophies as well as wedding and anniversary pieces. All these can be custom engraved to suit the occasion and our customers include Seagate, Dupont, Health Service, Government Departments and the Council. City of Derry Crystal shop is situated in the beautiful Derry City Craft Village where our showroom has a vast array of our products on display. Our hand cutting skills combined with hand engraving provides you with the perfect personalised gift. We produce the finest quality traditional hand cut glass crystal, plain crystal and glass products and the highest quality is assured. For outstanding quality and unique glass products please visit us in Derry City Craft Village or view our products at

City of Derry Crystal 22 The Craft Village, Shipquay Street, Derry, Northern Ireland, BT48 6AR Follow us on Facebook at City of Derry Crystal.

Tel: 028 7137 0042 Email:

With almost 20 years experience delivering high quality IT services to the local business community, Com Cubed are the smart choice when considering a partner in this ever changing, business critical environment.

• Professional help desk support • IT guidance and advice

• Office moves and upgrades • Sage business partner • VoIP phone systems

• Wireless network solutions • Cloud based services

• Data recovery and security

• Email and internet compliance

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Allstate’s Grand Design

Northern Ireland’s largest IT company, Allstate NI, has opened a world class Extreme Agile software development lab and learning space in its North West hub. This is the second purpose built ‘CompoZed Lab,’ coming after the Belfast lab opening last year, and is part of a network of global Allstate CompoZed labs. The new office space will see Software Engineers, Product Managers and User Experience Designers work exclusively in Extreme Agile, which includes working in pairs and using cloud-native application architecture, a first for the company. The CompoZed Lab features a 30-person classroom, as well as lab space for over 50 developers to work together in their teams. Allstate NI teamed up with the US-based software devel-

Allstate CompoZed lab and learning space in its North West hub

opment educators Galvanize to produce an Extreme Agile training curriculum, called CompoZed Accelerator, for their engineers. Software Engineers go through the 12 week CompoZed Accelerator course, developing real projects, before moving into the main lab to work in tight-knit, selfempowered teams. The new facility will encourage teams to take calculated risks and push innovation at Allstate NI. It will also create opportunities in agile engineering, product management and design. This change for Allstate NI goes beyond a new office layout as the new way of working is creating a culture of collaboration, innovation, production and communication. Keep an eye out on @compoZedlabs on Twitter for the latest news.

Big Investment at Derry News There has been major investment in the Derry News offices at Springtown Industrial Estate. The popular local newspaper, which is in shops every Monday and Thursday, is part of River Media. The production of all of River Media’s newspapers has now been centralised at the Springtown building, which has undergone a massive refurbishment in recent weeks.

In addition to the Derry News, the company also publishes titles in Donegal, including the Inish Times, Letterkenny Post, Finn Valley Post and Donegal Post, as well as the County Derry Post and the Kildare Post. These are complemented by three market-leading websites -, Donegalnow. com and


Pictured Ciaran O’Neill Managing Editor, Caroline Morris, Commercial Manager and Chris Ashmore, Group Sports Editor

River Media is part of the Irish News group, which also operates the Q Radio network. The studio and offices for Q102 radio station are based in the building.

As part of the investment in the company, River Media has also appointed a new senior management team to oversee the company’s future.

Caroline Morris has been appointed Commercial Manager, Ciaran O’Neill as Managing Editor and Chris Ashmore has taken on the role of Group Sports Editor.

Get the Support You Need to Break Into New Cross-Border Markets If you are a small business looking to identify cross-border markets and customers to win new business, InterTradeIreland currently has funding available for small and micro businesses through its sales development programme, Elevate.

In light of the recent EU referendum result, now is the time for small businesses to get a foothold in the cross-border market. New trade agreements won’t take effect for some time. Companies should use this

advantageous period to work within a secured market, rather than deferring business activity until a potential period of intense regulation change.

The cross-border market is often an underutilised but logical first step for businesses to develop wider export markets, giving them experience of working within a different legislative system and managing across a different currency. Once mastered, this makes looking at European markets a more realistic prospect.

Elevate specifically helps micro businesses to identify sales leads in the cross-border market, providing sectorspecific sales support of up to £5,000/€6,000 across a range of sectors including food and beverage, ICT, construction and engineering as well as many others. Fully funded by IntertradeIreland, it was designed with simplicity in mind to remove as much bureaucracy as possible. Supporting businesses with under ten employees, the application process is simple and the assistance provided is as practical as possible.

Support is available for:

• Sales Leads • Sales Negotiations • Market Research • Developing of Marketing Materials All you have to do is complete a short application form and if approved, you will then get to choose from a list of more than 100 experienced industry specialists consultants who will work with you to develop a winning cross-border sales plan for your business, kick start your sales and get on the fast track to cross-border trading!

Eligibility Criteria To take part in the Elevate programme - companies must: • Be a small company with less than 10 employees;

• Be a manufacturing or tradeable service company with an annual turnover below €1.2m/£1m;

• Have a satisfactory track record and a trading history in their home market (minimum of 18 months); • Be focused on winning new cross-border sales;

• Have not generated more than 30% of their total turnover in the target cross-border market;

• Have the capacity (human, financial and production) to deliver the project;

• Have a sufficiently unique product that does not displace existing products in the market place;

• Have not previously participated on InterTradeIreland ‘Acumen’ programme.

NOTE: Sole Traders and partnerships that satisfy the eligibility criteria are welcome to apply To apply and find out more about the Elevate programme



Nick Hewer Nick Hewer, public relations consultant, Lord Sugar’s trusted advisor for many years on The Apprentice and Countdown host, talks to editor, Jackie Logan, about entrepreneurship, Northern Ireland and encouraging the younger generation. Nick Hewer is a very straightforward, down to earth, friendly man. Talking in a very busy and very noisy bar, he’s given me some fifteen minutes of his time, five more than he probably has, which truly doesn’t do him justice, there are so many questions that require answers before the President’s dinner begins. Having been coined as the reluctant television star, Nick also doesn’t like to think of himself as an entrepreneur but that is what he is, using his own initiative and at the age of 22, having no industry contacts, he put an advert in a PR magazine and landed a traineeship within days. Within six years he had joined the board, bought out the owner becoming the sole shareholder. He chose to sell it some 30 years later in 1997 and sought early retirement in southwest France but not for long. A fascinating character, Nick was brought to the attention of the public when Lord Sugar coaxed him to join the renowned TV show The Apprentice. Cited as the one person who influenced him the most and primarily talking about his relationship with him at the President’s Dinner, he went to work for Alan Sugar’s company, Amstrad in 1983 by default by all accounts. Like any good PR person some of the greatest ideas come to you in the most unlikely places, for him it was in the back of taxi, he was on his way to tell one of Amstrad’s many advisers that he wouldn’t be working with him as he had “not the foggiest of ideas how to help”. However, it was his relationship with Lord Sugar that steered his career on a very different path some years later, that of television when he was invited to be his right hand man for The Apprentice; it lasted for ten series. Born and raised in Swindon, Nick went to a boarding school in Co Kildare, his maternal grandfather was Oswald Jamie-


son and it is when mentioning the Irish entrepreneur that Ozzie is discussed: “My maternal grandfather was Oswald Jamison, Ozzie, he had a family painting and decorating business. Coming from a disadvantaged catholic area he rose to the prestigious office of High Sherriff in protestant dominated Belfast in 1920s. No mean feat in those days I would think. Without a doubt I can relate to the Irish entrepreneur or even the Scottish entrepreneur, perhaps it is being under the heel of the thumb of the English that prompts them to just get on with it. Who knows? “An entrepreneur comes about when they realise the fact that no one else is going to do it for them. The two main qualities I’ve found in entrepreneurs are focus and passion. If your passion is motorbikes, tinkering with them, fixing them, don’t start thinking about something you know nothing about – stick to your knitting! “And it’s always advisable to keep your eye on the cash flow, without a healthy cash flow the business will fall at the very first hurdle.” Speaking about the Apprentice and those who came from Northern Ireland, Nick mentions James McCullagh who was a finalist in the Young Apprentice in 2011. “James was very bright. In many ways he was unlucky not to win Young Apprentice 2011. We were all tremendously impressed with his maturity, imagination and sure grasp of business principles. His wry sense of humour and ability to get to the nub of a problem swiftly was also noted, as was his ability to take decisive action. “We liked him a lot and are confident that he will succeed in whatever career he chooses, which seems to be the case as he’s now an Account Director with Saatchi & Saatchi and doing very well indeed.

“Leah Totton, of course, is also from Derry-Londonderry, she won series 13 and has gone on to be very successful too.” Nick has visited Derry-Londonderry before, having had the opportunity to walk the City Walls. His time on the Farm Fixer also ensured more time was spent in Northern Ireland. He recalls; “Walking around the walls was just lovely, the history is amazing and the Farm Fixer; well it was good fun, maybe not at the time but afterwards, yes. I met some very interesting characters.” He cites Harrisons of Greyabbey calling him “the pain in the Ards peninsula” and the Lisdillion Equestrian Centre in DerryLondonderry. “It makes good television; we all know that.” He recognises that the Agri-food sector is a key part of Northern Ireland’s economy and talks briefly about Brexit. “I woke up in France to hear the news, I was absolutely horrified. It was a dreadfully misleading campaign. We must remember that we are little more than an aircraft carrier sitting off the West of Europe, an English speaking launch pad for international companies wanting to trade in the European Union. When we leave the European Union, it may well be more convenient for those international companies to look for another launch pad, like the Irish Republic, or just set up in France or Germany. “Our manufacturing sector has all but withered away through bad management and union excesses over the last 30 years, I think it’s now down to about 5% of GDP. “Government may boast of the strength of the British auto industry, citing the likes of Nissan and Honda but they are foreign owned, the major decisions are

taken in Japan and in a whim they could the attractions of Paris or Frankfurt. I’ve and will look elsewhere, if the conditions heard mischievous talk of an office block suit them better, be it tax breaks, labour building boom in Dublin, and we’ve heard of the attractions of the tax regime costs or whatever. there. I’m not sure what the future “Many quote that the financial services brings other than uncertainty. It will be a have taken up the slack but once again challenging time for all but we must look the main financial institutions are no for opportunity in the midst of it all too.” longer exclusively British, they are increasingly American, Japanese, Nick’s eyes light up when I mention Spanish and German. Some of the banks working with the younger generation and have already started to mutter about he takes prides in telling me he’s involved

in the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme. He recently helped present awards to over a thousand young people at the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Celebration at Buckingham Palace. “Part of my journey has allowed me to assist the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme and Young Enterprise in the past. I really like working with the younger generation; it is there we can make a difference; we must not forget that!”


Bright Future for Browns The Browns adventure began for Marcus in 2009 with the purchase of the premises on Bond’s Hill. The intention was to create a restaurant that would stand alongside the best in Belfast and Dublin.

Marcus talks to Assistant Editor, Darryl Campbell about his last 10 years in business and what’s next for the Browns Group. Born and raised just across the border in Co Donegal, Marcus Roulston now spends his time between Derry-Londonderry and Donegal with his three restaurants, Browns Restaurant and Champagne Lounge, Browns in Town and Browns on the Green in Letterkenny. Newly purchased Ardtara Country House Hotel in Maghera and Browns Anywhere, a bespoke outside catering service make up the Group’s offerings. Tell us about a day in the life of Marcus Roulston. I have over 100 people working for me, so each day can vary, as I have to be aware of everything going on in the organisation. We could be launching a new menu or managing a corporate or wedding event with our outside catering business. Above all, I’m the business’s problem solver, so I oversee everything behind the scenes whilst my business partner, Ian Orr, oversees everything in the kitchens. How did you become involved in the industry? Whilst my background is in engineering, I was predominantly involved in the property industry before moving into hospitality. Before buying our Waterside premises, I realised a niche existed for an extremely high quality restaurant in the city that could stand alongside the very best restaurants worldwide.


You’ve been in business for over 10 years, what has changed in that time? The industry has changed massively. We wanted to create a restaurant that the city could be proud of, and I believe we did that, although it took a while for people to realise what we were trying to do. Now, I believe that there is much more interest in the food industry, especially with the recent NI Year of Food and Drink, people are more savvy and informed, looking for great service, the best food and affordability. In addition, the initiative has helped to highlight local produce and restaurants. If we came to eat at Browns, what would we expect? Browns, is the real restaurant experience, that sits alongside the top restaurants in the best cities around the world. You would therefore expect the finest service and the most sublime food, and you wouldn’t be disappointed. Tell us about the differences between Browns Restaurant and Champagne Lounge, Browns in Town and Browns on the Green. Browns Restaurant is a more formal offering for the most discerning of guests, whilst Browns in Town is a more casual affair and Browns on the Green has two restaurants that offer both. Despite the small differences, all offer excellent value for money, the finest service and use the same suppliers of the most exceptional ingredients. How did you become interested in Ardtara Country House Hotel? Ardtara is a beautiful place; I have always been attracted to architecture, given my background in civil and structural engineering. It is one of the finest Victorian Country Houses in Ulster

and represented an excellent business proposition. My vision sees Ardtara as an excellent restaurant / accommodation destination that is a mixture of all things. It lends itself well to weddings, corporate events and hospitality and has attracted international tourism. How has Brexit affected your business so far and do you see it having any long term effects? So far, there has been no massive impact; we are continually booked out, as we represent great value for money anyway. If anything, the city has become a more attractive proposition for people travelling from Donegal, so there has been a slight rise in our business from over the border. The future is hard to predict as we don’t know what’s happening yet, there is concern over the border and how that will affect our suppliers relationships. It is likely that our suppliers’ prices will go up with the currency fluctuation, however we haven’t encountered this as of yet. Finally, what advice would you give to a start up in the industry? Put some serious thought into whether or not hospitality is right for you. It is long, hard work and can be thankless. It’s definitely not a ‘get rich quick’ scheme! It’s very difficult, and I’m not sure many people know that. If your offering isn’t great, the initial honeymoon period will wear off and it will catch up with you. Educate yourself, eat at the finest of restaurants and observe the customer service. Be consistent with your high standards and always strive to be the best!

RiverRidge: A Transparent and Dependable Waste Management Partner As Northern Ireland’s largest and most experienced waste management operator, RiverRidge has led the way in developing best practice waste management methodologies for all types of organisations by rethinking resources. With over 3,000 customers, ranging from corner units to large multinationals, RiverRidge has ensured the organisations it deals with receive a bespoke service, which is always cost effective.

“Everything we do has an impact on our environment and ultimately on the quality of life of future generations. This is particularly true of the way we deal with our waste. Landfill has traditionally been seen as the cheapest and easiest option for waste disposal. The company is focused on helping businesses identify ways in which they can move away from expensive landfill options and extract savings and new efficiencies from recycling.

Now based across four sites in DerryLondonderry, Belfast, Coleraine and Portadown, the company provides total waste management to a wide range of industry sectors and treats over 400,000mt of waste from local councils, private and public customers across the whole of Northern Ireland. Key clients in DerryLondonderry include Foyle Port, Beech Hill Hotel, City Hotel, Seagate and EHA Construction.

“Our customers need to know their waste is being handled within the industryspecific waste management requirements and that the service provided reaches the level of sustainability expected. We are committed to providing an environmentally friendly treatment process which is transparent and dependable. The Group works with businesses to create a waste management strategy that works for them. The solutions offered can vary considerably from waste reduction in the first instance to effective waste separation.

With the capability of extracting all recyclables from the incoming waste streams, as well as create a fuel from the residual fractions remaining, the company diverts over 180,000mt from landfill each year. Fergal Kerr, Business Development Manager for RiverRidge in the North West, commented;

“In order to fully understand the business, we provide a free waste management audit, which allows us to identify the most costeffective and efficient solution to managing a business’s waste stream, while helping each business divert as much material as possible from landfill. “We put great importance on ensuring any waste produced is recovered, reused or

recycled prior to final disposal. Resource efficiency is not just an environmental initiative; it also makes good commercial sense. Waste creation and the subsequent management of it costs an organisation money, and by finding ways to reduce waste, businesses could become more profitable. “Our customers have the confidence that their waste management partner is fully accountable for the waste they take delivery of and can provide a transparent waste audit. “At RiverRidge, we have invested in state of the art plant and equipment which allows us to mechanically separate the incoming waste streams. By separating the waste, we can then begin the secondary process of either recycling or recovery. Our treatment process focuses on landfill diversion and as such customers are assured that any waste received is fully treated, the recyclable composition is extracted and the residual portion is engineered into a quality fuel. “We take pride in helping our customers to contribute significantly towards zero waste targets and the overall protection of the environment, while identifying ways to extract savings by developing a waste management strategy that is bespoke to that particular business.” For more information on the services provided by RiverRidge Recycling please contact Derry-Londonderry on (028) 7134 7788 or visit


MBA Inside View: Shaping Innovative Leaders Kevin Hippsley, Manager of the Hive Studios at Rath Mor, has recently completed his Masters in Business Administration (MBA) at Ulster University Business School on the Magee campus. Kevin takes some time out of his busy work schedule to share his thoughts about his experience to date on this executive level programme. Tell us about your job role? I have an extensive background in the creative industries and have recently started my own business – Hive Studios – a social enterprise based in the Rath Mor complex in partnership with Creggan Enterprises. Hive, an accredited digital training centre, offers a range of commercial services, including graphic design, web/app development, digital archiving, analytics / data services, drone services and film production - in addition to our training provision – across the community and education sectors, youth engagement programmes and indigenous businesses. What attracted you to the Ulster University Business School at Magee? The convenience of having a business school, with such high calibre staff and an excellent reputation, here on my doorstep was a major factor. My busy work and home life would have suffered tremendously with any commute outside of the city. The amalgamation of the Creative Technology course offered at Magee and the traditional MBA was also a key consideration for me, with the knowledge that my future plans were to develop a creative technology-oriented business. What part of the course do you enjoy most? In terms of core topics – I enjoyed fleshing out and broadening my knowledge across a variety of key business areas, such as e-business, finance, innovation, marketing, creative leadership, strategy and organisational behaviour. I particularly enjoyed the development of management skills in ‘Big Data’ business integration, which has prompted me to develop a business service in this area. Over and above the learning experience – the MBA provides an excellent mechanism to network with likeminded individuals, supporting the learning process and creating external business opportunities for everyone concerned. What has been the benefit of studying the MBA at Ulster University’s Magee campus? The MBA challenges all aspects of your current ‘management mindset’. Ultimately the goal is to transform a ‘manager’ into a ‘leader’ and it is this process of broadening the perspective, which has been most important for me. Through the MBA, I learned that ‘strategic thinking’ around organisational goals / direction, culture, finance, growth and innovation should underpin all management and business decisions. Additionally the MBA provides access to current research and thought leadership from business experts across a range of industries.

How has the MBA helped your career? Successful completion of the MBA, and winning the 2016 MBA Excellence Award, has given me the confidence I needed to start my own business. It has provided me with the competency to develop a flexible plan for business growth and solid understanding of the strategic principles governing effective management and leadership. What advice would you offer a person considering starting an MBA? When I initially considered returning to education, I incorrectly assumed the MBA would be a step too far in terms of an executive qualification, and perhaps unsuited to my own career path. My perception of the MBA as being purely for VP’s and corporate directors was incorrect, and despite coming from a small business background I found it highly useful and relevant to my own career / business circumstances.

Kevin Hippsley, receiving the MBA Excellence Award from Edel Griffin, MBA Course Director. Kevin completed a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) with Creative Technology from Ulster University Business School in 2016.

To find out more about the MBA, contact:

Edel Griffin, MBA Course Director; Ulster University Business School, Magee campus at or T: 028 7167 5196 (NI) / 048 7167 5196 (ROI) The Executive MBA has two intakes each year, in January and September 2017.

Master of Business Administration Inspiring Change – Transforming Business APPLY NOW FOR 2017 Applications accepted for January and September start. Be inspired with a career changing learning experience on our executive level MBA programme. Based at the Magee campus, our transformational learning philosophy places a strong emphasis on combining workplace insights with the most up-to-date management techniques, and provides a stimulating and rewarding learning experience. The MBA empowers you to take the time out to self-reflect and challenge current practices through the lens of evidence based research. The programme provides the forum to learn with like-minded individuals from a wide range of industry backgrounds. Key features: • Part-time, completed in 24 months • Block learning format to minimise time away from work • Unique blend of taught and experiential learning • Supportive learning environment • Professional accreditation

For further information contact Edel Griffin, MBA Course Director; Ulster University Business School, Magee campus at or T: 028 7167 5196 (NI) / 048 7167 5196 (ROI) Apply Now:

The Entrepreneurial Spark Hatchery The Entrepreneurial Spark Hatchery, powered by Ulster Bank, is a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs and early stage businesses right across Northern Ireland. It provides a unique ecosystem for innovators to develop their ideas, build a strong network of contacts and stress test their assumptions in a safe setting. The building in Lombard Street in Belfast is host to up to 80 entrepreneurs and businesses from across Northern Ireland, who use the Hatchery on a flexible basis to hear advice from leading global businesses and hone their skills. Chris McGuinness, Local CEO, North Market, Ulster Bank said, “The ethos of Entrepreneurial Spark is to build the people who build businesses. It allows them space to explore new ideas and come up with ventures that are


credible and investable.

“It doesn’t take equity in the companies that make up the Hatchery, and many businesses that are in the Hatchery choose to base one or two members of staff there, allowing them to access this information and network of ideas without having to relocate their existing operations. “The North West has a proud tradition of independent entrepreneurship. Our people have the talent and tenacity to develop the private sector businesses that are essential to grow the economy and create employment opportunities. “At Ulster Bank, our ambition is to be the number one bank for customer service, trust and advocacy. For both our business and personal customers, we know that supporting initi-

Chris McGuinness, Local CEO, North Market, Ulster Bank

atives that stimulate the local economy and allow Northern Ireland’s talent to flourish on an international scale is the right thing to do in demonstrating how we work for our

customers.” For more information on how to apply, visit

Airporter Celebrates 20 Years in Business

As Airporter celebrates 20 years in business, Jennifer McKeever talks to editor, Jackie Logan on how their business has transformed. Airporter recently celebrated 20 years in business with a special anniversary event at Bishop’s Gate Hotel. Owned and managed by husband and wife team, Niall and Jennifer McKeever, the business began in 1996 with two buses, two staff, 5,000 passengers and very little finance other than some savings, and the company has now grown to 35 staff, 120,000 passengers and a fleet of 17 Mercedes coaches. Jennifer McKeever said; “It has been very challenging, particularly in the early years. As a small start-up business in 1996, we survived and grew and expanded and then nearly failed and shrunk and grew again. That’s life in business. We’ve always tried to look for ways to continually improve the business ensuring we focus on reliability, consistency and service. “This year we were delighted

to have carried 120,000 passengers, and our figures show that we are growing at the rate of 20% per year. Over the years, we’ve carried well over a million passengers between Derry-Londonderry and the two Belfast airports, connecting people to work, business, family and leisure.” Asked why the North West, Jennifer replied, “The North West has always been the best place for us to be located, as a service like ours requires a population base and a distance from airports which make leaving your car behind an attractive proposition. “We have been very proud to serve our customers as well as employ people from the North West. For us at Airporter, it’s all about creating a positive environment where people take pride in serving customers. All our staff are World Host trained and we take very seriously our

Niall & Jennifer McKeever


role as Ambassadors to visitors to the North West. “We are very often their first and last impression of the city and we understand our responsibility in making that impression a positive and lasting one. There is a quality and a decency to people here which makes it a great place to work. We have a loyal, skilled and dedicated team of people as well as great customers and it makes us proud to work with them every day.” So how does a partnership in business and life work? “Niall and I are lucky in that we are partners in life as well as in business and we bring very different strengths to the business. I’m good at setting standards and keeping the team going as one, but Niall is the innovator and he moves the business forward, constantly looking at ways to both

improve what we do and to keep us aligned to the rest of the travel industry. He also has the onerous responsibility of keeping our drivers and vehicles compliant, a daunting and ever expanding task.” Technology has been one of the key drivers of the transformation of the business over the past five years. With 65% of all passengers booking online at, communication with their customers is nearly entirely online. The fleet is made up of custom designed Mercedes vehicles to provide the ultimate in customer comfort and convenience with each vehicle offering free Wi-Fi and power points at each seat. The company invested in new technology to further enhance the customers’ experience by providing a new booking system that works on mobile

The Airporter team celebrating 20 years in business

phones and tablets allowing bookings to be made with ease online through a smartphone or browser. The system is a safe and secure way to book and second to none in terms of any other booking engine within the travel and tourism sector. “Technology is key in any business today. In addition to our state of the art booking system our drivers use a smartphone to do their initial walk around check – which is a daily legal requirement – and use QR codes to report any defects. Our fleet is maintained to the highest level of compliance and no vehicle is kept for more than three years. We track every vehicle using GPS, meaning we can provide

very accurate and timely information to our customers.” At their 20th anniversary event, Jennifer and Niall had the opportunity to meet with both the deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness and the Minister for Infrastructure, Chris Hazzard, who congratulated them on reaching this significant milestone. They also had the chance to discuss their future plans and the positive news of the development of the A6 dualling. The improvement of the 15 kilometres between Randalstown and Castledawson will help strengthen the links between Derry-Londonderry and Belfast and begin to address the infrastructure

Alpha and Beta, Airporter’s first buses in 1996

deficit of the North West. “The game changer, for the North West as far as we are concerned, is roads. The infrastructure getting to and from the North West has been critically under invested for decades and we are simply too hard to find for both investors and visitors. Better roads will allow businesses in the North West to improve and thrive. The largest section of passengers we serve are people who travel for work and business and improvements to the roads will mean we can connect them faster and easier to their customers and place of work.” Talking about the future Jennifer added; “We have served our customers for 20 years through rain, snow and ice. We started by offering five services a day and now deliver 20 a day. This year we carried 120,000 passengers and next year we plan to carry 150,000.

“This winter timetable will be the first ever that doesn’t decrease, and we will continue to offer 20 services throughout the winter and will be up to 25

by next summer, running 24 hours a day.” With Brexit on most business men and women’s minds, Jennifer said, “Brexit has had no effect on our business to date, though I think a hard border of any kind will have a disastrous consequence on tourism to Northern Ireland and to the North West in particular, and I certainly don’t fancy becoming a pioneer town!” When asked if they made the right decision over 20 years ago, the owner of a multi-award winning public transport company and founder member of the Federation of Passenger Transport for Northern Ireland (FPTNI) concluded, “Starting up your own business isn’t for the faint hearted and I would have nothing but encouragement for people who wish to choose that path. “It’s a tremendous privilege to have control over your professional and home life. The responsibility can be daunting; the hours are dreadful but it’s worth it, to do something really special.”


Manufacturing Success Connected Magazine talks to George Fleming, Chairman of Fleming Agri Products, and new President of the Chamber of Commerce, about the changing and evolving industry in the engineering and manufacturing of agricultural equipment. Fleming Agri Products, synonymous with Derry-Londonderry, has a long history of manufacturing and engineering since the mid 1800s. With five generations of Flemings the company has evolved from manufacturing and repairing flax mills for the linen industry to designing and developing engineering solutions for farming processes and methods. Today they now manufacture over 150 machines covering 15 different ranges of agricultural equipment such as trailers, slurry tankers, land rollers, grass toppers and the list goes on. George Fleming started working in his father’s company in 1973 and took sole control of Fleming Agri Products in Newbuildings in 1987. His first memories of helping his father were of him manufacturing wooden, fish and potato boxes. In 156 years, the company has come a long way, and has shown true entrepreneurial spirit throughout, George Fleming explained; “My father and his ancestors would be amazed at the development of agriculture and the growth and demand for products that they would have designed for horse drawn equipment and that those same principles are being used to redesign tractor drawn implements today. “We now incorporate computers, robotics and automation to produce agricultural solutions. My father, my grandfather and great grandfather were certainly entrepreneurs; through the generations they continually developed new solutions for both product and process,” George Fleming said. “I can remember when I was very young, my father going to Doherty’s scrap yard on Derry Quay and


coming back with the main frame of a drill which was scrapped from the ship yard, an electric motor and an old car gear box which he bought all as scrap! Within a week he had an operational drill with four forward speeds and one reverse.” In 1983 Fleming had three employees and 3,000 sq ft rented workshop on a half acre site, there was a small portfolio of products but there was also general engineering work too. Today they are now on an eight-acre site with a 60,000 sq ft owned factory selling over 10,000 agricultural machinery products per year. “We introduced technology to the business. Our drawings moved from manual to CAD to Solid Works, we installed CNC saws and presses, moved from cutting and shearing to plasma cut parts and then laser cut components, this accuracy allowed us to develop automatic and robotic welding. We developed and installed a production management system to manage and monitor production efficiency so that we can produce value for money product available to the customer when they need it.

“Research and Development are key to any business and new products are the life blood of Fleming Agri products. 80% of the products that are sold today were not being manufactured 10-12 years ago. Fleming’s have a policy of developing three to four new products each year; these may be completely new products to the company or a development on an existing machine. “For example, when we started to

make grass toppers over 20 years ago, we just made one size, we now make 16 different models and sell over 1600 machines per year. When we started to make trailers 10 years ago, we made one size; we now have over 20 trailer options from 1 ton to 14 ton and sell over 500 trailers per year. “Research and development starts with an on farm problem or process which is generally because of inefficiency or a health and safety issue. This problem is taken to the design team, who develop a solution on Solid Works, then moves to manufacturing a proto-type, to testing to destruction, to redesigning and testing, to sample batch into the market and then full production if the market take to the product.” When asked about challenges in the current environment, George Fleming responds, “In business we face challenges every day some of the more major challenges have been from border control in the 1970s and 1980s and paying VAT at the point of entry which we then had to claim back from the customer which was a big strain on financial resources to dealing with interest rates of 18 – 19% and the outbreak of Foot and Mouth and then again with BSE. I believe that Brexit will be the greatest upcoming challenge as there are far too many uncertainties, particularly given our land border. “If I had a wish list for the North West it would be a better connected infrastructure; ease of shipment of product to quicker rail connections to major cities and airports and better regional access to the UK, Europe and beyond. “One thing that is certain in business is there will always be change and change will bring challenges and opportunities!”


Buncrana Chamber presents annual business awards

Brendan Callaghan is businessperson of the year More than 300 people attended the second annual Buncrana Chamber of Commerce Business Awards at the Inishowen Gateway Hotel in November. Some 60 nominees, shortlisted from several hundred entrants, attended the gala black-tie ball and amongst the winners were Brendan Callaghan of Callaghan’s Jewellers, the Businessperson of the Year, and Healthwise Pharmacies, the Chamber’s

Business of the Year. Entrepreneur Niall McGarry, who owns the popular and websites, was the keynote speaker and gave an inspirational talk, outlining his own business background and emphasising the importance of the small and medium business sector to the Irish economy. There was a standing ovation for former

Business of the Year Award was won by Liam Grimley of Healthwise Pharmacies who received his award from Dermot Doherty, Restex Beds and Furniture and Ryan Stewart, Chamber President

Photo Credits: Andrejs Plavins and Inishowen Independent

Fruit of the Loom director John McCarter who received a special ‘Hall of Fame’ award, while London-based John McDaid of J&J Transport Ltd was the recipient of the Diaspora award, sending a video message to express his thanks. Forward Emphasis from Malin Head was named as the Inishowen Business of the Year, while McDaid’s Bathroom, Plumbing and Tiles picked up the Retailer Excellence Award.

Aelish Galbraith of Central Accommodation won the Start Up Business of the Year Award presented by Mark McLaughlin, HML Plant Hire and Ryan Stewart, Chamber President

Award Sponsor Winner Businessperson of the Year

Inishowen Gateway Hotel

Brendan Callaghan, Callaghan’s Jewellers

Business of the Year

Restex Beds and Furniture

Healthwise Pharmacies

Hall of Fame Award

Buncrana Credit Union

John McCarter

Inishowen Business of the Year

AIB Bank, Buncrana

Forward Emphasis

Diaspora Award

Lake of Shadows Hotel

John McDaid (London)

Retailer Excellence Award

The Harbour Inn

McDaid’s Bathroom, Plumbing and Tiles

Health, Beauty & Wellbeing Excellence Award Four Lanterns, Buncrana

Inish Pharmacy

Services Excellence Award

Coyle Fuels

Ardaravan Clinic

Online Marketing Excellence Award

SuperValu, Buncrana

Leanne Doohan, The Red Door

Young Businessperson of the Year

Crana College

Breda Cullen, HR Team

Start-up Business of the Year

HML Plant Hire

The Central Accommodation

Best Business Contribution to the Community Award

Cllr Nicholas Crossan

SuperValu, Buncrana

Inishowen Tourism Award

HR Team

Inishowen Gateway Hotel

Community Award

Inish Times

Jimmy O’Neill, Buncrana Tidy Towns

Employee of the Year

Inishowen Independent

Oliver Gill, SuperValu, Buncrana


Businessperson of the Year 2016 went to Brendan Callaghan, Callaghan Jewellers who received his award from Jolene McDermott, Inishowen Gateway Hotel and Ryan Stewart, Chamber President

Young Businessperson of the Year Award went to Breda Cullen of HR Team who received her award from Kevin Cooley, Crana College and Ryan Stewart, Chamber President

Inishowen Business of the Year Award went to Forward Emphasis. Presenting the award to Aine Clarke is Joe Doherty, AIB Bank, Buncrana and Ryan Stewart, Chamber President

Caroline Morris, Inish Times presents Jimmy O’Neill with this year’s Community Award. Also pictured is Ryan Stewart, Chamber President

Leanne Doohan, The Red Door, won the Online Marketing Excellence Award which was presented by Kieran Doherty, SuperValu and Ryan Stewart, Chamber President

Colin Denney, Inish Pharmacy won the Health, Beauty and Wellbeing Excellence Award which was presented by Oran Grimes, Four Lanterns Buncrana and Ryan Stewart, Chamber President

John McCarter received the Hall of Fame Award presented by Danny McGeehan, Buncrana Credit Union and Ryan Stewart, Chamber President


North West Develops Foodie Reputation The North West is developing a fantastic reputation as a foodie hotspot with an array of local artisan producers and talented chefs. From well known established restaurants to the local food markets, the area is thriving with good quality, locally sourced and produced food. With the launch of the Year of Food and Drink in Northern Ireland in 2016, the focus really is on just what the region has to offer locals and visitors alike. One enterprising business that is aiming to do just that is Made in Derry Food Tours which takes participants on a guided tour about the city where they have the opportunity to meet with local chefs and producers while sampling artisan produce and refreshing local craft beers. Catherine Goligher, who set up Made in Derry Food Tours said; “With the launch of the Year of Food and Drink in Northern Ireland this year, I recognised the opportunity to showcase the city through its fantastic restaurants and eateries. Our aim is to engage and connect more people to our local food and drink and to create a memorable, fun and quality


experience while doing so. I felt strongly enough to pursue the idea and make it happen. “For me, the ultimate goal is to ensure authentic fun experiences, new relationships, spark conversations and generate momentum. Here in Derry we have so much to be proud of and show off. I think we should shout about it more”. Made in Derry Food Tours has resonated with locals and visitors alike and the company is now offering tours and hampers made up of carefully selected products which would make an ideal Christmas gift. Successful local producers whose products feature on the food tour include Broighter Gold and Corndale Farm. Broighter Gold has created a successful business from its locally sourced rapeseed oil. The multi-award winning cold press rapeseed oil is grown and produced on the outskirts of Limavady. The business, is run by the Kane Family, who have been farming their land for over 100 years. The Broighter Gold rapeseed oil, owned by Richard and Leona Kane, has become a phenomenal

success and is stocked throughout Ireland and the UK. The company has recently secured its products on the shelves of La Granda Epicerie de Paris, the world’s first department store. Broighter Gold illustrates how by utilising what’s on our doorstep and through careful cultivation and management, the end result can be produced into a world class product. In 2012 Broighter Gold opened its pressing room as part of a new and exciting tourism trail in Northern Ireland. Tours of the farm are offered to members of the public who are interested in finding out more about the processes involved in producing the rapeseed oil and are a great way to see just what goes into creating the finished product. Another local producer who is creating great things is Alastair Crown from Corndale Farm. Established in 2012, with the aim to produce free range pork from rare breed saddleback pigs, Corndale

Alastair Crown from Corndale Farm at home with his rare breed saddleback pigs Leona and Richard Kane from Broighter Gold pictured at their farm outside Limavady

grew quickly as did demand for ethically produced free range pork.

Alastair had to move premises to a larger commercial unit.

In 2015, Alastair had the vision that he could do something really special with this fantastic free range meat. He started trialing recipes for chorizo and salami and, in early 2016, established Northern Ireland’s first Charcuterie company along with Northern Ireland’s first handmade cured chorizo. Demand for Corndale’s new charcuterie products has been overwhelming and within six short months,

In addition to the charcuterie, Corndale Farm has plans to expand the farm business too and become one of Northern Ireland’s largest free range pig farms, as well as raise awareness of free range meat. The chorizo can be found in local restaurants, hotels, delis and butchers as well as in

selected stores in Belfast and Co Down. With a range of new products currently in development and due to be launched in early 2017, this is one exciting local food producer to watch. The North West is firmly establishing itself as an exciting and innovative food and drink hub and is continuing to set the bar with its first class producers and chefs.

Catherine Goligher from Made in Derry taking one of her popular food tours


Derry Pipped at the Post in ‘Phenomenal’ Foodie Destination Campaign Derry City and Strabane District Council has pledged to build on Derry-Londonderry’s successes as a rising international food tourism destination after narrowly missing out to Boyne Valley as Ireland’s top Foodie Destination 2016.

For the second year in a row, the city was announced as the Foodie Destination’s runner-up, proving yet again to be one of the top foodie destinations in Ireland. The Council-led ‘LegenDerry and Local’ bid was one of the ten top finalists shortlisted in this year’s search by the Restaurant’s Association of Ireland.

Mary Blake, Council’s Tourism Development Manager, who organised the bid, also congratulated the winning destination, Boyne Valley, for their “outstanding” work. Expressing how proud she was of Derry-Londonderry’s efforts, she said it was a “phenomenal campaign” which had engaged the collaborative support of local restaurateurs, chefs and producers championing the LegenDerry “natural larder” from freshly caught fish to artisan cheese, bread, patisserie, meat and craft beer.

She continued; “It was also great to have the international support of celebrity chefs like Jean-Christophe Novelli who experienced our local food provenance during his visit to the city in July to take part in Clipper Race Kitchens as part of the Foyle Maritime Festival. We were also delighted to have the support of awardwinning chefs including Paul Rankin, Sean Wilson, Paula McIntyre, Jenny Bristow, Ian Orr, Emmett McCourt, Brian McDermott and a host of other local talent.”

“We were delighted to be one of the top ten finalists from more than 30 applications. We poured a lot of information into our application, turned up the heat with a sizzling suppliers’ showcase and then stirred up a robust online campaign to get our foodies voting for the city,” she stated.

Aoife Carrigy, chairperson, Irish Food Writers Guild and Foodie Destinations judge stated; “The Foodie Destinations Award is an important testament to just how far Ireland has come in developing an authentic, unique and sustainable food culture. It is also a timely recognition of the dedicated graft of so many far-sighted local communities in order to claim their place in that developing food culture, and make it their own for the generations to come.

Mayor McClintock said; “Food tourism represents one third of all visitor spend and, with this being Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink, we have taken our Foodie Destination offering to an even higher level. For the second successive year, our campaign has been an excellent opportunity to showcase the city’s award-winning local food provenance.

As well as thanking Tourism NI, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) NI Regional Food Programme, Loughs Agency and Food NI for their support including bringing world renowned chefs to the city during NI Year of Food and Drink 2016, the local Tourism Manager thanked all the private sector organisations, restaurateurs, chefs, producers and suppliers who got behind the very active social media campaign encouraging the public to vote for the city on the Foodie Destinations website.

“For many of those communities, such as the city of Derry who are this year’s runners-up, this emerging food culture is a vital opportunity to re-imagine the identity of their community, for visitors but also for themselves. What is striking about so many of these communities is the clearsightedness of their ambition, exemplified by this year’s winners, the Boyne Valley Food Series. They represent an Ireland that is ready to reclaim our food culture of today, of yesterday and of tomorrow, and to bring that to a world stage.”

“While we may not have taken the top spot in this year’s competition, we will build on the extremely positive feedback from the judges who awarded us runner-up spot for the second successive year, and continue to strive to offer world class visitor experiences.”

She also thanked the public for their support with the all-important voting which accounted for 50% of the overall score, with the other 50% scored by the judges after visiting all ten final destinations to assess their applications.

Each Foodie Destinations finalist received a trophy while the top five destinations were presented with a certificate. Boyne Valley and Derry-Londonderry also received an engraved Newbridge Silverware plaque for their achievements.

Derry-Londonderry was the only Northern Ireland contender for the hotly-pursued award. Congratulating the winning destination and thanking all those who worked so hard on the bid to secure Foodie Destination status, including everyone who took part in the crucial online public vote, the Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Alderman Hilary McClintock, said the campaign had been a fantastic showcase for local food provenance and culinary talent which further raised the profile of the city’s “unstoppable” food tourism offer.

Mary Blake, Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Tourism Development Manager pictured with representatives from the other finalists in Doolin, Co Clare


City Hotel d e r r y

The 4* City Hotel is set in the heart of the City of Londonderry on the banks of the River Foyle. The hotel is 5 minutes walk from the famous historic Walled City which boasts excellent high street shopping and tourist attractions such as the Tower Museum and the Guildhall. The City Hotel also is the perfect place to base yourself for a few days whilst exploring other areas of North West Ireland such as Donegal & Causeway Coast.

• Four star hotel complete with 158 bedrooms • Conferencing facilities for up to 450 delegates • Thompson’s Restaurant for excellent cuisine in the heart of the City • Coppin’s Bar with live entertainment every Friday & Saturday night • Secure car parking (Limited to 40 spaces)

Contact us: Queens Quay, Derry, BT48 7AS T: 0044 (0) 28 7136 5800 F: 0044 (0) 28 7136 5801 E: W:

Get Involved in The Derry Walls The Friends of the Derry Walls is asking individuals and businesses to get involved and explore the mutual benefits of working together on projects relevant to their ambitions for the Derry Walls.

The Sandwich Co stepped forward as the Corporate Sponsor for Derry Walls Day 2016. L to R. Edel Griffin, Lecturer, Ulster University Business School; Cara Dooley, The Sandwich Co; Anne McCartney, Secretary, Walls Friends Photo-credit: Lorcan Doherty Photography

A registered social enterprise established for the public benefit to secure the preservation, protection and improvement of the historic defences and city walls of Derry Londonderry, their vision is to see the Derry Walls being celebrated as a monument of local, national and international significance, and being part of Derry-Londonderry’s historical and future narratives. Their mission is to be the voice of the Walls, raising ambitions for their care and presentation, driving public engagement with the Walls and ensuring

that the Walls are fully exploited as a resource for educational, cultural and economic development.

A membership scheme has been opened, in the first instance, for individuals. However the Walls Friends would like to also explore with local businesses

the mutual benefits of working together on projects relevant to their ambitions for the Derry Walls or for the city’s ‘old town quarter’ within the Walls.

A Quiet Man’s Tipple Local drinks producer, Niche Drinks, has revealed its plans to build a distillery in Ebrington Square to produce whiskey for its multi award-winning brand “The Quiet Man”. The distillery, which is to be called The Quiet Man Craft Distillery, will be the first newly built whiskey distillery to open in Derry-Londonderry in over 150 years and Niche Drinks is just waiting on the go ahead from local planners before beginning the build project. Managing Director Ciaran Mulgrew told Connected; “We lodged our Planning Application in August and we are hopeful that we will get approval before the end of the 2016 in which case we intend to complete the distillery build project within 20 months, aiming to have first distillations in early 2018 and opening the


visitor centre in mid-2018. This is a considerable project for a locally owned company – we will be investing some £12m in the project, but we believe that the Irish whiskey category is in growth and that Ebrington Square is a tremendous site for the distillery.” The Quiet Man Craft Distillery will revive an old tradition of whiskey making in the city. Up until the early years of the 20th century, Derry-Londonderry was the largest whiskey producing city in the world and the visitor experience at The Quiet Man Craft Distillery will tell the proud history of whiskey making in the North West. You can see a 3D walkthrough of The Quiet Man Craft Distillery on The Quiet Man’s Facebook page QuietManWhiskey

College’s Food Development Centre Receives Industry Ovation North West Regional College has officially opened the region’s first centre of excellence for food development and technology.

Foodovation, under the direction of food development centre manager Brian McDermott, is a new state of the art research and development centre which offers a sanctuary to develop excellence in food innovation, science and technology. Award winning chef Neven Maguire was the special guest for the official opening of the innovative centre which is based in the Northland Road building of the North West Regional College’s Strand Road campus.

Irish chef Neven Maguire with Food Development Centre Manager at NWRC Brian McDermott and NWRC Principal Leo Murphy

technical advice to ensure their route to market is successful and sustainable.

Fully equipped with the most advanced facilities and latest technology, the Foodovation The centre is a one-stop-shop centre contains a food science for current and aspiring lab, development and industry producers, and has production kitchens, kitchen already celebrated success studio photography and in the form of stock maker videography, meeting rooms, a Carol Banham who has made taste testing room and barista the centre her new workplace, coffee training school. and Limavady pig farmer Foodovation will provide Alastair Crown from Corndale industry specialists with the farm.

Foodovation manager Brian McDermott explained that the college has already been delivering hands on advice and support to industries from experienced and skilled food development chefs and technologists, through the innovation voucher scheme.

see the physical centre officially open today. We have enjoyed huge success so far and look forward to building on this and growing. This is first venue in the North West that offers a complete end-to-end new product development model for food producers in the region.”

He added; “North West Regional College prides itself on strong delivery and supporting the food sector. It’s exciting to

Foodovation has been developed in partnership with the Department for the Economy and Connected.

Strictly Ballroom at The Everglades Hotel The 4-star Everglades Hotel in DerryLondonderry has announced a £1.2 million investment in a new Grand Ballroom to be opened in 2017.

Hastings Hotels has taken on the services of local companies Robinsons & Sons as architects, and JS Dunlop as builders of the new larger ballroom, which will, upon completion, be the largest ballroom in the North West. “In 2016 so far, our existing ballroom, which before the improvements was able to seat 450 in a theatre setting or 330 people seated at round tables, has been at capacity over 30 times,” said Neil Devlin, General Manager at Everglades Hotel. Neil continued: “We want as many people as possible to come and experience conferences and events at the hotel, and not to have to turn people away, so we are

An artist’s impression of the new ballroom

creating a brand new space that will seat 650 people theatre style and comfortably over 400 at round tables.

will be the biggest in the North West and on a par with any conference facilities found in Northern Ireland,” concluded Neil.

“We are confident that this will attract larger scale conferences and more prestigious music acts to the venue, which

The new Grand Ballroom is on course to open at the start of April 2017.



MCI Chartered Accountants is delighted to announce four new appointments to their assurance and advisory division. Managing Partner Ian McIvor (left) and Senior Director Patrick Gallagher (right) welcome Jennifer Harrison, Anna Veilande, Eadaoin McFeely and Aine Murphy to the firm.

Dane Bayley joined Property Link in July 2016 as Tenant Service Manager. Dane is responsible for managing all tenant issues and previously worked as a Property Manager in a letting agency in Manchester for four years.

Jola Oskwarek was working with Property Link on a freelance basis before joining in October 2016. Jola is now responsible for property inspections and inventories and has an understanding of repairs and maintenance issues.

Leanne Coyle joined Property Link in August 2016 and has several years’ experience as an administrative assistant. Personable, professional, and focused, Leanne understands that good staff support is one of the key elements for a happy, successful business.

Paul McQue has recently been appointed Managing Director of MPA Recruitment in Northern Ireland. Previously the Director of Global Personnel Services at Fluor, one of the world’s largest

Ciara Campbell has been appointed as MPA Recruitment’s Operations and Compliance Manager for the MPA Healthcare brand. Ciara who has been with the company for over eight years will be developing

Nicky McConville has been appointed as Business Support Manager for MPA Recruitment. He has been with the company for seven years and is now tasked with developing the ongoing manage


Grainne joined the Chamber in October 2016 assuming the position of Marketing and Events Coordinator. She will be ensuring the delivery of all external and internal communications as well as supporting the events team. Grainne engages with members to ensure they take advantage of the Chamber’s key platforms including the website, e-zine and social media.

Pete McNay has recently joined the team at BubbleBum as Management Accountant. He will look at all aspects of the business in an effort to drive BubbleBum forward, delivering analysis and information to meet the requirements of the company at all levels.

Bernard Ward joined the BubbleBum team just over fivemonths ago having previously worked with the company as a photographer on a freelance basis. Bernard has been appointed full time Marketing Guru, managing all aspects of marketing and digital marketing including website content and social media. Bernard is also BubbleBum’s in-house graphic designer and photographer.

Kimberly Madden-Treanor has been appointment Sales and Marketing Manager at the White Horse Hotel. Kimberly has worked in the hospitality industry for over 20 years and past positions include working at Jury’s Inn, Cardiff, Paramount Hotels, Cheltenham and the Hillgrove Hotel Leisure and Spa in Monaghan. In her role at the White Horse Hotel, Kimberly is responsible for all aspects of sales and marketing for the company.

Carole Harkin has been appointed Revenue, Sales and Marketing Manager at McGrory’s Hotel, Culdaff. She has over 20 years’ experience of working in the hotel industry in Northern Ireland, America and Ireland and has a BA Hons in Travel and Tourism from Ulster University.

Gary McPeake has been appointed Head Chef at McGrory’s Hotel, Culdaff. He has worked for Gordon Ramsay and was part of the team who gained a Michelin star at Amaryllis, Glasgow. He worked as Head Chef in multi award winning gastropub, Crocketts on the Quay in Ballina, Redcastle Oceanfront Hotel and Head Chef of the Drift Inn, Buncrana, which was named Ireland’s Best Gastropub by Yes Chef Magazine in 2015.

Peter Riddles joined Fleming’s as a production engineer in January 2016 and is responsible for the design of a number of new products as well as implementing changes, which will help in the production of our existing machinery.

Constance (Connie) Burns recently joined Fleming Agri Products as the Marketing and Business Development Executive. With a background in Marketing and a degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Ulster, Connie will focus on the growing export markets and is already engaging with companies in Canada and the USA.

Tonya joined the Fleming team earlier this year in the role of HR and Health and safety officer. A law and MBA graduate from the University of Ulster she brings a wealth of commercial and HR and Health and safety experience to Flemings.


Seamus Heaney HomePlace Opened Seamus Heaney HomePlace, the new arts and literary centre in Bellaghy, has been officially opened by the Heaney family.

Seamus Heaney (13 April 1939 – 30 August 2013) was an Irish poet, playwright, translator and lecturer from Bellaghy, County Londonderry. He received the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature. HomePlace is located at the heart of the area where Seamus Heaney spent his formative years and which inspired so much of his work across a career that spanned almost five decades. The influence and impact of the people and the place on him are central to the exhibition which will take visitors on a journey through his life and literature. The entire space over two floors is filled with personal stories and artefacts, dozens of family photographs, video recordings from friends, neighbours and cultural figures, and the voice of the poet himself reading his own words.


Seamus Heaney’s family (wife Marie, daughter Catherine and sons Christopher and Michael), pictured with the Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Councillor Trevor Wilson, Anne-Marie Campbell, Director of Culture and Leisure at Mid Ulster District Council and Brian McCormick, Centre Manager

There is also an interpretation of the poet’s Dublin study, where a film compilation of the reaction to his award of the Nobel Prize in Literature plays and a fax machine reminds visitors that he was in Greece, unaware for two days that he had received the greatest literary accolade. To coincide with the opening of the £4.25M arts and literary centre,

Bellaghy has been named a ‘World Host’ village after 40 people from more than 20 local businesses completed a tailored customer service training programme. Food outlets, bars, restaurants, pharmacies and supermarkets all counted among the businesses which took part in the programme which aimed to see Bellaghy designated as a world host village. Bellaghy is the location for HomePlace and celebrates the life and literature of the poet and Nobel Laureate who was one of Ireland’s greatest writers.

Brian McCormick, Manager of Seamus Heaney HomePlace pictured in the centre

59th Annual President’s Dinner Sponsored by SONI, the 59th Annual President’s Dinner was held in The White Horse Hotel on Friday 21st October 2016. It was a very entertaining evening, which saw a range of speakers including the President of the Chamber, Gavin Killeen, Martin McGuinness, Deputy First Minister and Charlie Flanagan, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade. The highlight was the keynote speaker, Countdown’s host and Lord Sugar’s right hand man in The Apprentice, Nick Hewer.

Sarah Travers, MC for the evening

SONI’s general manager, Robin McCormick also took the opportunity to thank the Chamber for their support to date and to stress the importance of North South Interconnector. It will ensure that businesses have the power they need to expand along with giving foreign direct investors the confidence that Northern Ireland has a secure and efficient electricity supply.

Ulster University Choir

Nicola Killeen and Gavin Killeen, President, Chamber of Commerce


Nick Hewer pictured with Robin McCormick, General Manager, SONI, Gavin Killeen, Sinead McLaughlin, Fintan Slye, Chief Executive, EirGrid

Nick Hewer pictured with Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, Martina Anderson MEP, Gavin Killeen, Mark Durkan MP, Charles Flanagan TD, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Robin McCormick, general manager SONI, Fintan Slye, EirGrid, Gregory Campbell MP, Sinead McLaughlin and Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Mayor Hilary McClintock

Nick Hewer pictured with Economy Minister Simon Hamilton, Gavin Killeen, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charles Flanagan TD, Mark Durkan MP and Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness

Nick Hewer

Robin McCormick, General Manager, SONI, Gavin Killeen, Sinead McLaughlin, Fintan Slye, Chief Executive, EirGrid


Roddy Family

Citation for Outstanding Contribution Award At the President’s 59th Annual Dinner, the Chief Executive of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, Sinead McLaughlin, announced the recipient of the 2016 Annual Award. She said;

“2016 has been a strange year. Our norms are no longer the norms and the political upheavals that we are witnessing on a daily basis both at home and abroad are disconcerting at best and heartbreaking at their worst. The rhetoric in the US election campaign is frightening and one wonders where all this hate will lead. We in Northern Ireland should not forget how violent rhetoric and intolerance can destroy people’s lives. We know that it takes many years to undo the damage of intolerance and segregation. In the North we have made real progress in bringing our communities together. The job has been difficult and we thank all our


politicians for the sacrifices they have made to get us to this point. However, it is not just the role of our Politicians to build peace and in many ways individuals in our society have shown leadership beyond politics.

“Tonight we wish to celebrate someone from our City who has made an outstanding contribution to conflict resolution in our society. This individual has demonstrated courageous leadership, tenacity and determination. In his ‘day job’ our recipient is responsible for the management of the City Centre – whose remit is to look after the core area of the city in all its splendid daily complexities. Jim Roddy works over and beyond the job description and I know first-hand of his tireless commitment to the City and region.

“However, it is the often thankless and unseen work that Jim does that we celebrate this evening. Living in a divided community there is always potential to create division and friction, Jim Roddy, Recipient of the Outstanding Contribution Award, presented to him by Londonderry Chamber, Chief Executive, Sinead McLaughlin

Bernie Roddy congratulating her husband Jim

Jim has for many years worked quietly and tirelessly to listen, mediate and negotiate an understanding between individuals, communities, bands and loyal Orange Orders to bring about a resolution, tolerance and acceptance of each other’s culture.

Crowd Standing to Congratulate Jim Roddy

“It is widely recognised that Jim believes strongly in partnerships whereby people come together building sustainable relations and work towards a unity of purpose. He is the fixer, not only from a community perspective, but would also be the ‘go to’ person to facilitate connections for the PSNI, statuary agencies, political parties, and indeed both governments on this island. “Just last month, the three year dispute at Twaddell Avenue in Belfast came to a negotiated conclusion. It was the long, protracted and often fraught hard work of many in the community that brought closure to this dispute. However, it was the delicate work of facilitation and negotiation by both Jim Roddy and Reverend Harold Good that were fundamental to the positive resolution.

“Jim was honoured earlier this year by the Queen in receiving an MBE acknowledging his contribution to business

and society in general. I know that Jim likes to work under the radar but on behalf of the Derry Chamber, I would ask Jim

Roddy to do us the honour of accepting this Award for your outstanding contribution to Civic Society.”


LCC Group Buys Oil Terminal in Multimillion Pound Deal

Danske Bank’s Ciaran McLaughlin is pictured with LCC Director Dan Loughran and Michael O Loughran at the company’s oil terminal at Foyle Port at Lisahally in Co Londonderry

Cookstown-based energy provider LCC Group has invested in future growth by acquiring a strategically important, state of the art oil terminal in a multi-million pound deal, supported by Danske Bank. LCC Group partnered with Norwegian oil giant Statoil ASA in a joint venture called LSS Ltd to build the oil terminal in Maydown, Co Londonderry in 2005. The latest transaction resulted in LCC Group buying out its joint venture partner giving the company sole ownership and control of the terminal. Since the terminal acquisition completed, LCC Group has secured an Aviation Fuel supply contract with Q8 Aviation to supply EasyJet at Belfast International Airport. Over the term of the contract, 135 million litres of Aviation Fuel will be supplied from the LSS terminal. In order to meet the stringent quality assurance standards for aviation product storage and transportation, LCC Group have invested £1.5m on the installation of new highly advanced plant and equipment at the terminal. The independent, family-owned LCC Group was established in 1986. Originally a coal


merchant, the Group has diversified into oil, electricity and gas distribution. The company reported turnover of £544m in 2015 and employs over 180 staff. Dan Loughran, Director at LCC Group, said the acquisition of the oil terminal is strategically important for the company, as it will give it a significant competitive advantage.

“Logistically, transporting oil is expensive. It eats into profit margins, impacts on the environment and ultimately increases costs for customers. The LSS terminal is used to import and store oil to allow for smooth, efficient transport to markets in NI and ROI. By owning the terminal outright, LCC Group will be able to control our costs and pass those savings on to customers.

He added; “In a process where the time frame to completion was a critical differentiator for LCC Group, Danske’s support in terms of the speed of credit

approval, the structure of facilities, the overall level of support available, together with the management of the process to completion was essential to the success of this acquisition from our former joint venture partner.” Ciaran McLaughlin, Corporate Banking Manager at Danske Bank, said LCC Group is an excellent example of a locally-owned company that has demonstrated its ambition to grow. “LCC Group is a prime example of the type of trading businesses we at Danske are keen to support in their growth journey. The company has a strong track record of investment and Danske Bank was ready to provide support when the company was presented with this opportunity to further strengthen its business in the North West. “These types of high value infrastructure assets are normally owned by FTSE 100 corporations, not family-owned companies, so this transaction really demonstrates the scale of LCC Group’s ambitions for the future.”

Firmus Energy Plans a Significant Investment for Derry and Strabane Local natural gas company, firmus energy, which already has around 8000 customers in the Derry and Strabane council area is currently finalising its significant investment plans for the next six years. This means that thousands more homes and businesses in the local area will have the option of getting connected and enjoy the benefits of natural gas. It’s now just over a decade since firmus energy connected its first customer in the City; since then the company has worked hard building out the natural gas network, investing more than £22m in the Derry and Strabane council area. Michael Scott, managing director for firmus energy, explains: “Since 2005, we have invested more than £100 million in our network across Northern Ireland and have brought natural gas to towns and cities which hadn’t previously been able to access this versatile fuel. “Since we connected our first commercial customer, our ambitious growth strategy has gained momentum. Fast forward ten years to today and more than 90% of industry along the routes of our pipelines is now connected to natural gas, which indicates how critical the fuel is to the economic landscape in Northern Ireland. Commercial and Domestic customers very quickly realised the benefits of natural gas and we continually receive queries from homeowners as to whether or not they can connect. To address this customer-driven demand, we are continually liaising with the

Utility Regulator to secure permissions to expand our network into new areas.” Following consultation with stakeholders and elected representatives, the company submitted an ambitious Business plan to the Utility Regulator for 2017 to 2022. This could see the company invest around £120 million developing its network over this period making natural gas available to a further 70,000 properties across Northern Ireland. More than 17,000 of these potential connections would be in Derry and Strabane supercouncil area following the construction and investment of an additional 180kms of pipe. Firmus energy has already laid more than 200km of pipe in the Derry & Strabane supercouncil area, connecting its first customer in May 2006. Over and above the thousands of Domestic customers in the area businesses including Altnagelvin Hospital, the Millennium Forum, Foyle Meats and Templemore Leisure Centre have also been connected.

Conversions from oil and coal to Natural gas have lead to the displacement of more than 100,000 tonnes of Co2 from the surrounding atmosphere, equivalent to taking 12,000 cars off Northern Ireland roads. Michael continued: “So far we have exceeded our targets year on year connecting 4000+ new commercial and domestic customers annually and we estimate with our forecast growth plans, we can sustain this into the future. We are committed to our ongoing investment programme to improve the availability of natural gas across Northern Ireland with continued employment opportunities for hundreds of local contractors, installers and support agencies.” Firmus energy’s team operates from its Antrim headquarters and the company remains committed to investing in its natural gas network roll out plan.

Michael Scott, firmus energy


Airport Vital for North West Success In early September Ryanair announced that it would no longer operate a service from City of Derry Airport to London Stansted or Faro from 25th March 2017. During discussions with the airport, Ryanair indicated that following the UK European Union membership referendum, the airline planned to “pivot growth away from UK airports and focus more on growing at our EU airports over the next two years. This winter we will cut capacity and frequency on many London Stansted routes”. Mr Roy Devine, Chairman of CoDA Operations Ltd outlined that: “the reduction was clearly disappointing news for the airport”. Roy welcomed that Ryanair’s Glasgow and Liverpool services had been maintained, however acknowledged the importance of a London service and its significance to the connectivity of the North-West region. Roy stated; “The Airport Board anticipated changes to Ryanair services following the airline’s decision to commence operations from Belfast. Our Board started planning in early 2015; developing a business case and actively engaging with the Department for Transport (DfT) in London to advance a Public Service Obligation, (PSO) designation for a DfT

supported service from CoDA to London”. Immediately following Ryanair’s announcement, a formal request from Derry City and Strabane District Council to the DfT for a PSO to London was undertaken. Following DfT approval, the application was then submitted to the EU Commission for approval. Roy outlined that CoDA’s application to the EU Commission has now been approved, and is currently going through a tender process which is expected to be completed in early 2017. The PSO should deliver a high frequency, business friendly service from CoDA to London from April 2017 onwards. It is hoped that this planning will lead to a seamless transition from Ryanair’s London Stansted service to the new PSO London service. Roy highlighted that City of Derry Airport is a regional airport and therefore requires a regional airline. The low-cost airline model is effective at delivering large volumes of passenger numbers, however as a regional airport, CoDA requires a regional airline to deliver an aircraft which can provide much needed additional frequencies, offering two or three rotations per day to London. Roy stated that the airport also welcomed the announcement by the NI Executive of a £7m support funding package for the airport, following weeks of high level talks and discussions involving CoDA, Derry City and S t r a -

“We have a fantastic facility on our doorstep and it is essential everyone takes advantage of their local airport for air travel where possible.”


bane District Council and the deputy First Minister, Mr Martin McGuinness, about the future of the airport. Roy went on to say that the funding package was great news for the airport and a welcome boost for the wider North West region, outlining “this investment package is evidence of the Government’s confidence and commitment to the airport and the wider North West region. The funding package is hugely significant in allowing CoDA to develop new routes and carriers as well as advancing plans to develop infrastructure. Roy highlighted that CoDA is currently working with the Department for the Economy in Belfast and the European Commission in Brussels to agree a compliant mechanism for the route development funding received from the NI Executive. Roy concluded by stating that “City of Derry Airport is a vital piece of infrastructure and a key economic driver for the north-west region, generating a total of £15.7m Gross Value Added (GVA) into the local economy, a minimum of £8.3m per annum of operational GVA and £7.4m of catalytic GVA from inbound tourism and business connectivity. Roy highlighted that despite recent setbacks the airport’s future looks very optimistic with the promise of a new operator offering high frequency, business friendly services to London and other key destinations. Finally, Roy said he would encourage all air passengers to “Think Local” and “Choose CoDA”. “We have a fantastic facility on our doorstep and it is essential everyone takes advantage of their local airport for air

travel where possible. Approximately 300,000 passengers travelled to and from CoDA in 2015. We thank each and every one of those passengers and we look forward to continuing to serve them and the people in the North West in the years ahead”. Commercial and Marketing Manager, Charlene Shongo highlighted that until 25th March 2017, Ryanair will continue to operate: 6 weekly services to London Stansted 5 weekly services to Glasgow International and 5 weekly services to Liverpool. Charlene also added that leading tour operators, Thomson and First Choice, part of the TUI Group, recently launched a new summer sun programme from City of Derry Airport to Majorca, commencing on 26th June 2017. The Summer 2017 programme gives holidaymakers from the North-West region the opportunity to discover and explore the largest island in the Balearics. Charlene outlined that Majorca is a popular holiday destination and it is fantastic news that there is now a direct flight from CoDA. Majorca delivers bundles of sunshine and spectacular sandy beaches lapped by turquoise waters. Popular resorts like Alcudia and Puerto Pollensa cater for fun packed family holidays, while the West of the Island satisfies a livelier crowd. The island offers much to see and do being a cultural destination with a rich and diverse past. There are some fantastic special offers available; to book visit Connected has also learned that CoDA has recently been shortlisted for two prestigious awards in the 2016 Aviation Industry Awards: The Airport Safety Award and The Airport Achievement Award. The Aviation Industry Awards celebrate excellence in the Irish and International Aviation Industry. Over 650 industry

professionals are expected to attend the awards ceremony, held in Dublin in December 2016, bringing together leading companies from every sector of aviation. City of Derry Airport received its nomination for The Airport Safety Award following its contribution to safety, both safety promotion and safety awareness and demonstrates the airport’s overall commitment to achieving excellent safety performance. City of Derry Airport was also nominated for the Airport Achievement award demonstrating the airport’s commitment to customers and enhancement of the passenger experience in the last 12 months.

and improve safety at every opportunity”. Clive added; “The value of continuous improvement in all areas of safety can never be underestimated. CoDA is firmly committed to its safety programme, Target Zero, and strives to ensure that everyone remains focused on reducing risk and improving safety standards for all stakeholders. The airport promotes a positive safety culture which in turn provides an excellent customer experience leading to CoDA, remaining very much at the forefront of the aviation industry”.

Clive Coleman, Contractors Director for RCA (the company responsible for the management of CoDA) said; “We are absolutely delighted to be shortlisted in the 2016 Aviation Industry Awards – this is a significant achievement for the airport and demonstrates the hard work and commitment from all the team here at City of Derry Airport. We are particularly proud to be nominated for the Airport Safety Award, and to be in the company of many leading companies in the aviation sector. Safety is a significant issue for any airport, however the staff at CODA work hard and strive constantly to mitigate risk


Delivering the North South Interconnector The Londonderry Chamber of Commerce has been vocal in support of the proposed North South Interconnector, which is currently in the planning process. It is one of the priority infrastructure projects which need to be delivered for the benefit of members, for the North West and for Northern Ireland. Connected Magazine speaks to Natasha Sayee Head of Public Affairs at SONI (System Operator for Northern Ireland) as the company looks to delivering this vital project. At SONI we operate the high voltage electricity system, taking bulk loads of electricity from the power generators making sure it gets to where it is needed. A key part of this role is managing and developing the grid on which that power flows – ensuring NI’s businesses have the energy they need to operate and expand; however the grid needs improvement. The central piece to this development work is the North South Interconnector – a proposed overhead line between Tyrone and Meath, which will provide a high capacity link between the electricity systems in Northern Ireland and the Republic. While our core responsibility is to ‘keep the lights on’, we also need to enable

businesses to grow, and the North South Interconnector is central to this. It will ensure that our businesses have the power they need to expand, importantly too it will give confidence to foreign direct investors that Northern Ireland has a secure and efficient electricity supply. Significantly for consumers, having the Interconnector in place will allow for the full implementation of the Single Electricity Market which at the minute isn’t producing all the benefits it should because we don’t have the necessary infrastructure in place. By removing constraints on the current network and allowing more power to flow between NI and ROI, the Interconnector will facilitate more competition and result in downward pressure on consumers’ bills. The interconnector will help deliver very real benefits to domestic and commercial customers throughout the island and even though this project might seem ‘far away’ from the North West, our fellow members at the Londonderry Chamber

have grasped its importance and the urgency. Delivering grid infrastructure projects can be challenging, we need to work hand-in-hand with the business community and through our solid relationship with the Chamber, we are able to answer your questions and engage with you directly. This is a priority for us. It is a critical time for the project; we are preparing for the substantive Public Inquiry which is due to begin in February and hope for a planning outcome later in 2017. The consequences of further delay, or of not going ahead are costly and Northern Ireland customers would suffer. We would encourage our fellow members to continue to vocalise their support for the North South Interconnector – its significance cannot be underestimated, it is the single most important infrastructure project for the island today.

Robin McCormick General Manager, with Natasha Sayee and senior members of the SONI team



The current. The future.

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11/11/2016 09:58

Building the North West Gateway Infrastructure Minister, Chris Hazzard MLA writes for Connected Magazine. Growing a regionally balanced economy is at the core of the Executive’s Programme for Government. Strengthening Derry as a key economic driver and gateway is central to that. As a cross-border city region with a catchment area of 400,000 people, the fourth largest on this island, the importance of developing the North West gateway should not be underestimated. It is vital that we encourage innovation and entrepreneurship, grow a highly skilled and qualified workforce, and create jobs, self-confidence and selfbelief. And it is infrastructure that glues these together, creating the conditions for growth and ensuring this region can attract and retain inward investment and support local businesses to grow. Like many communities west of the Bann, there is a sense that those in the North West have been left behind. One of my key priorities over the next five years will be to redress the north’s infrastructure deficit, particularly in the west. To that end, there are a number of key projects I am taking forward as a priority.


The A6 Randalstown to Castledawson scheme is now well advanced and I am also working to expedite progress on delivery of the Derry to Dungiven dualling scheme. My aim is to deliver both during the current mandate. Work on the A5 could begin late next year, subject to the successful completion of all the statutory procedures and the outcome of the Inspector’s Report. I want also to progress the A2 Buncrana Road scheme. This is a unique opportunity to develop a cross-border economic corridor. Enhancing rail connections to and from the North West will also be a key priority for me. Significant progress has been made on upgrading the Derry-Belfast rail line, with Phase 2 of the Coleraine-Derry track upgrade due for completion by December. We will then have the basic infrastructure to introduce an hourly rail service between Belfast and Derry.

Just a few weeks ago I was delighted to announce we are at the final stages of procuring the old Waterside Train Station as the site for a new transport hub. This is an exciting project linking rail and cross-border public transport services and providing a land-mark gateway to our second city. The Hub also offers an opportunity to create a destination and social resource at the heart of the city’s greenway links; connecting the new station directly to the Peace Bridge. Investing in public transport and active travel is about transforming how people travel, but it’s also about building dynamic vibrant places that people want to experience. That’s critically important both in terms of attracting investment, talent and tourism, but also in terms of building confidence and raising people’s expectations for themselves by showing they are valued.

“I want to go beyond this and further raise our ambitions for rail connectivity in the North West. To that end I have commissioned work on the introduction of a Derry - Dublin service. All of this will of course require additional funding which I don’t have at present.” This city has led the way with over 80 km of cross-border greenways, which have helped transform Derry and Strabane. And just last week I awarded the council £8,000 to take forward plans for a North West greenway. This is a fantastic resource for the area and its people. In developing the tourism product in the North West, there is clearly a role for the port and the City of Derry Airport also. We’ve seen the success of Clipper for the city, in part enabled by the significant investment of Foyle Harbour in the marina. My Executive colleagues have already signalled their support for the airport and my Department will have a major role in putting the package in place. In all of this, we are not investing in infrastructure for its own sake. We are sending a message to our children and our communities that we value them. That has to be the starting point to realising their potential.

Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard in Derry to meet with Chief Executive of Derry City and Strabane District Council John Kelpie to discuss key infrastructure projects for the City


Electric Ireland - An Energy Force for Good in North West Clare McAllister, NI Sales and Marketing Manager for Electric Ireland outlines the energy supplier’s strong connections to the North West.

Clare McAllister, NI Sales and Marketing Manager for Electric Ireland

“You could say that Electric Ireland is both old and new to the North West; we have been serving businesses here for 16 years but it was just last year that the company moved into the residential market giving greater choice to the households in the region. “Besides our supply business we also have deep roots and a significant footprint as part of the ESB Group that in the late 1990s acquired and then converted Coolkeeragh Power Station which helped drive the extension of the gas pipeline to the North West. The group also own windfarms with further projects underway at Eglish, Co. Derry and Crockdun in Tyrone. “Electric Ireland offers both green and brown energy to businesses in the North West and provides tailored solutions that will help them meet their own sustainability targets and reach greater levels of energy efficiency. From solar grant

schemes offered through the Northern Ireland Solar Energy Programme funding scheme to product offers such as fixed energy pricing and options which allow customers to track either the electricity ‘pool’ price or the wholesale gas markets, depending on the size of the user, we are flexible and supportive of our customers. “We also work to support the business sector in other ways; an example of this is our commitment to show leadership through our support of the Londonderry Chamber’s President’s Breakfast and the Foyle

Maritime Festival. “Most recently we introduced an affinity programme to the City of Derry Rugby Club, supporting grass roots sport in a way that will help not just the club as a business but its members and supporters as consumers. It is the company’s intention to role more affinity programmes out for the business and organisations of the North West and we would encourage any organisations wanting to hear more about this to get in touch with us.”

Connected Talent to ‘Make Waves’ for Galway 2020 Connected Talent secures Talent Partner Status for Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture. The business has secured a significant contract that will see Connected Talent source and attract the entire staff complement to deliver the Executive and delivery function for the new Galway 2020 company responsible for delivering the European Capital of Culture. The contract will involve appointing the broad spectrum of staff ranging from CEO and Creative Director to Programme Managers and support staff. The contract reflects the further growth of Connected Talent in ROI and cements the growth of the company on the west


coast of the island. The contract will be delivered from Connected Talent’s new offices in Galway and the sector leading sourcing team in Derry/Londonderry. Ryan Williams, CEO and Founder of Connected Talent commented; “When we set up the business two years ago in the North West we made it clear from the start we were going to use our Derry HQ location to reach out into national and international markets both in the pursuit of the very best talent and flagship clients. “Two years in and our business generates over 60% of its revenue from clients located outside the local jurisdiction and with over 50% of our revenue emanating from onsite recruitment solutions (RPO) offering clients a much broader range

of services including talent diagnostics, testing, process improvement, HR and outplacement support, FDI consultancy and much more. “Critically we knew the local Derry workforce would provide us with a ready mix of both experienced talent professionals as well as a robust stream of talented and highly motivated graduates.”

Have Your Say on Planning Department’s Grand Designs Have you ever wanted to give your views and opinions on a new city development? Now you can thanks to Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Planning Department and a new innovative on-line facility! The new facility, launched by the Council this week, invites the public to leave their feedback and views on selected planning applications. The project is part of the EU ‘IMPROVE’ pilot project, which aims to facilitate the public in assisting your Council to co- produce better public services. As part of the scheme, planning officials will be featuring certain applications that are considered especially worthy of public feedback due to their proposed prominent location, setting or design. Designs for proposed buildings and public realm artwork across the District will feature in the coming weeks, includ-

ing a new apartment block proposed for development on the riverfront in Derry, close to the Craigavon Bridge. Encouraging the public to get involved in the process, Jonny McNee, Senior Planning Officer with the Council’s Planning Department said the online facility is a great way of engaging with the public and to help Council plan positively for the future of the Council area. All you have to do is visit the Council’s Planning website at www.derrystrabane. com/planning and click on Development Management and select the IMPROVE button. Then look at the proposed design drawings and let us know what you think. Your comments will assist Council’s planning officials as they work with agents, developers, architects to obtain the best possible design and built development for the District. Please note, any comments left will not be treated as an official representation (either

objection or support) to each specific proposal. At this stage, Planning officials are keen just to hear your design thoughts and suggestions as they seek to gauge public reaction to these important proposals. Each IMPROVE consultation will be posted for 1 week only – so Council urges that you submit your comments now! The launch comes just weeks following the launch of the Local Development Plan (LDP), which will enable the physical delivery of many of the planning issues that have been raising as part of Council’s ongoing Community Plan and DEA Community Plans consultations. Each week, a number of important LDP planning topics are up for discussion and planning officials want to hear your views on these issues. So go to and click on Local Development Plan and tell us what you think. You’ll be shaping the LDP right from the start to make it relevant to you and your neighbourhood.

New £26m Rail Hub by 2020 Derry-Londonderry is set to benefit from a new rail hub as part of the redevelopment of the old Waterside Railway Station into an exciting integrated transport facility. The £26m plan will see the

ornate Victorian Station transformed into a state of the art terminus with facilities and amenities to promote sustainable travel options including bike parking, lockers, changing facilities and bike hire and repair.

The regeneration of the historic building will provide an integrated and convenient point of access for arriving and departing the city and will be a much welcome addition to the region. By improving the infrastructure links, this will encourage investment, talent and tourism to the area which is vital to the North West. Translink is responsible for taking the project forward to the final stages of procurement for the old station and when combined with delivery of the £45m Phase 2 relay scheme it will transform rail services to and from Derry-Londonderry. The Department for Infrastructure, Derry and Strabane District

Council, Translink and Donegal County Council have applied for EU Funding to support the new transport hub and it is anticipated that work will begin in 2018 with the rail hub operational by 2020. Built in 1873 by architect John Lanyon, from the renowned Belfast architectural firm Lanyon, Lynn and Lanyon, the old Waterside Station was the original terminus of the railway to Belfast. The building was restored after a number of bomb attacks in the 1970s by local architect Caroline Dickson. By utilising this historic building in a way that preserves its character, but also meets the transport needs of the future, will create a great asset for the North West as a whole.


Celebrating Entrepreneurial Success Over 300 business people and invited guests gathered at a glittering gala event in The Mount Errigal for the Letterkenny Business Awards, run by Letterkenny Chamber of Commerce in association with The Donegal News. With a fantastic response to the awards, the shortlisted finalists were from a wide spectrum of North West Businesses. The awards were presented by their sponsors and the President of Letterkenny Chamber, John Bowe. Speaking at the event John congratulated all the nominees, finalists and winners “We

were all inspired by the ​ amazing businesses we have in Donegal represented at our business awards. This event was a true celebration of the Business Success of this town and county. The awards give us all an opportunity to get a glimpse of the innovation, creativity and success of our local businesses.”

James Pat McDaid, Mayor Letterkenny Municipal District, John Bowe, President Letterkenny Chamber of Commerce, Gavin Killeen, President Londonderry Chamber of Commerce

The event also is the opportunity of the Chamber to announce the Business Person of the Year and to induct a Business Person into the Hall of Fame. This year the Business Person of the Year went to Eddie Tobin, Tobin’s Topaz and Spar Express. The business, first opened in 1980 by Eddie’s father, has occupied its current premises on Port Road since 2004. With a team of 38 employees, quality is always high on the agenda and the business has consistently won forecourt, convenience store and Q Mark awards. The team is always striving for excellence and will continue to deliver an excellent service to Letterkenny. Hall of Fame was awarded to Dermot Rainey, Sherry Fitzgerald Rainey. The Rainey name has been synonymous with Port Road in Letterkenny for 57 years. Dermot became a full time estate agent in the early 80s and now his wife Mary and Daughter Kiara run this successful business. Dermot was a Past President of Letterkenny Chamber and is passionate about the development of Letterkenny with which he has been so closely involved. This annual event is the highlight of the business calendar and the awards are gaining in recognition with each passing year.


Patricia Slowey with her husband Terence Slowey Cathaoirleach Donegal County Council pictured with John Bowe, President Letterkenny Chamber of Commerce and his wife Fiona

Award Winner Retailer of the Year

R McCullagh Jewellers

Business Excellence

Donegal Oil Company

Best Innovation SITA Best Start Up

Peadar Jim’s Property Maintenance

Excellence in Marketing

Lottie Dolls

Growth through Export

Nomadic Dairy

Excellence in Customer Service

Joe’s Butchers

Best Use of Social Media

Rushe Fitness

Excellence in E-Commerce

John Bowe, President Letterkenny Chamber of Commerce, Dermot Rainey, Charlene Shongo, City of Derry Airport, Sponsor, Mary Rainey, Harry Walsh, Donegal News

John Bowe, President Letterkenny Chamber of Commerce, Terence Slowey, Cathaoirleach Donegal County Council, Eddie Tobin, Columba Gill, Editor Donegal News


CONNECTED takes a look at some gadgets that can boost your productivity before taking a byte of out Apple’s latest latest offering, the fantastic Macbook Pro.

Five Gadgets to Boost Your Productivity HydraCoach Intelligent Water Bottle

Equil Smartpen 2

Many writers and artists cannot take their ideas to a computer Mild dehydration (just 1-2%) without first doodling something can make us less alert, cause a down. Who knows, it might decline in cognitive function and be easier to get creative hinder our ability to manage with a pen in your hand and stress and anxiety. One study paper to write on! The team even suggested that workers behind the Equil Smartpen have that were 1% dehydrated understood this and come up experienced a 12% drop in with a great solution. This smart productivity. This water bottle pen follows the flow of your calculates your personal writing and automatically hydration needs, tracks your fluid consumption and motivates you to registers it in the cloud. You can stay hydrated! Sportline’s HydraCoach use any paper and use the Equil Smart Pen on it. Get it from £120. retails at £20.

Bluesmart Carry-on Suitcase

The Bluesmart is more than just a suitcase, it’s your personal travel assistant. It charges your devices, offers proximity notifications in case you stray too far, has a built in scale so you can measure the weight, a digitally controlled lock, location tracking, trip data tracking and an electronics pocket that is easily exposed to security. The BBC touted it as ‘The iPhone of Luggage’, from £399.


Fitbit Charge 2

Health is a huge concern for the ever busy entrepreneur. Getting a lifestyle gadget like Fitbit can help you monitor your physical activity and health indicators like sleep and heart rate. This latest product by fitbit has more features than ever, including Cardio Fitness Level, Breathing

Workouts and Sport Tracking, which should help keep you healthy and working at your optimum rate. The Charge 2 starts at £129.99


Even the most organised among us can lose things. It can be something insignificant to something a little scarier like your phone or even keys! That’s where Tile steps in. The ingenious little white square is a tracker device that is operated by Bluetooth and used with the accompanying app. Get Tile from £23.

The Macbook of Pros Apple has finally updated it’s Macbook Pro, and boy, is it impressive. Apple’s range of high spec laptops have long represented the pinnacle of stylish, sturdy laptop design in a powerful and expensive package, and this latest incarnation doesn’t disappoint.

laptop includes two Thunderbolt 3 ports that double up as USB Type-C 3.1 ports, and a 3.5mm headphone jack – which won’t be good news to the photographers among us who were previously able to simply insert an SD card and begin editing.

Unsurprisingly, the entry level Macbook Pro doesn’t represent great value for money. Starting at £1,449, the entry level Pro is expensive for what is actually on offer. The entry level model also doesn’t come with Apple’s ‘Touch Bar’ feature (which we’ll get to later). For that, you’d have to shell out £1,749 for the 13’ model and £2,349 for the 15’ model.

Apple has overhauled both the keyboard and touchpad on the MacBook Pro. The trackpad is much bigger than it was previously, which is great for usability. I was able to move from one side of the screen to the other without having to reposition my digits. It also has a feature called Force Touch, which means clicks are pressure sensitive. Above the trackpad is Apple’s new Butterfly 2 keyboard, which has large, tightly packed keys that are relatively simple to use.

The unibody design, machined from a single piece of aluminium, is as attractive as ever. One thing I miss from the Macbooks of old is the glowing apple on the rear of the display, this has now been done away with and replaced with a mirrored Apple logo, possibly to save space. The 13’ model actually takes up slightly less volume than the current Macbook Air. In terms of connections, the

The biggest change is with the Touch Bar. The top row of function keys, (the keys you never use except to change the screen brightness or volume) has been replaced by a narrow, long touchscreen, and it’s really cool. The idea is that when using different applications, the Touch Bar

will show keys relevant to that program, which is entirely configurable. As app developers get to grips with the Touch Bar, its functionality will grow, which is hugely exciting. Along at the right end of the Touch Bar is the power button, which is also a fingerprint sensor. This is a new way to unlock your laptop. Processor performance is perhaps one of my biggest problems with the MacBook Pro. Albeit, this is the entry level model, I’d still expect for strong performance and the very best chips and processors, given the price. In terms of day to day use, the Macbook Pro is silent and efficient, you should only encounter lag problems when pushing it hard with large HD video files or even game files. It’s worth noting that last year’s 13-inch MacBook Pro can be bought for £999, and provides near-identical processor performance. Even though it’s slightly bigger, this may represent better value for those of you looking to upgrade at the minute. Sure, if you buy this base

Key Features 2-3.1GHz Intel Core i56360U processor (upgradable to 3.4GHz Core i7) 8GB 1,866MHz LPDDR3 memory (upgradable to 16GB) Intel Iris Graphics 540 2,560 x 1,600-pixel Retina display 2 x Thunderbolt 3/USB Type-C combination ports, 3.5mm headset jack 256GB PCIe SSD (512GB and 1TB available) 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2 15mm thick Weight: 1.37kg Review Price: £1,449.00 model MacBook Pro 13, you’ll probably fall in love with it. It is one of the most beautifully designed laptops I’ve ever seen. However, the base model is incredibly expensive for what is offered – it might be worth spending more and checking out the Touch Bar enabled devices for some wow factor and improved processor speeds. Go big or go home, as they say.


CONNECTEDrive Motoring Correspondent, Darryl Campbell

The beginning of 2017 brings with it an influx of new and refreshed models from the top manufacturers – a very exciting time in the motoring industry. I’ll be looking in more detail at the latest offerings from Nissan and Skoda as well as counting down the top cars to look out for in 2017.


Infiniti Arrives in Northern Ireland

Japanese manufacturer Infiniti has opened its first-ever retail store in Northern Ireland. The centre in Belfast has started to begin business operations, opening up a new era for Infiniti with the full European product range available to customers in Northern Ireland. The opening of this new centre demonstrates the continuous growth of the brand in the UK and across Europe.

Volvo Brings Swedish Cool to Executive Saloon Class

The new Volvo S90 is a large executive saloon, which shares a platform (and much of its interior) with the V90 estate and XC90 SUV. Volvo claims the S90 represents a greater threat to the German dominance of the executive market than any of its cars have before. Two 2.0-litre diesel engines are available: a 187bhp D4 or 232bhp D5, while a T8 petrol-electric hybrid is on the way.

Volkswagen insiders are referring to the new Golf as ‘Mk 7.5’ instead of the full-spec Mk8 (due to arrive in 2018) but while the external differences are mild and evolutionary, and big components like the chassis remain essentially unchanged, there are significant upgrades as the manufacturer tries to win back consumer confidence with its best-known model.

Volvo Cars, has also unveiled a new upgraded version of its S90 saloon and a top-of-the-line luxury model called S90 Excellence, both aimed at the high-end saloon market.

The latest Infiniti Q60 is the brand’s premium sports coupe that combines expressive design with exhilarating performance and dynamics.

Seat Unveils New Leon

Volkswagen Golf Facelift Revealed

The facelifted 2017 Volkswagen Golf has been unveiled, revealing its subtle styling changes, upgraded interior appointments and a newly developed 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine ahead of its arrival in three and five-door hatchback and estate body


styles next April.

One of my favourite cars on the road, the Seat Leon has received a facelift in a bid to compete with the latest hatchbacks. Seat is continuing its relentless product offensive with the unveiling of the new Leon, ahead of its launch in early 2017. The latest incarnation of the Barcelona-based brand’s best-selling model, blends key ingredients of comfort, technology and quality, with emotional design and driving pleasure. Seat’s dubbed the success the “Leon formula” which is also being rolled out across the range, beginning with the new Ibiza, due next year.

The Volvo S90 & V90

FROM £349*

per month with £6499 deposit

Book a test drive at your local Volvo dealer today

Customer deposit of £6499 followed by 36 payments of £349. Optional Final Payment of £15,950. Personal Contract Purchase

Stanley Motor Works Belfast Tel: 028 9068 6000 Greers of Antrim & Coleraine Tel: 028 9446 0066 *S90 D4 MOMENTUM Official fuel consumption for the new Volvo S90/ V90 in MPG (l/100km) ranges from: Urban 49.6 (5.7) - 54.3 (5.2), Extra Urban 62.8 (4.5) – 72.4 (3.9), Combined 57.6 (4.9) – 64.2 (4.4). CO2 Emissions range from 129 – 116g/km. MPG figures are obtained from laboratory testing intended for comparisons between vehicles and may not reflect real driving results. *Important information: The Stanley Motor Works (1932) Limited and Greers of Antrim are acting as introducers. Contract Hire provided by Lex Autolease Ltd trading as Volvo Car Leasing, SK3 0RB. 18s and over, subject to status. You will not own the vehicle and it must be returned in good condition to avoid further charges. Excess mileage charges 16.74p per mile. Subject to availability on vehicles registered from 01/10/16 to 31/12/16. Not available with other promotions. At the end of the agreement there are 3 options: (i) Renew: Part exchange the vehicle. (ii) Retain: Pay the Optional Final Payment to own the vehicle or (iii) Return the vehicle. Further charges may be made subject to the condition or mileage of the vehicle. Terms and conditions apply. Applicants must be 18 or over. Guarantee/Indemnity may be required.

The Bigger the Better: Škoda’s Kodiaq Unveiled The Czech brand’s first ever seven-seater SUV is 4.70 m long, with the largest boot in its class and will start from just £21,495. It will be available from launch in four trim levels, five engine options, two and four-wheel drive, and a choice of manual or DSG gearboxes. Škoda’s keen pricing means the Kodiaq will be at least 10% cheaper than all of its rivals, including the Nissan X-Trail, Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe. The range comprises three familiar trims; S, SE and SE L along with a new Edition grade that celebrates the arrival of the Kodiaq.

Design Fully integrating Škoda’s celebrated design language, the Kodiaq’s exterior neatly combines elegant lines, sporty contours and a feeling of robustness. Although the Kodiaq is a completely new model, it is unmistakably Škoda. The styling is characterised by clear, precise and clean-cut lines – typified by a distinctive, highly recessed shoulder line. Double horizontal lines on the front convey a feeling of protection and strength while the wide, three-dimensional radiator grille is framed on either side by a pair of raked double headlights. The interior includes bold vertical elements, such as the four large air vents and the large display that splits the instrument panel into two equal sections for the driver and passenger.

Connectivity Škoda Connect makes its debut on the Kodiaq and is divided into


two categories: • Infotainment Online services that provide information and real-time navigation details. • Care Connect that provides remote access as well as assistance. Infotainment Online includes online traffic information, Google Earth and Google Street View, fuel prices, parking information, online news, weather information and ‘My Points of Interest’ services. Care Connect features an eCall emergency call system that is triggered after an accident, along with a

notification function for minor accidents as well as a breakdown call. Proactive Service is also included in the Care Connect services. When this is activated, all of the required data is sent to the garage in a timely manner before a vehicle’s service.

Engines and Transmissions The Kodiaq launches in the UK with a choice of five engines; three petrol and two diesel. Power outputs range from 125PS to 190PS, with customers able to choose between two or four-wheel

drive and manual or DSG transmissions. All engines feature Stop-Start system, brake energy recovery and a powerful thermo-management system that contributes to low consumption. The petrol line-up consists of two 1.4 TSI units, one with an output of 125PS and another with 150PS and ACT (Active Cylinder Technology). The former is available in twowheel drive manual form only, while the 150PS version can be specified with a manual 4x4

From Beige to Bold: Nissan’s New Micra

The new Nissan Micra supermini has finally been revealed. What was long seen as the ‘go to’ car for OAPs now has the ability to shake things up a bit. While previous versions have never made much of an impact in a sector dominated by the Ford Fiesta and the Volkswagen Polo, this new model promises big improvements. Could it be the one to shake up the market? Targeted for Europe, the world’s largest hatchback market, the Micra Gen5 is styled to rock zimmer frames, with a dramatic body length-defining character line. It is lower, wider and longer than its predecessors and has more interior space. It also has advanced new downsized turbo drivetrains, an agile chassis and a full complement of innovative safety features – perfect for driving over 30mph.

transmission, two-wheel drive DSG and 4x4 DSG. The range-topping 2.0 TSI petrol unit delivers 180PS and drives through a seven-speed DSG 4x4 transmission. The diesel line-up features a pair of 2.0 TDI units with outputs of 150PS and 190PS. The 150PS version can be specified with a manual 4x4 transmission, two-wheel drive DSG and 4x4 DSG, while the 190PS unit is fitted with a seven-speed DSG 4x4 transmission only.

Thoughts First impressions suggest that the Kodiaq has managed to hit the sweet spot between family estate, MPV and SUV. My only concern is that it will be too big for buyers, psychologically perhaps. With buyers obsessing over Nissan Juke sized crossovers and the like, is the prospect of a seven-seat SUV with the biggest boot in its class just too much? I hope not, as this is a fantastic car that’s stylish, capable and crucially affordable.

“When the first Micra appeared more than 30 years ago, it marked a revolution in the small hatchback segment and opened a new chapter for Nissan. The fifth generation Micra is just as revolutionary, and will raise expectations for what a hatchback can, and should, deliver to its customers,” said Carlos Ghosn, CEO, Nissan Motor Company. He continued; “Following in the wheel tracks of distinctive cars like Qashqai and Juke, the latest Micra reinforces Nissan’s position as a leader in automotive design. It also shows our intent to compete right at the top

of Europe’s B-segment market – the largest and most competitive B-segment market in the world.” With the launch of the new vehicle, Nissan announced a revolutionary digital shared car ownership service, distancing the new Micra further from its pensioner image. ‘Nissan Intelligent Get & Go Micra’, revealed by Nissan Chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn at the Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, will give people the possibility to part-own a brand new Nissan Micra. The service uses the new Nissan Micra Acenta 0.9O MT and will include insurance, servicing, access to the online matching tool, smartphone app and in-car technology. Communities will need to agree upon an annual mileage limit of 15,000 km. The new Nissan Micra will be built in Europe at the Renault plant in Flins, France, as part of the Renault Nissan Alliance. Sales will start in Europe from March 2017. No pricing data has been released yet but don’t expect it to cost much more than the current model. This means entry-level versions could cost from as little as £8,000 rising to £14,000 for top-spec versions. In other news, Nissan has launched a powerful new larger-capacity diesel engine for its flagship X-Trail crossover. The 2.0-litre unit is available to order now, available from £29,095 MSRP.


Coming to a Showroom Near You! Here we look at some of the most highly anticipated cars arriving in 2017, or at least rumoured to be. 2016 has been a great year for new cars, but the new year looks to be even better with numerous new models scheduled to come onto the market. The surge of new SUVs is set to continue in the next few years as all the manufacturers scramble for a share of the rapidly-growing sector, but there’s also a range of new superminis, hatchbacks and family cars on our best new car list. BMW 3 Series

to have the same 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine as the outgoing model, although tuned for better performance. I should’ve put this lower down in the list. Alfa Romeo Stelvio Unveiled at November’s LA Motor Show, Alfa Romeo will fill the SUV gap in its range with the beautiful new Stelvio. Inspired by the Giulia, the Stelvio will have a UK starting price of £35,000 when it goes on sale.

A new 3 Series is always big news, especially for fleet driving execs, but artist’s renderings of the seventhgeneration model show more evolution than revolution, which is fair, as it’s a tried and tested successful formula, but it’s not overly exciting. BMW will, however, produce an all-electric version to rival the upcoming Tesla Model 3.

Audi Q5 This latest Q5 has taken major design cues from the Q7, just scaled down. The bold Audi grille and slightly sharper edges are the only real visual changes, but it’s inside that Audi has made strides, with this model adopting the latest Audi Virtual Cockpit. Citroen C3

Nissan Juke Nissan is set to unveil a secondgeneration version of its cash cow Juke crossover in 2017. As the image shows, signature high-mounted headlights will most likely remain, while Nissan’s new corporate face will be carried over from the latest Qashqai and Micra. Renault Koleos The third model in Renault’s SUV range arrives in 2017 after a long wait. With Renault’s new signature face bearing close resemblance to the latest Megane, the Koleos will be sold only as a five seater. It’s the largest SUV that Renault has offered, and builds on the Nissan Renault alliance as the Koleos is based upon the X-Trail, no bad thing. Civic Type R

Whilst not a fan of the latest Mk 10 Civic, and even though the current Civic Type R was launched last year, Honda is set to launch this all new version in 2017. It’s set


Citroen recently promised that it would never produce another boring car, and the C3 is excellent evidence of that. Putting French fun and flair back into the hatchback segment, line this up against the new Fiesta or Polo and they look awfully mundane. With Citroen’s signature airbumps down the side of the car and narrow LED driving lamps, I’m saying it… this car is cool as. Land Rover Discovery The 2017 Land Rover Discovery is shaping up to be one of next year’s most anticipated cars. Land Rover has taken its rugged off-roader and pushed it a little further upmarket with a fluid new shape and luxurious cabin. The new design reflects that of the latest Disco Sport, but is due to be just as, if not more capable off road thanks to the All-Terrain Progress Control and the latest Terrain Response system.

Kia GT

Kia is preparing an all-new GT-style saloon for next year, with a coupe styled look in addition to handling dynamics designed to take on BMW and Audi alike. Based on the brand’s GT4 Stinger concept (pictured), the car is slated to be priced from £23,000 – an exciting prospect to shake up the current segment. Ford Fiesta At the time of writing, the latest Fiesta has yet to be revealed. However, with it being the best-selling car in the UK, there’s no way we could leave it off the list. There is a huge amount of pressure on the all-new supermini to deliver when it hits showrooms early next year. It’s set to move upmarket, with the brand launching the new Ka+ to fill the cheap hatch brief. The Fiesta will feature a more premium feel and a new infotainment system comprising a touchscreen display and prices are due to start from £13,000. Your move, Volkswagen. Volvo XC60 Designed to sit in the middle of Volvo’s three-model SUV line-up (with an XC40 arriving later), the Audi Q5 rival will adopt the best bits from the larger XC90, but condense them into a smaller and more affordable package. What’s not to love? The XC60 will feature brand’s signature Thor’s Hammer LED headlamps and muscular standing. Following the launch in 2017, Volvo will introduce the all-new S60 saloon and V60 estate, and at the end of 2017 a new, even smaller XC40 SUV will arrive to complete the trio of SUVs.


CAR OF THE YEAR 2016 Best small car

John Mulholland Motors Ltd 028 7181 1199

CAR OF THE YEAR 2016 Best estate car

Unit 7 Campsie Business Park, Campsie, Co. Londonderry

Official fuel consumption for the ŠKODA range in mpg (litres/100km): Urban 31.4 (9.0) to 72.4 (3.9); Extra Urban 45.6 (6.2) to 88.3 (3.2); Combined 39.2 (7.2) to 80.7 (3.5). CO2 emissions for the ŠKODA range are 164 to 90 g/km. Standard EU test figures are for comparative purposes and may not reflect real driving results.

The Death of the Executive Fat Cat Ryan Williams, Connected Talent I’m not sure if anyone else has noticed in the last 24 months across the North West – I think we may have more performance gyms, studios, physical training, boxercise, circuit classes, free weights, lifestyle programmes and everything else within that broad category of sausage roll dodging and generally a more ‘intense approach’ to exercise and diet. Transformation Programmes have also grown in number and complexity with names like ‘T25’ ‘Insanity’ (you do look mildly insane whilst doing this in front of a laptop with the family laughing from behind the door …speaking from experience) and the ‘Amazing 12’. They are the new ‘coffee shops’ of our high streets, industrial parks, garages and community centres. As a talent business we have had to embrace the phenomenon in a multitude of ways. We actually have a number of our flagship Executive clients who actively ask us to source senior level staff who are clearly actively passionate about their physical fitness, and bring a physical performance approach into the professional aspects of their life. Increasingly the separation between this physical and professional approach is marginal or non-existent because those ‘in the know’ realise the two things are intrinsically linked. Furthermore, and here comes the science bit, a recent study from the team at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois reveals the connection between brain activation, cardiorespiratory fitness, and executive function in older adults, finding that dual-task processing in a core executive function brain region is associated with higher cardiorespiratory fitness and dual-task performance. Shocker. Within our own business every one of our now 15 strong workforce are invested in some form of generally fairly advanced health and fitness programme – all are gym members, some are advanced athletes and some have even engaged in some of our locally Northern Ireland developed transformation programmes like the ‘A12’… no guesses in terms of the ‘victim’ who volunteered for this one. Incidentally, the Amazing 12 Body Transformation Program was developed in Belfast by the renowned strength coach and fitness entrepreneur Paul McIlroy – quite simply local talent spotting this as an early developing trend and now an NI export success with over 70 accredited Amazing 12 coaches all across the globe. Critically the Connected Talent fitness fervour was not driven by mandate or even direct encouragement… it simply spread like some form of all encompassing performance wildfire! It’s no great surprise we have just had our most profitable and productive quarter since we established the business two years ago. Is the era of the corporate fat cat dead and buried? It may still be alive and well in Canary Wharf – but in our very own high-rise at Catalyst Inc, Derry the building and its precious cargo is looking lean and mean in these challenging times. So let’s get the runners on, sign up to that gym, within 10 yards of your house activate your Fitbit and let’s see just how performance focused the North West can become!



Tel: 082871 262379 or email

For further information contact Sinead McLaughlin, Londonderry Chamber of Commerce

09/07/2015 14:41

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Forfurther furtherinformation informationcontact contactSinead SineadMcLaughlin, McLaughlin,Londonderry LondonderryChamber ChamberofofCommerce Commerce For Tel:082871 082871262379 262379ororemail Tel:

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The Grand

Ballroom Our new extended and refurbished Grand Ballroom will be the largest and most prestigious function suite in the North West.

To be revealed, April 2017 Please contact Catrina Myers on or Call 028 7132 1066