CONNECTED Business Magazine

Page 1


June 2015

Issue 1


Export focus Economic Growth in the North West Business Culture and the Law

Tourism Selling the North West Home Grown – Local Produce

Education Apprenticeships at NWRC

Tax and Talent Peter Casey, Executive Chairman of Claddagh Resources and RTE Dragon talks about life, people and business



58 32 Contents 8 Derry City and Strabane District Council A new beginning and vision for the future

11 Dungloe 2020 Vision Randox Teoranta

12 Letterkenny Chamber Toni Forrester, Chief Executive of Letterkenny Chamber, on the wild journey to success

14 Seagate Dr Brian Burns, Vice President, tells the challenging journey of Seagate Springtown




Food Home Grown, Brian McDermott on local produce

Londonderry Chamber of Commerce Meet the Team



Cover Story Tax and Talent; Peter Casey, Executive Chairman of Claddagh Resources, talks business

Strabane Chamber of Commerce Keeping it in the Community


Motoring Which crossover car will steal the limelight?

Invest Northern Ireland Alastair Hamilton, Chief Executive Invest NI, on the economic growth in the North West

41 Export and Manufacturing Measuring for Success; Grosvenor Shirts


78 The Final Word Chief Executive, Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, Sinead McLaughlin

45 Economic Outlook Angela McGowan, Chief Economist, Danske Bank

58 CultureTECH Mark Nagurski, Chief Executive, CultureTECH plans huge fourth year


18 Retail to Manufacturer Noel Faller, Faller the Jeweller, tells us how his business has evolved

22 Tourism Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, on selling the North West around the World 5


Connected, Londonderry Chamber of Commerce’s full colour publication. Designed and produced by business people for business people. Distributed to businesses throughout the North West. President Gerry Kindlon Chief Executive Sinead McLaughlin Events Manager Anna Doherty Accounts, Administration & Export Documentation Carol Kelly Membership Officer Mary Miller Marketing & Events Coordinator Cathy Kerlin


Connected Welcome to our very first edition of Connected, the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce’s business magazine. For anyone in business I’m sure that you’ll know that a vital aspect of any business is connecting to those within your industry and locality. It is therefore apt that this brand new magazine is entitled Connected. The Chamber has a clear vision, to be ‘at the heart of a creative, innovative, competitive and confident region’ and through this magazine we highlight all that is great about the North West.

Editor Jackie Logan

This first issue brings a unique insight into business in the North West and that of the Chamber members and their businesses. We feature an array of companies, news, views in addition to exploring the world of export, tourism and education, as well as the new council spelling out its vision for the future.

Editorial Assistants Aaron Devine Darryl Campbell

Our feature story is one of people and entrepreneurism. Peter Casey, Executive Chairman of Claddagh Resources and RTE Dragon, talks about success and failure, the future of education and the issue of tax.

Content Editors Sinead McLaughlin Carol Kelly

The Derry Chamber is the largest business network in the region, which promotes strong business engagement to support the development, growth and sustained economic viability of Chamber members and the wider business community of the North West. Through this magazine we intend to showcase just that.

Connected Magazine

e: Production & Design Browne Printers Ltd Advertising Mary Miller Londonderry Chamber of Commerce

We highlight companies who are just getting on with daily business and doing it very well – you’ll be amazed at what is taking place in our region! Enjoy the magazine and stay connected. Jackie Logan Editor

t: 02871262379 w: Follow us on: Front Cover Picture Stephen Latimer 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.


Chamber Patrons and Corporte Sponsors



MESSAGE It is time for a new start – one that delivers for the whole North West region. The Londonderry Chamber of Commerce is playing its part in that new start with the publication of our own CONNECTED magazine and this is the first issue. We want to showcase all that Derry and the wider North West region has to offer. The North West economic corridor covers Donegal right through to the Sperrins. It is a large region that contains two jurisdictions, two currencies and a rich variety of economically successful businesses and industries. We have rich assets that we want to utilise and so help us to develop our existing businesses, attract investors and enhance the quality of lives for all of our citizens. As you turn the pages of this magazine, I hope you will celebrate the success of our businesses and be inspired by the positive work that is taking place right on our doorstep. I want our members and the businesses in the region to see what connects us – not what divides us. We want to do business together, grow a stronger economic proposition and form strong collaborative networks that help us to work more effectively at moving our economy forward. I am proud to have played a small part in this first publication, but I would like to thank the editorial team that brought together this publication. In particular, I would like to pay tribute to Jackie Logan as editor of CONNECTED. Jackie is a member of the Londonderry Chamber and she runs her own PR Company, Naked PR. She brought a vast amount of experience to the table and guided the Editorial Team in delivering a publication that the North West region can be proud of. Gerry Kindlon, President

Chamber Board Members are: President Officer - Vice-President Officer - Deputy Vice-President Officer - Past President Officer - CEO Board Member


Gerry Kindlon Seagate Technology Gavin Killeen Nuprint Technologies George Fleming Fleming Agri-Products Ltd Philip Gilliland Caldwell & Robinson Solicitors Sinead McLaughlin Londonderry Chamber of Commerce Padraig Canavan U4D Ian Crowe CPC Office Supplies Ltd Roy Devine City of Derry Airport Paul Diamond Diamond Corrugated Andrew Ferris Smalltown America Andrew Fleming Fleming Steel Christopher Gray Junior Chamber President Tracy Hegarty Women In Enterprise Steven Lindsay Moore Stephens Bradley McDaid Accountants Niall McCaughan The Playhouse Jennifer McKeever Airporter Donna Moran Morans Retail Group Georgina O’Leary Allstate Northern Ireland

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Derry City and Strabane District Council

A new beginning

and vision for the future John Kelpie – Chief Executive On April 1st 2015, the new Derry City and Strabane District Council opened for business with a clear vision of a thriving, prosperous and sustainable City and Region with equality of opportunity for all. The 4th largest City region on the island of Ireland and home to 147,720 citizens, the new Council area comprises the historic and vibrant City of Derry and busy market town of Strabane, the outstanding rural areas of natural beauty of the Faughan, Glenelly and Derg Valleys and extends from the villages of Eglinton, Park and Claudy in the north and east to Newtownstewart and Castlederg in the south and west. The new Council will now lead and deliver on a range of additional and enhanced functions and powers transferring from Central Government including Planning, Economic Development and Tourism, Physical Regeneration, Community Development and Off-Street Car-Parking. In the biggest shake-up of the organisation and delivery of public services in Northern Ireland in over 40 years, Council will use these new powers together with its existing responsibilities to promote growth and investment in the area. Additionally with the new statutory responsibility to lead on Community Planning together with the power of General Competence, the new Council has the opportunity to be more flexible and innovative in how it responds to the changing and emerging needs of its local citizens and businesses.


Derry City and Strabane District Council aims to explore and exploit the transformative potential of these new powers and functions to drive forward and deliver on its vision through the improved and sustained economic, environmental and social regeneration and well-being of its City and District, its people and local businesses. It sets out to do this by delivering more efficient and effective services, by focussing on outcomes and by being more responsive to local needs, by promoting innovation and striving for excellence, by reducing duplication and delivering savings and efficiencies to finance and sustain job creation opportunities and initiatives. In collaboration with other statutory agencies and government departments Council will work in partnership with the private sector to create a City and region which is business friendly and enabled, well linked and connected and with a highly-trained workforce. It seeks to drive employment levels, increase GVA, address economic and social imbalance and inequality and ensure that this region realises its full economic potential becoming a net contributor to the wider economy.

The Strategic Objectives of the new Council are aligned to the key priorities of the emerging new Community Plan and include:

elivering on an ambitious Capital Development D programme of leisure, environmental and community facilities, tourism and visitor attractions

eading and delivering on the primary objectives L of job creation and promotion, business support, skills development, and enhancing enterprise, creativity and competitiveness

eveloping sustainable resource and waste D management plans and delivering high quality environmental services

riving economic development, rural regeneration D and regional infrastructure provision xploiting the regenerative, cultural and economic E benefit of the arts and tourism riving physical, environmental and heritage-led D regeneration

To deliver on its vision and achieve its objectives Council has structured its activities into three new outcomes and delivery focussed Directorates – Business and Culture, Environment and Regeneration, and Health and Community - with this structure reflected at political level by three corresponding committees of the new 40 Elected Member Council to promote efficient decision-making. A range of strategic cross-cutting support functions drive continuous improvement and performance, good governance, financial management and staff development. To aid transparency, openness and encourage participation in the democratic process, committee meetings are open to the public and rotate on a monthly basis between Derry and Strabane.

romoting and protecting public health and P working with key partners to address the causes of poor health and reduce health inequalities I mproving social and community cohesion, regeneration and well-being and developing safer, confident, engaged and sustainable communities

The new Council is also driving the agenda at regional level working to promote and foster a North West perspective on growth and competitiveness through a strategic and co-ordinated inter-jurisdictional partnership with Donegal County Council and central government in Belfast and Dublin. So the message is clear – your business growth and development is Council’s business. The Council is working in partnership at local, regional and national level to drive and promote the City and region’s shared agenda of sustained growth and investment. In the development of its strategic and Community Planning processes it needs local businesses to be actively involved. Be part of those plans, have your say and contact us today! 11

Cross-border working

at the heart of Donegal County Council’s activities Donegal is located in the very north west of the island and along with the Derry City and Strabane Council area forms the North West Border region.

Donegal County Council has worked in close collaboration with all sectors over the past decade in the context of the Donegal County Development Board and the Donegal Integrated Strategy for Economic, Social and Cultural Development. This has seen significant advances in a number of key sectors including Tourism, the Green Economy, the Culture/ Creative Economy and Enterprise and Skills development. Since the launch of this strategy in 2002, there has been substantial progress in the area of tourism with investment in a number of flagship projects including Sliabh Liag, Malin Head, Inch Levels and Fanad Head Lighthouse.

Top photo: Donegal Tourism App - Recently launched Donegal Tourism App providing all the information a visitor needs to make their holiday in Donegal a wonderful and memorable experience. Donegal Tourism Launch - Well known television personality Gay Byrne launched the Donegal Tourism brochure and app recently at Glenveagh Castle


A co-ordinated approach has also been adopted in the marketing and promotion of Donegal as a tourist location through Donegal Tourism Ltd. Donegal Tourism is a collaborative body made up of Donegal County Council, key tourism agencies and the tourism trade. It has been producing top quality tourism marketing material and marketing campaigns and initiatives over the last number of years. Donegal has also benefited from significant inward investment in recent years with companies such as Pramerica, United Healthcare, E&I Engineering, Randox Teoranta

and Zeus all choosing to locate in the county. In all of its development, Donegal seeks to reach out and engage with its global community through the work of the Donegal Diaspora Project. This project is about developing strong relationships with many of the Donegal diaspora in various parts of the world through a range of unique and innovative initiatives. With Donegal’s strategic northwest location, cross-border working is at the heart of all the Council’s activities. It works in close partnership with Derry City and Strabane District Council across all sectors working to achieve greater access, connectivity and investment in health and education.

Dungloe2020 Vision Randox Teoranta


ituated on the rugged and beautiful Wild Atlantic Way, is something that you wouldn’t expect to find; nestled between the hills and shoreline lies a world leading life science and engineering research and manufacturing centre; at the very cutting-edge of human healthcare. This advanced facility, in the fishing village of Dungloe, is part of global biotechnology firm Randox and what its scientists aim to achieve in Donegal is no less awe-inspiring than the breath taking natural surroundings. “Our purpose, is to improve the quality of life and save lives, through step-changes in diagnostics. We want to improve the ability to both predict and detect disease at the earliest possible stage, to prompt timely and effective treatment. This will greatly improve patient outcomes and save valuable healthcare resources. We will achieve this by combining scientific advances with new technologies”, says Dr Peter FitzGerald, Randox Managing Director, “Our facility in Dungloe – Randox Teoranta, is pivotal to this, here the focus is on developing tests for the early diagnosis of kidney and liver disease as well as pioneering research into Alzheimer’s disease”. A team of life scientists are at work in the centre’s state-of-the-art laboratories, but it is also developing as a hub for the very latest in related mechanical, electrical and software engineering. Dungloe teams


are active in the design and manufacture of Randox’s internationally renowned laboratory analysers, including its award winning Biochip Array Technology; a world first that allows many complex tests to be conducted quickly and simultaneously. Around 80 people are currently employed at Randox Teoranta, but the company has announced an ambitious expansion programme that will see this figure rise to 540 by 2020. This final figure will include 180 research scientists and engineers, 270 manufacturing posts and 90 support staff covering a variety of functions including, marketing, logistics, finance and administration. With the support of Údarás na Gaeltachta, the firm is investing a further €25m in plant, equipment and building works over the next five years. “Our strategy for Randox Dungloe 2020 is a strong demonstration of our dedication to the region,” says Dr FitzGerald, “it indicates our commitment to Randox Teoranta as an integral part of our future plans. This is a visionary project with the power to transform the high-value knowledge economy of the region and we are excited by its potential. Our key message is one of partnership, harnessing the power of the community and the diaspora is the key to helping this company grow.” 13


TO SUCCESS Toni Forrester, Chief Executive of Letterkenny Chamber outlines the future for business


ver the last seven years there have been extreme challenges to the business community in Letterkenny and across County Donegal. The majority of businesses in this region operate in the domestic economy and they felt a very strong and rapid impact from the recession. There were many casualties along the way, and the collapse of the construction industry – a sector that offered much work to young people in the County – left many unemployed and with few opportunities due to a lack of education and skills. Countless others of course emigrated to find work in Canada, Australia and elsewhere, the effects of which were most firmly felt in rural towns and villages. Although this situation was not unique to the North West, there has always been a dearth of investment in Donegal and its geographical remoteness from the island’s commercial centres made it seem even more economically isolated. However as we now emerge from that turbulent period we see a leaner, more efficient private sector; one comprised of local companies that are being innovative, proactive and embracing of change in order to create a new future for themselves. They have adapted to new methods of promoting their businesses, invested in new skills and technology, and developed new working practices to manage costs.

New companies with worldwide reach We have also seen the emergence of a small number of IT businesses. They are gradually gaining in significance and forming a digital hub in Letterkenny that is supported by LYIT, CoLab and the newly built North West Science Park. These young entrepreneurs are creating



world-class products and services, and are starting to export worldwide. Having chosen to set up their organisations in the North West, these business owners see few barriers to growing their enterprise from this base. They also value the quality of life that can be enjoyed by their employees and their families in this part of the world. On a larger scale, major FDI companies have continued to invest over the last number of years, and now employ over 2000 people from across the region. These businesses also give much back to the community through local sourcing and voluntary efforts. In order to flourish, these companies, and the SMEs that are planning future growth, need the right skills to move forward. Many work closely with LYIT to develop courses that feed directly into what they require, giving them a pool of skilled labour and enabling many people to re-train and further their employability.

On the map A key driver for the North West economy, and something that is catching the whole business community’s imagination, is the tourism potential offered by the Wild Atlantic Way initiative. Donegal is deservedly being put on the map and is now marketed worldwide as a must-see destination, playing host to three of the 10 signature points along the longest coastal route in the world. So having come through the toughest time that many can remember we are seeing an emerging business community that is more open to change, that has found novel ways of doing business and that is responsive to new opportunities. They have taken on major challenges, survived and are ready for the next adventure.

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MONREAGH HERITAGE CENTRE Sitting opposite one of the oldest Presbyterian churches in Ireland, Monreagh Heritage Centre contains a wealth of information about the Plantation of Ulster to the present day. A nearby inscribed commemoration stone marks the site where the first Ulster Scots congregation of Donegal worshipped. There can be no doubt of the importance of the Laggan district in the wider history of these islands. Ancient remains remind us that from the earliest times the people of the Laggan have played key roles in the most momentous events in Irish History. The Centre contains four themed exhibition rooms, each dedicated to a particular period of history. The Living History Garden contains exhibits that remind visitors of the architecture, and agricultural industries of the past. Visitors can view a Round House, Plantation Cottage, Forge and Flax patch. Visitors will appreciate the picturesque, unspoiled landscape of the Lowlands of Donegal.

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Challenging Journey

of Seagate Springtown

Dr Brian Burns, Vice President writes for CONNECTED To establish a highly complex nanotechnology facility in a region still struggling from the demise of its formerly thriving shirt making industry may have seemed an odd choice for Seagate back in 1993. Clearly, however, the choice was a good one. The growth and evolution of the facility over the last 22 years must rank it as one of the province’s most successful foreign direct investments of the last few decades. That Derry-Londonderry is open for business and able to deliver at the very highest level, certainly provides a level of confidence to others contemplating the establishment of a business in the region. However, it takes more than a supportive business environment to run a thriving organisation and Seagate’s journey since 1993 has taught us valuable lessons that all businesses—large, small and anywhere in between— can draw upon. Let’s set the context first. The original proposal for Seagate’s Recording Head Operations in Springtown was a maximum headcount of 500 people, providing supplementary manufacturing support for our sister facility in Minnesota. Today, there are 1,400 employees working in a facility that produces 70 percent of Seagate’s recording head requirements and approximately 25 percent of the entire world’s demand for this complex component. Even more significant is the fact that the site now boasts a research and development group of nearly 100 highly qualified engineers tasked with designing cutting-edge future technologies and products. Why such an expansion of our original charter? The answer is simple—we earned it: by hiring excellent people who have consistently demonstrated their ability to innovate and to drive continuous improvement and efficiency; by investing in employees through training and development; by driving diversity, thus benefiting from a larger pool of ideas and experiences; and by nurturing mutually beneficial partnerships with further and higher education establishments—and influencing course content wherever possible. 16

Of course it must be acknowledged that Seagate Springtown benefits from the distinct advantage of being part of a large cash-rich organisation. It’s an indisputable fact that research and development requires financial investment—and we’ve been extremely fortunate to have been provided with the resources to build up a first class R&D group within our facility. But like everything else in life, it’s all relative. Small and medium sized enterprises—even those with a handful of employees—still have an obligation to invest in their staff and to future-proof their enterprises. Let’s think about that obligation for a moment. When we employ someone, it’s on the basis of a specific role which requires a certain set of knowledge, skills and abilities. However, if roles and responsibilities change—and they will—then it’s incumbent on us as employers to invest in our human capital by equipping employees for those changes. By doing so, we’ll be so much better positioned to adapt to the rapidly changing demands of tomorrow’s work environment. If we don’t, then we’ll have failed our employees and our business. Unfortunately, during periods of economic uncertainty, professional development can all too often become the casualty. Indeed, over the last several years there has been a dramatic decline in organisational employee development investiture. However the good news is that it’s not all about costly courses, hefty travel bills and tuition assistance programmes. For the last few years, Seagate Springtown, in partnership with North West Regional College, has been rolling out a

job enrichment programme focused on providing our operator workforce with new skillsets such as Business Improvement Techniques. This relatively low-cost programme is providing benefits that far outweigh the investment. For example, by empowering our employees, we’ve given them the confidence to identify and drive efficiency and process improvements from the shop floor up rather than from management down. This increased level of responsibility and control within our operators’ own sphere of work results in greater job satisfaction, improved career progression, and a sense of being a much more valued member of the team. And therein lies the crux of good employee development: make sure your people get a return for the training they engage in—even if it’s a set of transferable skills they end up using elsewhere. Just

feel proud that you played some small part in equipping them for the future. It’s been an interesting and often challenging journey for Seagate Springtown since we broke ground on our site back in 1993. The evolution of our facility—a fraction of which I’ve attempted to share in this publication— is positive proof that our corporate management team has faith in the Springtown team and in the North West region. We’ve proven that we have what it takes to play a vital role in the development of recording head technology now and in the future. And above all, we hope that our success in Derry-Londonderry will inspire other companies to follow our lead and invest in a city which is ready and able to do business on an international scale.


Survival as

an Entrepreneur Paul McElvaney, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Learning Pool, talks about Learning as a Service and how nearly ten years on the company is thriving.


often get asked about what it’s like to run a growing technology business in the northwest of Ireland. Given that we have only a few customers here, is it such a big challenge? Are your costs incredibly low? Do you do everything on the internet so location is irrelevant anyway? We founded Learning Pool in August 2006 at my kitchen table with views of Lough Foyle and my six-month-old daughter to inspire us. We didn’t know what we were in for but fast forward almost a decade and we’ve survived (the first rule of being an entrepreneur in my experience) and thrived to the extent that we are the biggest e-learning company in Northern Ireland and have an exciting plan for future growth.

though we’re still small compared to our competitors and we’ve used that to our advantage to hire people and win new business. We’ve also benefited enormously from local good will and are grateful to the people locally who’ve helped us get started and keep growing. Derry has attracted a new type of positive attention in recent years and inspirational events like City of Culture, Clipper and CultureTECH have certainly made us more ‘interesting’ to people on the outside. Derry’s reputation as an up and coming city really does help local businesses with customers spread across the world.

The answers to the questions I get asked are actually fairly boring. Growing a business in Derry over the last nine years has been a real challenge but the truth is it would have been regardless of where we, and our customers, were. Our location’s been a mixed bag of pros and cons but I hope Learning Pool and other companies like us prove that you can build and grow a great digital business in Northern Ireland’s second city.

We’re blessed at Learning Pool to have a great and loyal team. The thing I’ve found about people who are here, is that they are here because they want to be. Maybe because they were away and came back or because they moved here for the surf (like I did… not sure what happened that plan!) They know they’re lucky to have a great quality of life but also a fantastic career. In a technology world where skills are at an absolute premium, we’ve been lucky to have a long serving team that’s grown up with us and remain hungry for continued success.

We’ve found that it’s easy to build a high profile by being in Derry, even

Of course there are challenges. The 3.30am starts to get to client


meetings in London are painful and we hope that’ll get fixed with better roads and better connections. Despite what we sometimes say, even tech businesses need to get in front of customers to win the deal. In the early days our growth was restricted because we couldn’t hire enough people with the right skills. The skills shortage still impacts our business and that needs to be addressed. We recognise that it’s both a global problem and opportunity for Northern Ireland that the politicians will eventually get their heads around. Like most early stage businesses we also struggled with cash-flow as we got started because our business model, designed to be disruptive, didn’t generate the cash we needed to grow the business. Although there’s been a lot of improvement on that front recently, especially for creative and tech businesses, the missing link of properly functioning banks and private money puts businesses here at a disadvantage so we look forward to seeing that improving in the next few years. Meanwhile the Learning Pool business plan continues to be focused on sustainable growth from our base in Derry… and to get to the beach more often!

The New Monaco

welcome to the Derry Air Ryan Williams, business mentor and consultant, Ally Consulting tells us it’s time to dream big.

I have spent way too may hours on Ryanair flights over the last six years and have had the opportunity to visit and work in well over 40 cities across EMEA – a patch work quilt of urbanisation all with their own particular charms, experiences and ‘sells’ to the ever smaller global marketplace. Competition for inward investment is intense. The economy ‘blue bum’ travel syndrome does give you a first hand view of what cities across the region have to offer with some identifying niche propositions, others offering a ‘take all comers’ and many more incapable of communicating let alone ‘selling’ their FDI proposition. Equally many make the mistake of thinking that the state funded Investment Agencies are the only ones who can secure investment and location interest. The successful ones have long since realised that the FDI decision making process is driven and controlled to a large extent by the professional consultancy houses such as Deloitte, PWC, Buck, IBM, EY to name but a few. These consultancies work with corporates to inform, educate and create viable long lists of potential city locations for new projects, they assist in the selection of the final location and they help ‘justify’ the final choice for Fortune 500 boardrooms around the globe. The range of factors for becoming the golden goose of inward investment is many and varied. The more factors you can tick the higher your ‘goosiness’. There has been much talk about the 50,000 jobs to be created with the onset of a reduced corporate tax rate in NI. There is no doubt that a lower tax regime will assist us in delivering further inward investment but as a weighted factor on long list scoring by the FDI consultancy houses it ranks sixth or seventh at best. However think about this for just a second, the best country in the world per capita at attracting FDI

investment is Monaco. They have been market leaders in this endeavour for decades. A resident population of around 35,000 (including 10,000 Monegasque) with a further 120,000 coming into the country to work on a daily basis – in essence not much bigger than Derry. They have developed a formula based on coastal location, uniqueness, tourism, low tax, connectivity, (note the rail link was established in the late 19th Century) events, independence of policy and governance… all sounds a little familiar right? As funny as it might sound when I decided to set up our consultancy business, Ally Consulting, I didn’t immediately draw the comparison with the City. However the recent spell of early summer heat, a few runs along the Foyle, vibrant office space in the Science Park and strong support from just about every corner of the City you can just start to dream. We also have a massive advantage over Monaco – zero rush hour… an unusual phenomenon in any City. We are also a ‘tad’ more affordable, 44% of our workforce are under 40 and there is much less chance of reversing into a Ferrari. So that’s good. If we could crack just one high value economic and educational niche I think we would have it made. Create a large ecology of appropriate niche tech talent (by that I mean a 15,000 strong employee base) and businesses and the City will have it made for at least two generations. Other cities have done it with much less to offer. It’s time for the Derry Air. Lets dream bigger.


Retailer to Manufacturer Noel Faller of Faller the Jeweller in Derry talks to Connected Magazine editor Jackie Logan about how his business has evolved over the years.


alking inside where many of the distinctive original features of this Victorian building remains, your eyes are caught by the wondrous glass cases full of sparkle and shine, and you might be mistaken to think you have come across Aladdin’s cave. Noel Faller is third generation ‘Faller the Jeweller’, his grandfather, William Faller, emigrated from Germany to Ireland in 1878. He had the current premises on the Strand Road purpose built and it opened it in 1904. The understated elegance of the shop belies the warren of industry taking up the other two floors. Modern machinery including lasers, lathes and casting equipment are combined with traditional handcrafting techniques by dedicated goldsmiths to create the range of jewellery that is exclusive to Faller. Mr Faller explains; “I’ve been in this business for some 40 years, my father before that and my grandfather too. The shop and therefore the business have dramatically changed over the years.” “I realised in the 90s since branding had taken the world by storm that we needed to do something different. To increase the individuality and choice available to our customers we began designing and making our own jewellery. This area of our business has expanded considerably over the years to the extent that in 2007 I decided to phase out watch retailing completely. With so many processes such as casting and stone setting all done inhouse our Faller jewellery certainly is ‘Proudly Made In Derry’. Our business is completely vertically integrated, from concept and design, through manufacture to sales.” “Before settling on a design such as the High Crosses of Inishowen, we take our time to research the subject matter, ensuring we learn all we can


about the origin and history so that our interpretations are as accurate as possible. To pass on this knowledge to our customers we then created descriptive leaflets. Each piece really does have a story to tell,” continued Noel Faller. “While the range of collections continues to grow the core of our business remains Bridal jewellery. Engagement, wedding and eternity rings are the pieces most cherished by their owners. Our quality of materials and manufacture, attention to detail, exclusive Faller designs and custom design service all contribute to making our rings highly desirable.”


A third generation family business, Noel has created an exceptional business model that works. “All of this has come about by allowing the business to evolve. The market has changed and we had to change with it. We continually reinvest in Faller. In the last 10 years a quarter of a million pounds was spent on equipment, training and skills, and I am continually looking at new innovations in equipment to give my staff the best opportunity to continue to design and manufacture unique products.” With a long history reaching back to the late 19th Century it would seem everyone is aware of Faller the Jeweller. Their signature large golden teapot, which hangs outside the shop, was originally created in 1866 to advertise another business. After acquiring it in 1974, it was only after the detailed restoration of the 23-carat gold, leaf gilded copper pot that it returned to adorn the streets of Derry. Without a doubt business continues to flourish due to Noel Faller’s innovation and originality. He may just have found Aladdin’s lamp in that beautiful Victorian Building and had his wish.

Limavady Electronics Company Recognised for

Outstanding Innovation


imavady based company Arbarr Electronics, a High Tech SME specialising in Energy Storage Systems, has been commended for its achievement in InterTradeIreland’s FUSION programme and awarded with a ‘Project Exemplar’ for outstanding innovation. The technology transfer and innovation programme (FUSION), partners companies north and south with a third-level institution and provides them with the specialist expertise of a high calibre graduate who works directly in the organisation to deliver a new product or process improvement project. Through the Programme, Arbarr Electronics has benefited from the services of Institute of Technology, Tallaght and graduate Paul Doherty. On receiving the award, James McCorley, Managing Director of Arbarr Electronics said, “The InterTradeIreland FUSION project helped us

immensely to work on the production of a portable LiFe-PO4 Battery Powered Standby System and allowed us to bring it to the market quickly. The result has strengthened Arbarr’s position in the market and broadens our range of products that will increase sales with existing and new customers.” “John Byrne the academic from Institute of Technology, Tallaght was vital to our project. The use of IT, Tallaght’s technical equipment was integral to the research for the development of our products. John’s extensive research and passion for this area of the industry has been both inspirational and extremely helpful. I would recommend the FUSION project to SMEs because it enabled our company to hire a highly qualified graduate who, with the support of the academic, was the driving force behind this project.”

CHARTERED DIRECTOR PROGRAMME The Institute of Directors (“IoD”) sets the standards for leadership in the UK and Ireland. Our highly acclaimed Chartered Director Programme is designed to ensure that the directors of today and tomorrow from all sectors can contribute effectively to major organisation-wide decisions. With a current all-Ireland annual demand for around 120 places, we are clearly the leader in our market segment – and all 6 current cohorts were oversubscribed. We offer 12½ days of face-to-face tuition over nine months including five two-day residentials on the themes of • Role of the Director and the Board • Strategy and Marketing • Finance

• Leadership and Change • Developing Board Performance

Our programme leads to the IoD Certificate (“Cert IoD”) and Diploma (“Dip IoD”) – afterwards we help many go on to become Chartered Directors – the “gold standard” for professional directors in the UK and Ireland and increasingly adopted worldwide. We draw upon the IoD’s unrivalled resources – approved facilitators who work internationally and understand the implementation issues rather than simply the theory, state-of-the-art programme materials and highly accessible on-line support. The modules are delivered in an engaging, enjoyable style. Aimed at busy people there are no tedious assignments or dissertations. There are however our delegates well-prepared, Skips and two all exams, sizesforofwhich wheeled bins are catered for. consistently excelling in terms of both pass-rate and number of Distinctions. The opportunities for networking and peer learning, during the programme and in our local Alumni group, feature highly in delegate feedback. The next Northern Ireland programme starts on 15/16 Sept 2015 and finishes in June 2016. If the local dates for a particular session do not suit we have alternatives in Dublin. Some financial support towards fees may be available. For details and9c, endorsements call Peter MartinEstate, on 028 9064 1131 or email PS: it’s fun too! Unit Newbuildings Industrial Derry-Londonderry BT47 2SX


Cross Concrete Flooring Ltd Manufacturers & Suppliers of:

Cross Concrete Flooring Ltd is a family business owned and managed by father and son team, John and Stephen Harkin. Based in the North West of Ireland it was established to satisfy a niche in the market place for a fast flexible and personal service to the building industry.

- Homefloor Flooring Established in January 2005, Precast we pride ourselves on our extensive experience within the precast concrete - Prestressed flooring industry. We currently supply to both the UK and Irish market place and our efficient and Hollowcore reliable service ensures that all new customers become We are accredited with ISO 9001 Quality Management, Flooring repeat clients. ISO 14001 Environmental Management and OHSAS We have extensive experience in the design and 18001 Health and Safety Management systems. - Precast Concrete production of precast flooring units and prestressed Our products are certified with the CE mark for the Stairs flooring units. We also supply precast stairs and conformity of production control 1333-CPR-00163 associated landings. Bespoke precast items including and constancy of performance of the standards: EN 1168:2005/A3:2011, EN 12737:2004/A1:2007, EN balconies and terrace units-areBespoke available to order. 14843:2007 In response to market demand Cross Concrete Precast Items Cross Concrete Flooring Ltd are very fortunate to Flooring Ltd have expanded into the agricultural celebrate their 10 years in business and would like Agricultural Products sector. Cattle slats, mixing-slats, precast beams, head to head cubicles, single cubicles and drinkers are now available in our product range.

to take this opportunity to thank their staff some of which are with the company from its inception. We would also like to thank our loyal client base and our suppliers who we are grateful to for their continued support and loyalty.



O 90


URS is a member of Registrar of Standards (Holdings) Ltd.









URS is a member of Registrar of Standards (Holdings) Ltd.

15 Fawney Road, Cross, Drumahoe


O 14001


& Suppliers of:

• Homefloor Precast Flooring & Suppliers of: - Homefloor • Prestressed Hollowcore Flooring Precast Flooring - Homefloor - Prestressed • Precast Concrete StairsPrecast Flooring Hollowcore - Prestressed • Bespoke Precast Items Flooring - Precast Concrete Hollowcore • Agricultural Products Stairs Flooring - Bespoke - Precast Concrete Specialists in Precast Concrete Flooring Precast Items Stairs - Agricultural Products 15 Fawney Road, Cross, Drumahoe Co Derry, BT47 3NB - Bespoke Tel: 028 7130 1488 / Fax: 028 7130 2219 Specialists in Precast Precast Items Email: Concrete FlooringProducts - Agricultural Web: 22


Manufacturers & Suppliers of: Manufacturers Manufacturers



Tel: 028 7130 1488 / Fax: 028 7130 2219 Email: Web:



15 Fawney Road, Cross, Drumahoe Co Derry, BT47 3NB


Specialists in Precast Concrete Flooring

We also supply our own “Cross 2000 gallon liquid storage tank”. This unique tank can be adapted for use in the residential, agricultural and commercial sectors.

A S 1 80

URS is a member of Registrar of Standards (Holdings) Ltd.

New Waste Transfer Station at Newbuildings Local company, RiverRidge Recycling, has further complemented their existing operation by modernising the newly acquired site at Newbuildings, DerryLondonderry. With added recent investment RiverRidge Recycling will be able to boost the company’s efficiency and competitiveness, increasing their accessibility in the Northwest. Increasing efficiency is key to RiverRidge, not only to maintain their effectiveness, but also to pass on these benefits to their many customers, and ensure that they are the ‘go to’ for a competitively priced, complete waste management solution. The work is near completion with the shed having been replaced with a fit for purpose 25,000 sq. ft. building, which includes a reception, an office and welfare and

canteen facilities. The new waste transfer station will also allow for the segregation of incoming waste and will have automated fast closing doors to ensuring all waste received on site is enclosed within the building. This site at Newbuildings will be a cleaner, more efficient site thus ensuring it is a viable and environmentally friendly part of their North West business. RiverRidge Recycling is looking to the future, continually growing and expanding to become the market leader, and the one stop shop for all waste management solutions in the Northwest.

028 7134 7788 028 7086 8844

Unit 9c, Newbuildings Industrial Estate, Londonderry BT47 2SX


Tourism ireland SELLING THE NORTH WEST AROUND THE WORLD CEO Niall Gibbons sets out some highlights of Tourism Ireland’s busy promotional programme Tourism Ireland is responsible for promoting Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland around the world as a premier holiday and business tourism destination. Priority markets are Great Britain, the United States, Germany and France, which together deliver the majority of our overseas visitors. Our promotional activity is also under way in a further 18 markets across the world, including northern and southern Europe, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the Middle East, as well as in key markets of the future like China, India, Russia and Brazil. The North West features prominently in Tourism Ireland’s global marketing activity.

Last year, we welcomed an estimated 1.8 million overseas visitors to Northern Ireland, delivering revenue of some £508 million to the Northern Ireland economy. Following a successful 2014, ambitious targets have been set for 2015. For Tourism Ireland, this year is about delivering further growth and building on new levels of awareness of Northern Ireland. And, I am pleased to report that sentiment from our tourism partners about 2015 is largely optimistic – underpinned by a +10% increase in capacity on air services for the peak summer months, including new routes to Belfast from Amsterdam (with KLM) and from Barcelona (with Vueling).

The Wild Atlantic Way and Causeway Coastal Route

CMC Photography

The Wild Atlantic Way and the Causeway Coastal Route continue to be a major focus of Tourism Ireland’s promotional activity around the globe in 2015. Both routes are being promoted across a range of platforms including TV, print and online advertising; on and through social media channels; at major international consumer and trade fairs; through familiarisation visits for influential travel agents, tour operators, as well as travel and lifestyle journalists and bloggers from around the world; and through Tourism Ireland’s promotional material – our market guides and brochures.


Showcasing the North West to influential media Working with influential overseas travel, lifestyle and special interest media is an important element of our overseas promotional programme. Tourism Ireland invites journalists and bloggers from around the world to come and visit this part of the island each year, so they will encourage prospective holidaymakers to come here, through their articles, broadcasts or blogs. Some examples of international exposure for the North West include: ■■


I TV has been showcasing the spectacular Wild Atlantic Way to millions of viewers – or potential holidaymakers – across GB this spring, in a new, six-part series called Wild Ireland, presented by Northern Irelandborn television presenter, Christine Bleakley. The spectacular scenery of Malin Head, Sliabh League and Rossnowlagh have featured. ne of America’s most respected travel gurus, Rudy Maxa, broadcast O his prime-time radio show, Rudy Maxa’s World, live across the United States from the Guildhall in Derry, towards the end of 2014. More than 700,000 listeners tuned in, on 170 local radio stations in the US, and heard all about Northern Ireland. Rudy Maxa interviewed various local people working in tourism – including Odhran Dunne of Visit Derry, the late Martin McCrossan of Derry City Tours and Michelle Murray from the city’s Maritime Museum. Prior to the broadcast, Rudy enjoyed a guided walk along the city’s historic walls and had the opportunity to see some of our main tourist sites, including St Columb’s Cathedral.

International travel trade experience the North West Tourism Ireland also undertakes an extensive programme of familiarisation visits for tour operators and travel agents from around the world, so that they can experience the superb tourism product here for themselves at first-hand and sell the destination to their customers with more enthusiasm and authority when they return home. ■■


his spring, Tourism Ireland T invited leading tour operators from GB, the United States, France, Spain and Germany to visit the walled city of Derry. As well as a walking tour, the group visited the Tower Museum, the Guildhall, St Columb’s Cathedral and the new Walled City brewery. International travel buyers from China, Hong Kong, Norway, Sweden and GB also visited Londonderry this spring. E ach year, Tourism Ireland invites key travel professionals to come and experience the wonderful Banks of the Foyle Hallowe’en Carnival. For example, last year Tourism Ireland invited representatives of

some of the top business tourism companies in GB and France to visit the city over the Hallowe’en weekend. One of the highlights of their time here was a chance to see ‘Awakening of the Walls – Citadel of Dreams’ by Luxe, with its illuminated sculptures and fire performances.

North West tourism enterprises join Tourism Ireland at trade fairs and promotions around the world Tourism Ireland also provides our tourism industry partners with the opportunity to promote their business with us at major consumer and travel trade fairs and travel trade missions worldwide. For example:

Christine Bleakley, during filming at Malin Head, for the new ‘Wild Ireland’ ITV series.

Travel guru Rudy Maxa (centre) with Garvin Kerr, Derry City Tours; deputy mayor, Councillor Gary Middleton; Odhran Dunne, Visit Derry; and Michelle Murray, Guildhall and Tower Museum.




V isit Derry joined Tourism Ireland at this year’s International Confex in London, in February, an important event attended by around 5,500 corporate meetings and events professionals and a valuable platform to showcase and sell Londonderry. oteliers from the North West H – including City Hotel Derry, Best Western Plus White Horse Hotel, Ramada Da Vinci’s Hotel, the Clanree Hotel, the Great Northern Hotel and the Station House Hotel – took part in our networking event with key Scottish influencers in Glasgow, earlier this year. ough Eske Castle took part in L our ‘Jump into Ireland’ sales blitz in the United States this spring, meeting influential travel agents and travel media in the cities of Atlanta (Georgia), Charlotte and Tampa (Florida); and in our fourcity, cross-Canada sales blitz in the major hubs of Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver and Victoria.

Aoife McHale, Visit Derry (right), with an overseas buyer at International Confex, London.


ROCKHILL HOLIDAY PARK & ACTIVITY CENTRE COME AND ENJOY A REALLY FUN DAY OUT AT ROCKHILL ACTIVITY PARK Have a great time in our newly renovated games park, you can enjoy hours of fun on a whole host of rides including water walkers, zorb balls, bungee trampolines, climbing wall, rodeo bull, bouncy Carberry Parks castles,Holiday bouncy games and our golf putting course. Kids under 5 can enjoy their own indoor play area in Little Rockers or spend same time in our play ground or go for a drive around the park in our barrel train. Refreshments are available in our CafĂŠ and Games Room. Trying Out New Skills - Just For a Bit of Fun Book a session to try out a new skill or sport! Booking is easy and is competitively priced but if you can book a day in advance as places go quickly.





Touring / Mo tor Home site with sho wer block


PARTIES FOR TOTS Bouncy Cas tles - Face P ai

nti Arts & Craft s - Nature Tr ng ails Mask Makin g - Paint & Glaze - T-Sh irt Making & More


For more info call +353 (0)74 91 50012 email: Rockhill Holiday Park, Kerrykeel, Letterkenny, Donegal 26


01199 - Rockhill Advert Layout 2 A4.indd 1

26/03/2015 13:21

Visit Derry! Odhran Dunne, General Manager, outlines the plans for Visit Derry and their Seven Big Asks


igures dictate that tourism in Europe is expected to grow substantially over the next ten-year period. With that in mind there is now an opportunity to capitalise on this growth and ensure that Derry is a strategic priority as the preferred destination of choice. The key benefits of tourism are economic and socio-cultural with local hoteliers, B&Bs and other accommodation as well as restaurants, attractions and transportation providing direct jobs and impacting positively on other industries thus providing indirect jobs. During 2013, as the inaugural UK City of Culture, tourism generated £46.8m to the local economy, attracted 254,000 overnight visitor trips and serviced 936,000 bed-nights (Source: NISRA). This has shown the impact that the investment in events programming and its associated marketing has had on visitor numbers and economic return to the region. The accolade has acted as a catalyst for the destination to grow its tourism profile and reputation in the domestic and international markets. We need to reignite that spirit and attract the investment necessary to sustain and develop new and exciting events and experiences annually that are supported with strong destination marketing and promotional activity. This will ensure that the city and district is consistently one of the top destinations in Northern Ireland. In order to do this Visit Derry in partnership with key stakeholders including the local council, Tourism Northern Ireland, Tourism Ireland, Invest NI and critically the private sector industry will require a complex and complete experience-based offering for visitors that includes international standard attractions, experiences and supporting infrastructure at physical, community, cultural and service levels. We need to stand out if we are to attract people to the destination and use our competitive advantages and unique selling points to stimulate increased demand from consumers. This is no easy task when you think, in competitive terms, we are competing with an estimated 130 or more city-break destinations and 3,000 or more destination offerings across Europe. However, Visit Derry has identified “Seven Big Asks” from a tourism perspective that we believe will

maximize the city’s tourism potential. These include the development of infrastructure and access to international standards, a thriving business economy, world class visitor servicing, an inspiring annual calendar of events, creation of unique products and memorable experiences, a diverse portfolio of accommodation and culinary offerings and to support all of this intelligent marketing campaigns. An integrated approach by stakeholders to deliver on these “Asks” will grow the city’s reputation as a must see destination for the next generation of visitors. Our plan is to facilitate the development, marketing and servicing of a destination experience that promises to surpass previous expectations. If our plan is successful then Visit Derry, the local Council, private sector and other partners will have attracted one million visitors to the region, spending £100m during their stay and created and sustained over 5,000 jobs directly or indirectly in tourism by 2020.


Unique Sculptures and Jewellery that can be used for gifts for weddings, birthdays and presentations. Commissions welcome. Open 7 days a week. Call in and browse.

Tel: +353 74-9379245


Home Grown Brian McDermott, The No Salt Chef, is a regular chef on RTE Television and has his own weekly cookery slot on BBC. Here he writes why local produce is the only way forward.


hen you are cooking or sitting down to your next meal ask yourself have you made an effort to buy your produce from a local source? A reported 70% said we are willing to buy our food from a local source and yet in reality only 2-3% of the food we buy is actually local. I can think of numerous reasons why we should buy local. Firstly we have some of the best produce in Ireland right here on our doorstep in the North West. You don’t have to take my word for it, food critics such as John McKenna and Georgina Campbell to name a few, are selecting local producers, establishments and chefs among their national award winners. Did you know that Georgina Campbell national awards for 2015 included three local winners? Local Irish Chef of the Year 2015 is Derek Creagh of Harry’s Bar & Restaurant, Hotel of the Year is Beech Hill House with Newcomer Restaurant of the Year, Harry’s Shack, Portstewart. That is an awards list that is the envy of the country so I asked Georgina during enterprise week, what is it that we have here in North West that’s attracting national attention? “It’s the strong provenance of food on the menus and the honest and modest execution of how the produce is cooked.” We are now in a period of customers demanding and deserving to know where their food comes from. Customers want to know the farmers, producers, butchers, bakers and rapeseed oil makers. We have so much to be proud and excited about with local producers also scooping awards with North West the home to Northern Ireland’s first confectionary business to receive Three Gold Star award at the Great Taste Awards, Flossie’s Fudge. Broighter Gold Rapeseed Oil has made its way into the kitchens as a stable quality ingredient, grown harvested, pressed and bottled in Co Derry. Tamnagh Foods are producing award-winning cheese from their farm at the foot of the Sperrins.


The emergence of the Food Festival Scene in Ireland has demanded that every town and city subscribe to it but few can attract 36,000 visitors in its first ever outing and yet that’s what Legenderry Food Festival boosts in visitor numbers. The work of Mary Blake, Derry City Co and Food NI has ensured that DerryLondonderry sits proudly on the map of influential food events in Ireland. Festivals give shared space for producers to trade and promote their produce to the thousands of visitors and it brings the producers directly into contact with leading local and celebrity chefs. We now also have two local food markets established in the city running weekly in the Craft Village and monthly in the Millennium Forum. This is where you will find your local producers and quality award winning products to ensure the next meal you are preparing or eating, you have at least made an effort to source it from local producers. I feel proud when I carry the produce and stories from North West to the 30 national food festivals I demonstrate at annually. I will never miss an opportunity promoting this area, the people and its produce! Home Grown - it’s here already!

Derry born & brewed When someone is described as a ‘Master Brewer’, you may be forgiven for thinking that they graduated from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. However, the wizardry commenced on the shores on Enagh Lough in Derry, where Master Brewer David Rogers and his wife, Martina, conjured up premium, artisan beers and are now located in Campsie. Taken from concept in 2007 on Bondi beach to production in 2013 at a small pilot plant in Derry, David and Martina Rogers wanted to ‘bottle the magic’ found in beautiful Australia and bring it home to their favourite coastal destination. Inspired by the couple’s travels throughout Australia and Asia, Northbound Brewery uses entirely local products; including Irish malt, Derry water and Irish carrageenan moss. The brewery prides itself on producing premium, unpasteurized beers that are unfiltered, with no artificial additives and bottled fresh on site.



Travelling throughout the world has been invaluable to the success of this venture, as Martina gained beneficial commercial experience whilst David learned about the magic of brewing. David’s knowledge has now been recognised by the Institute of Brewing and Distilling, having been awarded the prestigious Master Brewer qualification, a rare recognition only bestowed upon a dozen people globally each year. Now, with three children and a loving home, David and Martina have achieved the magical dream held by many, to work for themselves in a business they love. Passionate about the North West of Ireland, David and Martina want to enhance local skills and generate employment, all the while continuing to offer exceptional fresh beer. Looking ahead, Northbound Brewery are continuing to trial new ingredients that celebrate the high quality of produce in the region, and are collaborating with local producers to bring out the best from the North West.



Ulster Bank supports

City of Derry Hotel group’s expansion One of the North West’s best known hotel groups is expanding significantly with the help of Ulster Bank. The City of Derry Hotel Ltd recently acquired The Ramada Hotel in Portrush in a deal supported by the bank. The County Antrim Hotel complex has long been a firm favourite with holiday makers to the North Coast.

available to businesses in 2015. We recognise the valuable contribution the hospitality and tourism sector makes to the economy, and will continue to support businesses making a positive impact in this area.”

Hotel Ltd. “Given the centrality and excellent condition of the Ramada, it was an ideal investment for us. I’m grateful to Ulster Bank for supporting us, not just financially but also by providing guidance and expertise throughout the process.”

Speaking about Ulster Bank’s involvement, Terry Robb, Head of the bank’s North West Business Centre, said: “We at Ulster Bank are strongly committed to supporting businesses in the North West and across Northern Ireland, and are pleased to support this important investment. We’re making £1.5bn

The new owners say their recent growth gives a vote of confidence to the hospitality and tourism sector in the region. “The North Coast and North West are very popular visitor destination’s, and The Ramada Portrush is a valuable tourism asset,” said Brendan Duddy, chairman of City of Derry

The deal brings Ulster Bank’s lending to businesses in the North West to more than £10m during recent months. The bank also supported the City of Derry Hotel Ltd in their acquisition of Austin’s, the popular department store in Derry.

We know it’s not just your business, It’s your life.


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Help for what matters Important Information Ulster Bank Limited, Registered in Northern Ireland No. R733. Registered Office: 11–16 Donegall Square East, Belfast, BT1 5UB. Member of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority, and entered on the Financial Services Register (Registration number 122315). Calls may be recorded.


Costa Coffee set to open in Lisnagelvin Shopping Centre Lisnagelvin Shopping Centre has just announced that Costa Coffee is coming to the Centre.

The long established Centre has an excellent range of shops from fashion and accessories to footwear, a community pharmacy to a butcher’s shop. The announcement of the Costa Coffee follows the opening of three new shops, Card Factory, Poundland and Savers; all of which are a very welcome addition to the array of shops on offer. Aisling Doherty, the Centre Manager, said, “The arrival of a well-known national chain into the Centre is a further boost for the shopping centre and the City bringing more jobs and money into the local economy. It shows that investors are confident in the area and that it is well and truly on the rise and a place where they want to bring their business. “I and the rest of the staff at Lisnagelvin Shopping Centre are very excited with the news that Costa Coffee will be here in the next few months. In addition to new stores; Poundland, Savers and Card Factory, we give our visitors a great shopping experience. “With free car parking and crèche facilities as well as a diverse number of shops on one level we are committed to providing the best possible choice for our visitors and we have been working hard behind the scenes to bring new business to the centre for shoppers to enjoy.”



ocal woman, Miriam Boyle, 27 from Derry-Londonderry, turned her back on unemployment when she set up the stylish Zamora Boutique online ladies retail store with help from The Prince’s Trust.

Having completed studies in Criminology, single mum Miriam found it difficult to secure a job that would give her the work/life balance she wanted and so she started to look at ways in which she could work from home running her own business. “I started off buying ladies fashion, cosmetics and jewellery from UK wholesalers and then selling them online through eBay and shipping them abroad for resale in Africa. I also looked at the possibility of creating my own branded range that I could sell and so Zamora Boutique was born!” Not knowing quite where to go from here, Miriam contacted The Prince’s Trust for support. She completed a four-day ‘Explore Enterprise’ training course, which gave her a greater understanding of what was involved in starting and running a business. With one to one support Miriam developed her business plan and brought it to the next stage of being a Prince’s Trust-supported business. Miriam says, “The Prince’s Trust was great at helping me develop my idea. The Enterprise staff at the Prince’s Trust worked so hard alongside me to come up with a great business plan which in turn helped me to secure a loan and a grant from the charity to help kick start my business.”


Exciting things happening at

Lisnagelvin Shopping Centre

with more choice than ever before! Plentiful Free Parking Creche Facilities Available


Tax and Talent Jackie Logan, editor of Connected talks to Peter Casey, Executive Chairman of Claddagh Resources and RTE Dragon


PETER CASEY, A NATIVE OF DERRY, SITS AT EASE ON A BENCH IN THE GARDENS OF BEECH HILL HOTEL CHATTING ABOUT BUSINESS, LIFE AND PEOPLE – BUT IT’S HIS HONESTY ABOUT HIS LIFE IN BUSINESS OVER THE LAST 35 YEARS THAT IS MOST ARRESTING. As a dragon on RTE Dragon’s Den and with his recent publication of the book ‘The World’s Greatest Company’, based on the Tata Group, he has more than one story to tell and he wants to tell them all at once. Mr Casey likes people and as Executive Chairman of a global Executive Search company, Claddagh Resources, which he set up in 1999, it helps, as his business is about people, having appointed CEOs for some of the top corporations in the world. He tells me of his time in the Den and why life is all about investing in talent, but also the importance of thinking through every detail in a business plan. Having failed twice in business, he says it’s just as important having a plan whether failing or succeeding; “you need to define failure and how investors are going to get their money back.” He goes on to explain, “You must learn from your failures – too many people are frightened of failure so they don’t take that natural next step. We must encourage people to take the entrepreneurial route. However he freely admits that if he hadn’t of been 14,000 miles away in Australia then maybe, just maybe, he might not have taken the steps to start his own business and he takes the time to commend those who he says ‘stayed behind’ and have been successful in business. He advises people to “worry less what other people think about you.” “Don’t get me wrong it’s not easy but the opportunities and possibilities are endless if you do step away and take a chance.” It is clear that Mr Casey is passionate about many things. One such issue is the setting up of a Centre of Excellence for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), he says this “could completely revolutionise education.” Having recently brought the Head of Tata Group to Ireland to discuss this with the universities heads – and with many education experts hailing MOOCs as the future of education – it would seem change is afoot. “This is a phenomenal opportunity for Ireland. People can learn from wherever - supplementing their main degree with an additional course to enhance their career prospects. Education will be able to respond much faster to business requirements and there will be much closer integration between education and business institutions.”

Turning to the Northwest he believes the local university Magee will have its part to play, for MOOCs will do to education what “iTunes did to music.” He speaks briefly to me of corporation tax and with his European headquarters in Buncrana he says that “It’s mad that within a short distance the corporation tax is completely different, even more so if you are a start-up. “Starting a business has its difficulties but add to that the differences in tax it can be much more problematic.” Stating there are 10 times more Irish people across the world than in Ireland he then asks, “so how do we get the talent to come back home – they need an incentive. We need to make the entrepreneurial route more attractive” and he suggests “a 15-year tax-free break or a £15,000 relocation grant.” Listening to Peter prior to the Chamber’s President’s Lunch and having read a little of his book it’s easy to see Peter is a man of value rather than a man of success. His admiration for the Tata Group, their ethics, their values and philanthropic ways is tangible. He buys properties before the banks foreclose on the occupants and then he leases them back to the householder. He readily admits, “the exercise is not purely philanthropic. Don’t get me wrong; I make a decent return on them.” But nonetheless he is doing it. Peter Casey is a successful man but I’m reminded of Albert Einstein’s quote: “Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.” Perhaps we need to stop concentrating so hard on success, and instead concentrate on value. Then only, we too might be able to make a difference and be a success as well.



President’s Annual Lunch 2015

L-R: Fergus O’Donnell, Rob Hardeman, Richard Gamble, Brian Burns, Brendan Lafferty, David McHugh, Ben McLaughlin

Elaine Smyth speaker from NISP Connect

L–R: Emma Graham BT, Gerry Kindlon President L’Derry Chamber of Commerce, Sinead McLaughlin Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, Heather Wells BT. Back L–R: Paul Convery BT and Steven Boyle BT

Dorothy McIlwee, Callum Morrison and Leo Murphy


Una Kincaid The Sandwich Co, Donna Moran, Morans Retail & Siobhan Allan, Extras NI

Bishop Donal McKeown, Gavin Killeen Chamber Vice President, Gerry Kindlon Chamber President, Mark H Durkan SDLP & Gregory Burton US Consul General

Jackie Logan, Naked PR and also CONNECTED Editor, Ann McGregor, NI Chamber of Commerce, Linda Brown, Institute of Directors

Stephen Gillespie Derry City & Strabane District Council, Paul Curtis from Curtis Opticians & Gavin Killeen Chamber Vice President

Linda Williams from Derry City Council and Caoimhin Corrigan from Ilex


Economic Growth in the North West Alastair Hamilton, Invest NI’s CEO, outlines how Invest Northern Ireland is working to support economic growth in the North West.

Invest NI has had a longstanding commitment to supporting economic development in the North West, working closely with the business community and partner organisations, primarily through our North West Regional Office. And together we are making a difference – over the past five years investment in the Derry City and Strabane District council area has increased by 374%. Last year (2014/15) we offered over £13m of assistance and promoted over 650 new jobs in the Derry City and Strabane District council area. This in turn will generate nearly £64m of investment into the local economy, a 60 per cent increase on last year. As well as our direct support to business, we also work in partnership with stakeholders to support local other activities that will help drive economic development in the area. We were active in formulating the Regeneration (‘One Plan’) for Derry-Londonderry and are working with key stakeholders to ensure its success. We are also actively participating with the new council and other statutory partners in the Community Planning process, a key requirement under Local Government Reform. In particular we are assisting with the development of an Integrated Economic Strategy to help identify and establish the priorities and framework for future economic development activity in the new Derry City and Strabane District Council area. We are also committed to supporting the delivery of the priorities and actions of the Ministerial Sub-Group on Regional Opportunities. Exporting remains a key focus for us as it is fundamental to economic growth and drives job 38

creation. Our support for companies in the North West reflects that. We’ve helped numerous small companies such as Quinnspares (NI) in Londonderry and Arolco (Ireland) in Castlederg, and larger companies, such as Fleming Agri-Products at Newbuildings and O’Neills Irish International Sports Company, Strabane to build exports and create new jobs. We’ve also supported new inward investment for the region, such as American legal company SmithDehn LLP and Convergys, which last year announced that it will create 333 jobs at its new Londonderry centre. In fact, this investment by Convergys was the largest new inward investment project we supported during the 2011-15 Corporate Plan period. Long-standing investors such as Seagate Technology and Fujitsu are continuing to reinvest in their north-west operations on the back of their success and their strong relationship with the local community and with Invest NI. Invest NI’s overall goal is to help create wealth for the benefit of the whole of Northern Ireland. We do this by supporting business development, helping to increase productivity and export levels, attracting high quality inward investment, and stimulating a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation.

Northern Ireland is very small in comparison to other global regions that we are competing against for foreign investment, however, in recent years we have seen our standing as an investment location grow. The Derry City and Strabane District Council area has many strengths and performs well in attracting FDI. When compared on a per capita basis to the rest of the UK, Derry City ranks 6th for inward investment jobs secured over the last five years. To win investment we must play our strongest hand. Our overall proposition of a skilled workforce, a competitive cost base, government support, and proximity to markets or customers, makes us one of the most attractive investment locations in Western Europe. As our performance as an investment location has grown we have noticed the power of ‘clusters’ when it comes to attracting investors – business types like to ‘cluster’ together to share knowledge and expertise. Financial Service Technology, legal and cyber security sectors are examples of this in practice. It is therefore good to see early drafts of the Integrated Economic Strategy working to identify cluster strengths in the North West. This will help us all to not only attract more mobile inward investment to the region, but also stimulate growth in existing businesses.

There are both challenges and opportunities ahead for Northern Ireland. The challenges are ones we are familiar with – growing the private sector, increasing investment in research and development and continuing to grow exports. We are making progress in these areas but there is still a way to go. The biggest opportunity for us will be the devolution and reduction of corporation tax which will significantly enhance Northern Ireland’s standing as an investment location. Our competitive positioning for cost-sensitive manufacturing projects could also be enhanced and, as such projects have less of a requirement to locate in city centre locations, this would deliver benefits on a sub-regional basis. However, for the immediate future we’ll continue to look at how sectors are developing globally, identify where growth will come from, where the skills of our people can be best used, and try to pinpoint and package what is unique about Northern Ireland that sets us apart from our competitors. We look forward to continuing our work with our partners in the North West, such as the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, to meet these challenges, capitalise on opportunities and celebrate our successes.

For export ocumentation at competitive rates, contact 39

Focus on Export

TMC Dairies (NI) Ltd TMC Dairies (NI) Ltd exports to more than 30 countries worldwide. This wellknown Dairy Co-operative was founded in 1901 in the parish of Leckpatrick, its original name, and is based in the village of Artigarvan close to Strabane. The business is located on the east bank of the River Foyle in an area rich in agricultural heritage and farming tradition. The Co-operative (Co-op) has been a quality supplier of dairy products to the local and international dairy markets for the past 12 decades. The founding fathers of the Co-op placed an immediate emphasis on the hygienic manufacture of all its products and this set the tone for an innovative approach to quality that has been nurtured and developed throughout the hundred-year history of the company.

process their products are sampled and released to the next stage through the ISO 22000 Quality Management System.

Today the LP (Leckpatrick) brand of milk powders is manufactured at TMC Dairies, one of the top three dairy processors in Northern Ireland. Being blessed by the temperate climate in the North West of Ireland has ensured optimum growth conditions for fresh grass on dairy pastures guaranteeing TMC Dairies quality milk supply every day of the year.

TMC Dairies has an excellent working relationship with all the local regulatory authorities and in particular with their local Chamber Of Commerce where rapid issue of the necessary export documents enable us to maintain daily shipments through the Port of Belfast to all our customers overseas.

On an annual basis they collect 400 million litres of milk across the province of Ulster and produce 28,000 tonnes of dairy powders under the LP Brand for sale to the Global Powder Market. They collect fresh milk daily from 900 dairy farms and continually audit or inspect these farms to ensure the highest standards of production are employed on every farm. To ensure full traceability is available to all of their customers’ milk, it is sampled at every farm and subjected to a multitude of tests and quality controls before it is accepted at their production plant. The quality of milk supply has a critical impact on the quality and performance of the final product and suppliers are rewarded for the compositional value and hygiene of their milk supplies. The milk is pasteurised and dried at a rate of five tonnes per hour on two Niro Spray dryers and the plant has a processing capacity of one million litres per day on a 24 cycle, producing 100 tonnes per day at peak operation. At every stage of the manufacturing


The finished products are packed on a modern 12 tonnes per hour packing line in heat-sealed sacks and despatched within five days to the international powder markets.

Dairy powders from TMC Dairies are used in a wide range of food, beverage, industrial and other ingredient applications in the global food industry. Customers for their products are in all five continents and their major markets are in Western Africa, Caribbean, South America, Far East and Middle East. Recognising their responsibility to the environment in which they operate, both the farms and their factory, TMC Dairies continues to serve customers as they preserve the environment for future generations to enjoy.

Exporting, business culture & the law

where to start?

by Philip Gilliland, Caldwell & Robinson

To grow, businesses in the North West have to export. The rest of the world is a big place, and building up enough knowledge about a particular overseas market to penetrate it successfully is hard.


here are many “mantraps” about, particularly legal ones. But it is far from impossible. To make your exporting relationships work better for you it pays to have legal advisors who know a thing or two about international trade; you can piggyback on their years of experience. Take China for example, a place Philip Gilliland and Robert Hunter of Caldwell & Robinson know well. Forming friendships on the back of business relationships is a very Western concept and your Chinese counterpart is more likely to want to do it the other way around. The traditional Chinese approach is to take the measure of each other personally and then decide whether or not to do business. That does mean “personally”. Your product or services may be well worth your price, but a potential Chinese client will be as interested in the character of the people who own or work for a company as in value for money and quality of production.

EVERY BUSINESS CULTURE IS DIFFERENT, VERY DIFFERENT. Chinese culture is heavily rooted in thinking generationally and this is reflected in business. Discussions about family background, education and personal interests will not be mere small talk. This kind of “small talk” will not only be expected, it will be crucial in negotiations because it shows your attitude to stability and long-term considerations. The importance of the personal dimension means that what happens outside the office will be as important – and sometimes more so – than what

happens around the meeting table. Meals, drinks and karaoke will all be part of building bridges. They will be opportunities to earn points by showing the mutual respect. Be prepared for long, ambiguous and potentially frustrating negotiations. Certainty will be elusive and this can have multiple causes. That generational thinking shows itself in the willingness of Chinese negotiators to take time to get the most advantageous deal possible. The deal won’t be sealed until the ink is dry – possibly not even then – and the horse trading will last for as long as it takes. Delays can also be caused by the hierarchy of the party you’re negotiating with, because the real decisions are perhaps being made by people you’ve never met. Your Chinese counterparts will be anxious not to rock the boat in their own organisation, so they’ll diligently defer to their superiors before entering a binding commitment. That can mean things take a lot longer than you’d expect at home. How do you deal with that? Do not paint your new Chinese friends into a corner. Forcing them to admit they don’t know the answer to your question will embarrass you, not them. Showing overt displeasure has the same effect because it suggests you can’t control yourself. Be prepared for short-term ambiguity but have a clear goal in sight and consider what you’re prepared to do for it. Know your own cut-off point, and, if necessary, when to walk away. Other cultures are different again, but the one certainty is that you need to get the right advisors and get them early in your journey – anywhere in the rest of the world will be a lonely place to be in a legal dispute.

For export ocumentation at competitive rates, contact 41

Sky’s the limit for

TerraMar Networks 50 countries, 100,000 vessels and many millions of data updates. Such huge numbers are a reality of the massive scale on which TerraMar Networks are operating. A global leader in GPS tracking, there’s no little irony in that this company has put Greysteel on the map by basing its head office in the County Derry village. From here a small team of experienced and dedicated people has created a class-leading solution for fleet operators, both at home and around the world. Their secure online tracking platform, tracpoint, works around the clock to display a wealth of information on the position and activity of vehicles, assets and people. It supplements this with an extensive range of powerful features and tools, allowing users to better understand and manage all of their activities, whether their focus is on efficiencies and cost reduction, productivity increases, Health and Safety management or security response. For more than a decade now, tracpoint has been delivering benefits to many of the most significant

fleet operators across Ireland, in fleets ranging in size from three vehicles to more than 400. TerraMar also supports development and relief programmes in dozens of countries worldwide in partnership with Oxfam. The company’s off-shore interests continue to grow and their collaboration with a major satellite operator has led to ground-breaking new ship-tracking capabilities monitoring over 100,000 vessels daily. With an emphasis on high quality hardware, customer support and the flexibility of their tracpoint system across land, sea and air, it seems not even the sky’s the limit for TerraMar Networks.

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MEASURING FOR SUCCESS Karl Dunkley, co-founder and CEO of Grosvenor Shirts, talks to Aaron Devine, Assistant Editor about the role Strabane has played in his company’s 16-year journey so far.


n the few years since the financial crash, job losses, company closures, redundancies and liquidations have sadly become commonplace. Our tough economic times mean fewer financial risks are being taken and new businesses are slower to get off the ground. Karl Dunkley and John Quigley faced similar circumstances in the late 1990s with the closure of one Lifford’s last remaining shirt factories. “John was the factory manager there and many years earlier I had been the London-based sales director of that company,” Dunkley tells Connected. When some would have been defeated by such a situation, this enterprising pair instead saw an opportunity. “We decided that there was a lot of skilled labour in the area and that there was a market for a premium UK-based shirt, so we hired around 20 of the staff and started the manufacturing.” And so Grosvenor Shirts Ltd. was born. Such pragmatism is certainly admirable but, due to the region’s historical pedigree of high-quality garment production, there were few other places in the UK where

Dunkley and Quigley could have taken this chance. That been said, such a decision definitely bucks the trend of the manufacturing industry, with more and more companies taking their production lines abroad. At Grosvenor, however, they do things differently, with an emphasis on quality, luxury and bespoke products. “We started with a vision not to just be a private label manufacturer because there was a lot of vulnerability in that,” says Dunkley. “We decided that we wanted to have our own brand and within one year we had a madeto-measure corner in Selfridges in London. That enabled us to start to grow a brand and so over the course of the last 16 years we’ve become less dependent on private label and a larger percentage of our manufacturing goes to our own label.” As well as lauding Strabane’s “pool of skilled labour,” Dunkley emphasises that it is much more than just manufacturing jobs that Grosvenor brings to the area, as Strabane is also the company’s admin hub, and it’s where its web operation and warehousing are

based. Grosvenor’s solid local foundation, coupled with the endorsement of some very demanding customers (their products even adorn the wardrobes of HM The Queen and the HRH The Duke of Edinburgh), has allowed the company to expand their horizons internationally. Dunkley is particularly enthusiastic about the big following the brand enjoys in Africa, one that has already borne some commercial fruit. “We had an approach to open a store in Ghana and then we got approaches for Nigeria so we now have four franchise stores and two shops in South Africa as well.” “We will continue to expand and grow the Grosvenor brand moving forward” With his eye firmly on the future, Dunkley doesn’t hesitate to speak of the value of Strabane’s “friendly workforce.” It’s with pride that he says, “A lot of people have been with us right from the beginning – it’s something we’ve been very committed to, and we’ve just celebrated 16 years of manufacturing in Strabane.” Long may it continue!

For export ocumentation at competitive rates, contact 43


In People The man at the helm of one of Ireland’s most iconic brands talks to Aaron Devine, Assistant Editor about the continued growth of the company and their ever-expanding manufacturing base in Strabane O’Neills Irish International Sports Company has come a long way in its 97-year history. However, since its modest beginnings in Dublin’s Capel Street to becoming a global operation with offices in seven countries, the company’s brand has always been indelibly linked with Irish culture and history through its associations with Gaelic Games. Although what makes O’Neills an Irish company through and through is that it still has its major manufacturing operations on this island, with a huge facility on the outskirts of Strabane. It may have begun as a converted schoolhouse in 1974, but it now spans 12 acres and boasts a workforce of well over 400 skilled local people. According to Managing Director Kieran Kennedy, it’s these people that the company truly values. “We knew the success of the company would be based on the quality of the staff that we employ and how capable they were in carrying out their role.” And the North-West region’s pedigree in garment manufacturing is of course well-documented, but rather than resigning to the history books, O’Neills has been actively ensuring that new generations of skilled workers continue to flourish. “One of our key strategies is to invest in our people and to make sure they’re trained,” Kennedy affirms. “We always had a policy of when we brought in new staff that 44

“YOU CAN’T ORDER GARMENTS IN CHINA AND HAVE IT MADE TO ORDER AND DELIVERED WITHIN A WEEK OR TWO” we would train them from scratch, right from cutting to stitching to examining and all the different facets of the industry.” Of course, having a local workforce is what gives the company the flexibility to do what they do best, as Kennedy underlines: “One of the key parts of our business is about personalisation. We can facilitate our market and our market demands that we have high-quality, bespoke, personalised garments in a very quick turnaround time. You can’t order garments in China and have it made to order and delivered within a week or two. So the success of our business has been built on those three areas of expertise: quality, personalisation and quick turnaround. You can’t get that overseas.” What O’Neills do have overseas is a very healthy export market, one they’ve been building on for decades. As Kennedy goes on to list the company’s impressive roster of worldwide offices, it’s their newest base in Adelaide that sticks out as somewhere likely to be well served by Irish emigrants. Indeed it’s a somewhat unlikely upside of the Irish emigration crisis

that an Irish company has been able to indirectly capitalise on the movement down under. “If people want to play gaelic games then they’re going to play it no matter where they are,” says Kennedy. “We noticed that when the recession started and a lot of emigration happened, especially to Australia, that our sales in Australia had a significant increase, and that’s what has led us to open our office there.” Aside from ex-pats, O’Neills’ very successful online operation means other international customers will only be a click or two away from great Irish products as well. Kennedy sees that as a major part of the business for the future, saying, “To that end we’ve just built another 16,000 sq-ft extension to have a best-in-class internet production facility [in Strabane].” This continued investment in Strabane and the local people is nothing but good news for the area, and it’s a clear measure of the success the company as a whole is enjoying. So as the centenary approaches, let’s hope they can all take a break from the global expansion to soak up the celebrations.

The Airport of Choice

for the North West of Ireland! City of Derry Airport, CoDA, provides a vital air access link for the local community and performs a pivotal role in the economics of the region. The airport is ideally placed to serve not only the city but also the natural catchment in County Londonderry, Donegal, North Antrim, Tyrone and surrounding districts. Commercial and Marketing Manager, Charlene Shongo, stated, “CoDA has undergone a major transformation in recent years, with a modernisation programme that has delivered a significantly better passenger experience. Recent improvements have included an enhanced security screening and preboarding area to speed up passenger processing times and a complete refurbishment of the restaurant and cafe area offering passengers fine food in an enjoyable and relaxing environment.” Ryanair, Europe’s favourite airline, offer a fantastic range of destinations direct from CoDA, including Faro, Alicante, Liverpool, Glasgow International and London Stansted. Charlene Shongo, outlined that “Ryanair

offer low cost flights with some excellent special offers available from CoDA. Customers can now enjoy a free second carry-on bag, allocated seating, a new app with mobile boarding passes, reduced fees and Ryanair’s Family Extra and Business Plus Services.” Regional & City Airport’s Contracts Director, Clive Coleman, outlined that “CoDA encourages all travellers within the local catchment to think about flight options from their local airport when making future travel arrangements”. Clive emphasised that air passengers must “Think Local and Book CoDA”. Clive added, “Approximately 400,000 passengers travelled to and from CoDA in 2013/14 and we look forward to continuing to serve the people in our area.”


From left to right George Fleming, Philip Gilliland, Patrick McGonagle, Mervyn McCall, Ann-Marie Slavin, John McMonagle, Philip O’Doherty, Paul McElvaney, Padraig Canavan and Alan Watt

North West’s Angel Group Developing from ‘Little Acorns’

Last year a group of experienced business people from Derry~Londonderry came together to form the Acorn Angels – an angel group (or syndicate) formed under the umbrella of Halo, the NI business angel network. And they pledged to invest over £1 million into Northern Ireland companies - with a major focus on the North West. They chose the name Acorn Angels reflecting their Derry~Londonderry heritage and the old adage ‘Mighty oaks from little acorns grow’ - the unambiguous ambition for their high growth companies. And now the Acorns are starting to develop themselves. There has already been a stream of companies pitching. Some have generated good interest and been selected to return for further discussion which may soon lead to funding. Membership of the Acorn Angels has been extended as other local business people have been invited as guests and really enjoyed the tough but experienced discussion as the angels review each company. The group includes a number of Vice and Past Presidents of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce. 46

The Halo business angel network is run from the Northern Ireland Science Park and has facilitated over £9m of angel investment in NI companies. The Science Park opened its first building in the city last year – the North West Regional Science Park (NWRSP) - which is where the Acorn Angels hold their meetings. As with the NWRSP, their reach extends to the entire North West region including Donegal. The group is particularly keen to hear from companies who are seeking equity funding, and from other potential North West angels. They can be contacted via the Halo website at, via the Chamber or Philip Gilliland, the group’s facilitator.

Economic picture looking

brighter By Angela McGowan, Chief Economist at Danske Bank There is little doubt that across Northern Ireland the economic picture continues to improve. The local economy has managed to maintain strong levels of inward investment, which signifies a vote of confidence in the Northern Ireland workforce and in the region’s future. Employment levels have also been steadily rising and the latest official statistics show that job levels grew by another 22,000 over the year to reach 833,000. At the time of writing the local claimant count for Northern Ireland fell for the 27th consecutive month. Low inflation driven by lower energy and food prices alongside the strong pound has helped to support disposable incomes in the first three months of this year, which has translated into a knock-on boost to the demand side of the economy. Improving private consumption is evident in the latest Danske Bank Consumer Confidence Index where overall sentiment and spending expectations have recently reached a seven year high. The latest index moved up to 136 in the first quarter this year from 131 in the final quarter of 2014. The North West was no exception in this regard with confidence levels rising. While improvements in the labour market and disposable incomes help to drive up confidence levels, so too do rising house prices. In the North West house prices were reported to have risen by nine per cent in 2014 and the median price for Derry, Limavady and Strabane is now estimated to be around

£102,000 – although this is six per cent lower than the Northern Ireland average. Affordability levels in the North West therefore remain remarkably healthy.

Forecasts and Interest rates Danske Bank forecasts suggest that the Northern Ireland economy will grow by around 2.2 per cent this year. Cuts to public expenditure will without doubt act as a drag on growth, but the improving macro situation, rising confidence levels and growing real incomes will all work to drive up economic activity. Despite a softening in the first quarter this year, the UK economy has been expanding solidly since the beginning of 2013. Although inflation is currently low there is an expectation the inflation rate will return to the target level of two per cent by late 2016. As monetary policy can take 18-24 months to take effect there is increased talk of the UK starting to normalise interest rates soon. Despite some recent volatility, the sterling effective exchange rate is now 15 per cent higher than its trough back in March 2013. The UK’s surprise election result saw sterling bounce higher and as strong economic growth is still forecast for

the UK, there is a high probability that the pound will remain strong relative to the euro in the months ahead. But ultimately exchange rates are highly unpredictable and for border regions in particular hedging against FX volatility is the best option.

Future Opportunities We are rarely without challenges when it comes to the economy, but similarly there are always opportunities too. By 2017 a lower rate of corporation tax could potentially pull in much higher levels of investment and jobs for Northern Ireland. To ensure that the North West taps into that potential stream of investment the region must focus on improving connectivity and investing in infrastructure and skills. Remembering that Foreign Direct Investment is only one aspect of economic growth is important if the North West is to really thrive in the years ahead. Supporting and developing indigenous companies while simultaneously creating the conditions for new enterprises to form will all play a part in unlocking the North West’s true potential. 47


CONNECTED Connected spoke to Paul Convery, Head of BT Business to discuss the importance of local businesses staying connected in the North West region.


BT, we understand the importance of providing businesses across the North West with the infrastructure and digital connectivity to support their company’s growth ambitions. As a world-class telecommunications provider, BT’s provision of premium broadband connections and data services gives local businesses a strong advantage, vital in a competitive local and global market and our reputation gives companies the confidence to know that they are purchasing a quality and reliable service from an established and trusted provider. With BT’s investment in the city, Derry / Londonderry was the first city in the UK and Ireland to have 100% of street cabinets locally fibre enabled, putting it firmly on the digital map and helping to lead the way in facilitating the growth of a creative and digitally connected city. BT offers businesses fibre to the premise connections through superfast technology, by creating a direct line between the network and the business, resulting in download speeds of up to 330Mbps and upload speeds of 40 Mbps – the equivalent of downloading a feature length movie of 850MB in size in approximately 20 seconds. This allows companies the opportunity to compete effectively in the digital age. Connectivity is essential for businesses in the North West and BT is committed to providing this service for its customers through its continued multi-million pound roll-out of fibre broadband. Fibre broadband has opened up a new digital world of high-speed communications, which continues to be essential to the sustained economic growth of the local community. We are delighted that demand is high for fibre broadband in the North West as we have the infrastructure in place to facilitate this. There are numerous benefits to businesses in adopting this service including the efficient and smooth running of local customer facing companies.


The Millennium Forum currently uses BT fibre broadband to manage its call lines and data services. The Millennium Forum is the North West’s premier arts and entertainment centre and one of the leading theatres in Ireland. A busy theatre and conference centre located in Newmarket Street, Derry / Londonderry, it was the first purpose built theatre in the city and has a seating capacity of 1000. The Millennium Forum hosts entertainment of all kinds and is also used as a meeting and conference venue. Amanda Hamilton, Marketing Manager, is only too aware of the importance of streamlined effective communications. Amanda said: “BT provides us with a customised fibre-based solution that guarantees the smooth running of our purpose built centre. From the online booking system to a bespoke call handling solution that manages the significant volumes of call traffic that we receive on a regular basis, BT keeps us up to date on the latest changes in relevant technology specifically designed to make our business run even more smoothly and efficiently.” For more information about BT and the services on offer, please go to


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Contacts 49

It’s all change at Ulster University New Vice Chancellor is appointed The expansion of Ulster University’s Magee campus will be seem by many as central to the regeneration of Derry and the turnaround of our city’s underperforming economy. It will provide the skills needed for our businesses to expand and attract major new employers, with a positive ripple across our whole economy. Plans for this are now in a fresh pair of hands – those of Professor Paddy Nixon, who has replaced the recently retired Sir Richard Barnett. Nixon is the new Vice Chancellor. He is a very impressive academic, who is not only accomplished in his core disciplines of computer science and computer engineering, but is also someone who knows intimately the higher education world in Ireland and the UK. But Professor Nixon joins Ulster University in July from much further afield – Australia. His most recent role was with the University of Tasmania, where he has been Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research). Prior to that he was research professor in distributed systems at University College Dublin and also Vice Principal (Deputy Dean) of the UCD’s Faculty of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences. He was responsible for 210 academic staff, more than a thousand PhD students and an annual research income in excess of €20m. Previously he was academic director of Intel’s Independent Living and Digital Health in Dublin, leading a team of 150 clinicians, researchers and engineers. Paddy Nixon also knows the British higher education environment. He was Professor of Computer Science at Strathclyde University in Scotland, before moving to Ireland. As is the trend with modern academia – especially for academics involved with new technologies – Professor Nixon has had a close relationship with business and commerce. He has founded three start-up firms, including NDRC Ltd, a software development company that won €25m of equity investment from the Irish government. The new Vice Chancellor’s expertise goes beyond computer systems. In recent times he has been on the board of several bodies based within the University of Tasmania: the Tasmanian Institute for Agriculture, the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, the 50

Integrated Marine Observing System and the Menzies Research Institute, a medical research body. Professor Nixon has also been a visiting professor or teacher at three leading international universities. He is trusted by politicians, having been appointed by the Irish government in 2008 to chair its national public consultation on next generation broadband. Although the University of Tasmania is little known outside Australia, it is highly regarded within the country. It is both one of its oldest universities and one of its most elite. It has around 26,000 students from Australia, plus another 6,000 international students, some of whom study within the University,

THE BUILDING PROGRAMME WILL CREATE JOBS AND PROVIDE DIRECT INVESTMENT INTO OUR BUILT ENVIRONMENT. while others are on distant learning programmes. Its operations are spread across three primary campuses. Ulster University has a very similar profile to that of Tasmania’s. It also has 26,000 students (though this is expected to fall by more than a thousand as a result of Northern Ireland Executive cuts to the higher and further education budget) and is spread across different campuses (four: Belfast, Jordanstown, Coleraine and Magee), plus a significant presence overseas and through distance learning. Professor Nixon is not from Northern Ireland, but is likely to feel very much at home in his new surroundings.


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Advance Your Career with the Magee MBA “The MBA has changed my life,” a significant statement but one which the academic team delivering the MBA programme at the Ulster University Business School at Magee has, to its credit, now heard many times. Conall Dunne, graduate of the MBA in 2014, explains how the course helped to transform his career; “Even before I graduated, I was appointed as Finance Director of a large food company in Northern Ireland employing over 1,000 people. The MBA gave me increased awareness of disciplines I had not previously covered in areas such as strategy and marketing. The learning experience was focused on applying key theories and frameworks to real business issues. I would not have had a chance of getting this job without my strategic insight into the food industry both locally and in NI. In fact, 90% of my interview answers related to the MBA.” The part-time MBA offered by the Ulster University Business School is a real game changer. Open to experienced managers and working professionals from across the North West cross border region this transformational programme has the potential to propel careers and businesses to the next level.

Edel Griffin MBA Course Director explains;

Linda Durey, who also graduated with an MBA in 2014 added; “My previous academic experience lay predominantly within the area of information communications technology and innovation. My professional experience focused on the technical aspects of computing. The MBA course provided a challenging new study experience outside my comfort zone which both enabled my growth within my current position and future career. “ Linda was delighted to have found exactly what she needed and more at Magee; “The subject matter was comprehensive and insightful, fuelling my thirst for learning which was mirrored by the results of all modules undertaken. I have found that I wanted to work so much harder and achieve so much more and this was facilitated by the lecturing staff and those that I met through the course. The relationships I have built on have provided me with a sound network of contacts which I will take forward, even though I have successfully completed the course.” Applications are currently being accepted for the next programme which begins in September 2015. It is important to note that applicants do not require an undergraduate qualification as five years’ experience at managerial level will also fulfil entry requirements.

“The MBA programme at Magee has been offered for almost 20 years. Our aim has always been to provide managers with the opportunity to challenge and develop themselves both professionally and personally with the resultant positive impact on themselves, their careers and their businesses. We not only provide a rewarding academic learning experience but also provide the tools, frameworks and support to help managers to think and act strategically.” Magee’s MBA students benefit from a supportive learning environment comprising the academic team and visiting professors which is further enhanced by access to the most current business and management research available through the Ulster University Business School. Each module is delivered on a block learning basis to facilitate the busy schedules of working managers. A key element is the opportunity to learn with other managers and professionals from a broad range of sectors across the North West and this peer learning approach through problem solving and exchanging ideas is fundamental to the success of the programme.


To find out more about the MBA, contact:

Edel Griffin, MBA Course Director; Ulster University Business School, Magee campus at or tel 028 7167 5196 (NI) / 048 7167 5196 (ROI) Closing date for applications is 4th September 2015.

Master of Business Administration Inspiring Change – Transforming Business Are you an experienced manager, seeking change: for your organisation, your career and yourself? The Ulster MBA is designed specifically for you… Be inspired with a career changing learning experience on our 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 participants 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, block learning format to minimise time away from work • Completed in 24 months • 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: Closing date for applications: 4 September 2015. 53

Successful Business Mentoring Brewing at NWRC

Over £650,000 worth of support provided to more than 220 local small businesses North West Regional College (NWRC) continues to prove that it is much more than just somewhere to learn. Behind the hundreds of courses lie a team of highly competent technical consultants who have brought the College’s economic regeneration strategy to the fore through the provision of extensive reskilling, upskilling and entrepreneurial mentoring to a range of small-to-medium sized enterprises. In fact, in the last three years the College’s InnovateUS Employer Support Programme, which has been funded by the Department for Employment & Learning (DEL), has provided over £650,000 worth of support to more than 220 local small businesses. This fully-funded business consultancy is currently available from the College to companies with less than 50 employees in industries, which include food development, engineering, renewable & sustainable technologies, and digital media and marketing. One local business to benefit from this expertise has been the Ebrington-square based Walled City Brewery. Through initial engagement with the company, the College advised that its first step to become more consumeraligned was to match food with their beer products in order to offer a more unique culinary experience for the consumer. Led by College Food Technical Consultant Brian 54

McDermott, this mentoring also involved kitchen planning and specification for a new craft brewery and restaurant, the creation of innovative and profitable dishes, and the development of menus, which complemented beer flavours. Furthermore, the expertise also enabled Walled City Brewery to take cognisance of the seasonality of foods, and to reflect the varying dietary needs of today’s consumer.

phase where we are planning digital media strategies to support their forthcoming business launch. Together with providing the company with a host desk facility in our College Incubator Centre, we are also preparing to provide advice on the Invest NI funded Innovation Voucher project which can help them develop new flavours of craft beers for new and emerging markets.”

Walled City Brewery Owner James Huey has more: “Right from our first discussions, we have been mightily impressed with the professionalism on offer at North West Regional College. The expertise that is available from its Business Support Centre team has not only enabled us to prepare for launch, but to consider product development and investment potential which can help us grow into a successful business in the future. As part of the support, we availed of work placement students who proved to be highly skilled and motivated additions to our team, and I think this is testament to the quality of learning that is delivered in the College.”

An exciting future is certainly in prospect for Walled City Brewery, and the same can be said for other local entrepreneurs and small businesses. NWRC Technical Innovation Manager Fergal Tuffy encouraged more local businesses to avail of the support currently available from the College: “We want to grow this local economy… it’s as simple as that. The Invest Northern Ireland’s Innovation vouchers scheme in particular is a serious incentive for local businesses, offering up to £4000 worth of mentoring support. As part of the FE sector’s commitment to drive economic growth through the InnovateUS Employer Support Programme, our College is ready to deliver practical skills training and business support which can provide reality to the aspirations of small to medium enterprises across this North West region.”

NWRC Food Technical Consultant Brian McDermott added: “The Walled City Brewery now has the potential to be one of the most innovative food and beverage outlets in this region, offering a unique experience for all local consumers. Our partnership with them has now moved onto a second

Visit employersupport for help on how to grow your business.


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Business Mentoring Research & Development Bespoke Training & Skills Development Programmes we offer include: InnovateUs Employer Programme Innovation Vouchers Skills Focus




OLYWELL DCCP is a new facility based in the heart of Derry/ Londonderry available for meetings and gatherings of 2 – 110 people. The building provides a base for the DiverseCity Community Partnership where local community groups are striving to deliver positive change in the city. Our building is a multi – functional state of the art facility that can be tailored to suit our client’s needs, be it a formal meeting, large-scale conference event or an intimate private space for a small group or individual. Our facilities include: ■■

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Holywell Consultancy is a local social enterprise based in Derry/ Londonderry and we undertake a diverse range of work: •E vent Management - design and delivery of e.g. • summer schools • tours

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THE NEW LANDSCAPE Leo Murphy, Principal and Chief Executive, North West Regional College IN MARCH 2015 BT ANNOUNCED 1,000 NEW APPRENTICESHIPS, ACROSS THE UK, FOR YOUNG PEOPLE IN A RECRUITMENT BOOST. These new apprentices will work in a range of areas such as Software Development, IT and Digital Technology. A number of the BT apprentices will also begin new degree apprenticeships which start this September allowing them to complete full honours degrees while working. This is just one example of how the landscape is changing in education, and Apprenticeships are key to this new way of fusing education and employment together. Dr Stephen Farry, the Minister for Employment and Learning, published Securing our Success: The Northern Ireland Strategy on Apprenticeships in June 2014. Since then, a number of projects, as outlined in the strategy, have been established to pilot and test the proposed new apprenticeship model, for the purpose of securing implementation by 2016. The strategy provides an opportunity to facilitate economic and social progress, and will be key in transforming our skills landscape and in securing our economic success. International evidence clearly shows that Apprenticeships provide an excellent means by which employers can obtain the skills they require, as well as being assured that across the economy there is a critical mass of people with strong technical and employability skills. The primary benefit to the economy from apprenticeships is a better matching of supply and demand for skills with apprenticeships being extended to a wider range of occupational areas, while at the same time facilitating progression up the skills ladder from level 3 (A Level) to level 8 (Doctorate). The potential for apprenticeships to contribute to economic growth and alleviate youth unemployment is also particularly vital in the context of Northern Ireland. In the North West we have more embedded challenges due to the structural weaknesses in the industrial economy. The new Derry City & Strabane District needs jobs and employment as a key element for growth and all that brings to the socio-economic harmony of the region. I believe that apprenticeships at youth and higher levels will be key to a strong skills escalator. We

need to build and keep skills in the region and the apprenticeship model across a number of key sectors will allow us to do that. By offering Apprenticeships, you can ensure that your workforce has the practical skills and qualifications your organisation needs now and in the future. The mixture of on and off-the-job learning ensures they learn the skills that work best for your business, allowing you to realise increased productivity, improved competitiveness and a combined and competent workforce. It is often said that training apprentices is more cost effective than hiring skilled staff, leading to lower overall training and recruitment costs. Apprentices help you fill your skills gaps and international evidence suggests that those who complete apprenticeships are more likely to stay with the company that trains them reducing churn within the labour force. They develop the specialist skills you need to keep pace with the latest technology and working practices in your sector. In fact, there is a high proportion of apprentices who go on to management positions within their company. At North West Regional College, we are ready to provide the added advantage your business requires through our Apprenticeships provision. We want to grow this economy, we want our talented young people to stay local and we see the Apprenticeships model as offering the capacity to make these aspirations a reality. At North West Regional College, we are ready to provide the added advantage your business requires through our Apprenticeships provision.



EURES helps workers to cross borders Who or what is the EURES Cross Border Partnership? The EURES Ireland Northern Ireland Cross Border Partnership has been in existence since 1993 and is one of 20 such partnerships in Europe. EURES stands for European Employment Services – we are part of a European Union network established to facilitate the free movement of workers in the European Union.

Why a Cross Border Partnership?



RECRUITMENT SERVICE FOR EMPLOYERS WE ARE HERE TO HELP YOU For a copy of our mobility pack, to contact an adviser or for more information please visit our website:

The Partnership has a particularly important role to play in cross border regions because of the obstacles that cross border workers, employers and jobseekers face on a regular basis. EURES provides a recruitment service to employers and general information to cross border workers and job seekers, signposting to the relevant agencies and identifies particular obstacles which hinder cross border movement in the European Union.

What are the main objectives?

Who are the Partners?

The main objectives of EURES are: – to inform, guide and provide advice to potentially mobile workers on job opportunities as well as living and working conditions; – to assist employers wishing to recruit workers in cross border regions; and – to provide advice and guidance to workers and employers in crossborder regions.

There are seven organisations, from both sides of the border, represented on the Partnership. These are: ■■ Confederation of British Industry (CBI) ■■ Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) ■■ Department of Social Protection (DSP) ■■ Dundalk Chamber of Commerce ■■ Irish Business and Employers’ Confederation (IBEC)


This publication has received financial support from the European Union Programme for Employment and Social Innovation “EaSI” (2014-2020). For further information please consult:

EASI Programme



I rish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) Londonderry Chamber of Commerce

How can interested parties contact the Partnership? The Ireland/Northern EURES Cross Border Partnership can be accessed by visiting our website at To view more about EURES operations at the European level you can also visit

North West Regional Science Park at CoLab, Letterkenny TURNING KNOWLEDGE INTO ENTERPRISE The North West Regional Science Park extension to CoLab on Letterkenny Institute of Technology’s (LYIT) campus marks another positive step in terms of the development of Innovation centres in Ireland’s Higher Education campuses. LYIT’s original Business Innovation Centre opened over 25 years ago. A further upgrade in 2000 resulted in the Business Development Centre, while 2010 saw the opening of the current CoLab, with support from Enterprise Ireland and the Department of Education and Skills. This centre, which is full to capacity, now houses 28 start-up companies employing over 100 graduate-level employees. The North West Regional Science Park (NWRSP) project is delivered through an innovative Cross Border partnership between LYIT and Northern Ireland Science Park (NISP), led by the North West Region Cross Border Group (NWRCBG). It is supported by the European Union’s INTERREG IVA Programme, which is managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). The NWRSP will allow the world renowned Science Park brand, operating model, and support programmes be brought to the North West at Fort George in Derry and at the CoLab at LYIT. This NWRSP project creates the first third generation Science Park in the Republic of Ireland, which is the first step to creating an All-Ireland Association of Science Parks and will further assist LYIT in building a regional innovation ecosystem turning knowledge into enterprise and building a new economy in Ireland’s North West. The completion of the project marks the culmination of almost four years’ hard work on behalf of all the stakeholders in bringing this project from concept to a reality. NWRSP is a physical manifestation of what positive cross-border engagement can deliver; bringing together stakeholders on both sides of the border to deliver a tangible output in both Derry and Letterkenny for the benefit of the people who live here. A very positive working relationship has developed among the various stakeholders: Donegal County

Council, Donegal Local Enterprise Office, Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Department of Finance and Personnel (NI) and Department for Social Development (NI), Enterprise Ireland, Industrial Development Authority, IDA, Údarás na Gaeltachta, ILEX (Derry~Londonderry’s Urban Renewal Company), NWRCBG and NISP, the design team led by Hamilton Architects and the contractors led by Boyle Construction. With the support of the funders, through SEUPB, all combine to make a hugely positive statement on behalf of the North-West region and indeed pave the way for future collaborative regional partnerships. Speaking about the project, Lorraine McCourt, Director with the SEUPB, said: “We are delighted to see the North West Regional Science Park project completed. This project is one of the largest economic development initiatives supported under the current INTERREG Programme and will make a positive and long-term impact upon the economic fortunes of the North West. I look forward to hearing more about its successes and the many different businesses it will support over the coming years.” The NWRSP is a shot in the arm for businesses within the North West, not just for the small companies in their infancy but also for those established companies and multinationals who can both contribute to and benefit from the dynamics of the Science Park project. LYIT has 3,500 students, and is committed to providing opportunities for its graduates within the North-West Region, preparing them for their lives ahead. The emergence of the Science Park on LYIT’s campus at this critical time makes this job a lot easier. This is LYIT delivering on its engagement agenda and showing leadership in the region. This is done in a collaborative manner with all relevant stakeholders. 59


Culturetech plans huge fourth year


ast forward three years and it has become Northern Ireland’s de facto innovation festival, welcoming attendees from around the world to a heady week of industry, education and public events.

2014 was a bumper year for the festival, attracting over 43,000 attendees across 200+ events hosted by 134 partner organisations. The education strand was brought into the main fold of the programme – with 16,000 students taking part – and the programme shifted even further towards a family-friendly lineup that encourages everyone to get hands-on with technology. Highlights included an enormous Minecraft event, a conference designed and delivered by young people, HD video dome, Friday Night Mashup, DANI Awards and the launch of the NW Regional Science Park. For 2015 (Sept 11-20) there are even more ambitious plans. The festival is now squarely aimed at an audience of young people and families, and in excess of 60,000 people are expected to join in. CultureTECH will partner with the BBC’s Make It Digital programme for an enormous public engagement event, will host CoderDojo’s annual global conference and extend gaming events even further. Attendees can also expect a series of industry conferences and Ireland’s largest Maker exhibition, developed with the Fab Lab. All of which will help to form a centrepiece event within the city’s Year of Science and Innovation.


There’s no doubt that the digital economy offers huge potential for the region and NI is already the UK’s second fastest growing Knowledge Economy. CultureTECH aims to support this growth and ensure that the North West has a prominent place at the table. The last three years have shown the potential but if we’re serious about the NW as a digital player then we need to invest accordingly - particularly in initiatives that engage our young people. A great party is not a bad way to do that - and fill hotel rooms, bars and restaurants at the same time. The outline festival programme was released in early May, and has been followed by an open call for new events to be included. All details can be found at www.

Coding them young: Minecraft, Dojocon, Microbits and Raspberry Pis Europe is expected to face a shortfall of over 900,000 technically skilled employees by 2020. In the UK alone, it is estimated that there will be a shortage of approximately 249,000 workers for technology based jobs by the same year. Nearly 2,000 jobs need filled in NI’s tech sector annually. If the North-West is to play a role in the growing digital economy, digital skills is something that we not only need to address, but go

well-beyond what other regions are planning. The only way to begin to overcome this shortfall is to give young people multiple opportunities, throughout their childhood, to learn how to create with technology. It is with this in mind that the first quarter of 2015 has seen a stream of announcements from local organisations including CultureTECH, Nerve Centre / FabLab and Derry City & Strabane District Council that will bring coding and STEM education to the fore. On March 25th, CultureTECH made headlines when they announced they’d be providing MinecraftEdu to all Northern Ireland secondary schools, with funding from DCAL. It is the largest single Minecraft educational programme ever announced and has already attracted potential collaborators from across the UK, Ireland, USA and Canada. Teachers across the region are already using it to help students learn programming languages include Java. Working in partnership with the Nerve Centre and local CoderDojo groups, CultureTECH also announced that the annual global gathering of CoderDojo mentors would take place in DerryLondonderry this September. They were also named as one of 50 nationwide partners for the BBC’s Make It Digital programme and launched a new partnership 61

with Farset Labs and the Northern Ireland Science Festival to deliver Raspberry Pi (the credit-card sized programmable computer) events across the province. The North-West has also taken the lead in formal education, with the announcement that sixteen teachers from 10 schools are currently studying a postgraduate course to help them teach the new A-level in Software Systems Design from this September. This has been supported by Ilex, Nuprint Technologies, Fast Technologies, Allstate, Seagate, 8Over8, Kofax, Learning Pool, the Department of Education and Ulster University. There’s no doubt that there is a growing momentum behind the movement to teach kids to code. Not every student will want to become a software developer but every student should be given the opportunity to ‘test drive’ coding. And they should be encouraged to become literate, engaged, creators of their digital future and not just passive consumers.

CultureTech is London Bound – Twice In March CultureTECH led a group of eight local companies and Ulster University on the first “Mini Mission” to London’s Tech City. The trip, supported by ILEX, was designed to help some of the city’s most exciting young companies to build contacts with the booming technology hub in London’s East End. The team had the opportunity to meet with a range of local stakeholders including Tech City UK and The Barbican, before showcasing their companies at the CultureTECH London meetup. A follow-up event for 250 industry professionals has already been planned for May 14th, delivered in partnership with MiniBar, the UK’s largest tech meetup, as part of the Digital Shoreditch festival. 62

Driving Digital Social Innovation in Northern Ireland April 30th saw the launch of a major new digital social innovation programme for Northern Ireland. The project - Techies In Residence - is an initiative of the Building Change Trust, which in turn has been funded by the Big Lottery Fund. CultureTECH have been appointed by the Trust as Managing Agent for the ongoing development and delivery of the project. Digital technology holds huge potential to help the voluntary, community and social economy (VCSE) sector develop new solutions to social challenges - something with particular resonance in the North West, as an area with an historically vibrant and innovative voluntary sector. Over 15 months the Techies in Residence programme will bring together the respective expertise of digital technology experts and the VCSE sector to create, develop and implement new digital social innovations in Northern Ireland. The project will incorporate 10-week technical placements for each of six new projects, alongside a variety of mentoring support, networking opportunities and industry events. These projects will not only serve to address key challenges faced by the VCSE sector but also act as detailed case studies and learning opportunities – building stronger links between the tech and community sectors. Details are available online at Technology companies interested in supporting the programme can download information from the website or contact Connor Doherty by email to info@ CultureTECH is a subsidiary company of The Londonderry Chamber of Commerce.


SEPTEMBER 11-20TH /culturetechfest @culturetechfest 63

Beech Hill House Hotel still a national treasure


erry’s historic Beech Hill House Hotel is among the cream of the crop with various awards proving it is officially one of the 100 Best Places To Stay In Ireland by the McKennas’ Guides.

The Beech Hill, located at Ardmore Road on the outskirts of the city in the picturesque Faughan Valley, is one of just five accommodation establishments in Northern Ireland listed in John and Sally McKennas’ Guides 2015. The Guides are regarded as the bible of the best places to eat, shop and stay in Ireland. Patsy O’Kane, owner and general manager of the 4* Beech Hill which has 31 guest rooms, said they were delighted to be featured in the prestigious hospitality guide again this year. “The McKennas’ Guides have continued to rate the Beech Hill as one of Ireland’s most attractive places to stay. It is testament to the hard work and commitment of the staff at the Beech Hill in creating a family atmosphere in our beautiful country house surroundings with excellent food and customer service.”




he Millennium Forum was today among 29 local organisations celebrating Investors in People (IiP) accreditation at an awards ceremony held in Belfast Castle. General Manager, Paul Mason and Box Office Manager, Lisa Heaney, accepted this coveted accolade on behalf of the management and staff. Speaking at the event, Paul Mason commented: “We are delighted to be have been awarded this prestigious accreditation from Investors in People. We have a hugely talented and hard-working team of dedicated staff who ensure the success of the Millennium Forum; this recognition signifies our commitment to them in providing a workplace that realises their potential and one of which they can be proud.”


Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry added: “This occasion celebrates Northern Ireland businesses proving their excellence. Organisations succeed by realising the potential of their people. The organisations receiving Investors in People accreditation today are proof of that. “People’s strengths, people’s ambitions and people’s ideas are the engine of success. IiP accreditation signals to customers and employees your commitment to good business and people management excellence. “If you develop the skills of your employees and improve your employee engagement, success will ultimately follow. Through Investors in People, everything is informed by one principle: good people make a great business.”

Virtual offices A great start for any business


n a nutshell, a virtual office gives you all the benefits of renting office space, without the associated costs of the office itself. You can start by having the prestigious business address to use as your company’s own, giving your business a far greater professional image. For instance, you might want to give the impression of a larger, well-established company even if you are a sole trader working from home. Or you can add the option of having the centre’s receptionist answer your calls for you and forward them to where ever you are. Other companies who can benefit from a virtual office are those wishing to venture into new territory - test the water in a new city without the overheads of taking physical office space. But there’s no better way to get a step up onto the professional business accommodation ladder for new start up companies than with a virtual office.

services such as call handling, reception services or meeting rooms. And they don’t come more prestigious in the city centre than at the very exclusive Scottish Provident Building next to Belfast City Hall where prices for a virtual office start from as little as £55 per month. Move up to their Silver package at £85/month and you get your calls answered and meeting room access included. They say the future of offices is flexible working and they don’t come more flexible than a virtual office at Scottish Provident Building.

Most business centres offer virtual office packages with

SMARTER OFFICE SOLUTION A VIRTUAL OFFICE AT SCOTTISH PROVIDENT BUILDING IS THE PERFECT OFFICE SPACE SOLUTION FOR SMALL & STARTUP BUSINESSES Until you’re ready for an actual office, a Virtual Office allows you to work from wherever your busines needs to be, yet with the best address in belfast for your brand. You can also have your calls answered by our professional staff and access to all our on-site facilities - all for one low, monthly cost.



02890 918 200


The talented, dynamic and professional team at Londonderry Chamber of Commerce strives to provide local businesses with an unsurpassed range of services and events.

MEET THE EXECUTIVE TEAM of Londonderry Chamber of Commerce Sinead McLaughlin

Anna Doherty

Sinead provides dynamic leadership for the Chamber, ensuring that it delivers effective representation for business in the North West. She has led a range of strategic initiatives that have seen the Chamber develop and grow delivering services and initiatives that benefit the business community in Derry.

Anna combines innovative thinking with attention to detail which ensures that the Chamber’s calendar of events will provide substantial networking opportunities and tangible benefits for members in terms of their learning, development and social needs.

Chief Executive

With extensive experience in both the public and private sectors Sinead is a respected figure in Northern Ireland business circles. She is an articulate advocate for the commercial sector and an influential voice for business in the realm of policy making. Sinead is passionate about the regeneration of the city and the role that business has to play in this process.

Events Manager

Carol Kelly Accounts Administrator Carol oversees financial matters for the Chamber managing the accounts tax and payroll functions. She also looks after the Chamber’s export support function providing help for companies as they explore trade in new market.

Mary Miller Recruitment Officer Mary’s role is to recruit new members to the Chamber.


Her natural ability to build relationships allows her to engage with potential members and demonstrate just how they can benefit from being part of the Chamber. She builds lasting relationships and ensures that members integrate into the Chamber’s network and continue to derive benefits from the being part of the organisation. Her ability to help businesses fulfill long term aspirations is crucial in ensuring that Londonderry Chamber retains its members. Her focus is on creating connections and making sure members optimize all the opportunities that the Chamber provides.

Cathy Kerlin Marketing & Events Co-Ordinator Cathy helps maintain the office operations in an effective way as a creative member of the Events Team whilst also ensuring the delivery of all external and internal communications. Cathy engages with members to ensure they take advantage of the Chamber’s key platforms including the website, e-zine and social media. Cathy takes great pride in ensuring that the Chamber’s communications channels afford members the maximum opportunity to enhance their public profile.’

Join us and reap the benefits MAKE NEW BUSINESS CONTACTS • Business Briefings • Masterclasses • Seminars • In Camera’s with key government representatives

• Speed Networking events • Cross Border Networking events • Business Awards • President’s Annual Lunch • President’s Annual Dinner

PROMOTE YOUR BUSINESS • Patronage of the Londonderry Chamber • Event Sponsorship • Advertising Opportunities

• Promote your news and events on our website, e-zines and social media • Access to the Members’ Directory services on

INTERNATIONAL TRADE SERVICES • Heavily discounted export documentation services • Exporters Club • International trade advice

• Connections with the worldwide Chamber Network • Information Services

INFLUENCE LOCAL POLICY • Regular contact with MPs, MEPs, MLAs and Government Ministers including ‘In Camera’ events • Business Surveys

• Links with media • Government consultation responses • Representation

SAVE MONEY • Member - to - member discounts • Chamber Primary Health Plan 67

Chamber members staying CONNECTED at our regular Speed Networking event

Chamber’s Speed Networking Event providing the perfect environment for effective and speedy networking

Chamber team ensuring event goes smoothly (Anna, Cathy, Sinead) Eden Franklin, School Employers Connections

Kevin Harley KH Consulting talking to Grainne from City Hotel

Jade O’Kane, Caldwell and Robinson


Peter Walls from MasterQuickBooks and Gerry McLaughlin from North West Tills perfecting the pitch

Dawn McLaughlin from Dawn McLaughlin & Co., doing public pitch to speed networkers

Julie Connell, Eye Airports talking to Diane Carvelho, Dawn McLaughlin Accountants

Deborah O’Donnell, Deborah O’Donnell Accountants

Doing Business can be enjoyable

Ciara O’Connell, Caldwell and Robinson

Hunter Apparel Solutions

receives four awards in under a year Hot on the heels of winning an unprecedented top three UK industry awards in Birmingham of last year, Simon Hunter, CEO of Hunter Apparel received the accolade of IoD Family Business Director of the Year 2014/2025 at the Northern Ireland awards in Belfast. Simon Hunter has been entered into the UK Director of the Year finals to be held in late 2015. Having won Best Business Manager, Best Managed Major Contract and Best Bespoke Uniform Design and now Family Director of the Year it is clear that leading designers

and suppliers of corporate work-wear and PPE uniform, Hunter Apparel, is well under way to being the number one company delivering value through technology based solutions within their sector.


KEEPING IT IN THE COMMUNITY Strabane Chamber President, Colm Gallagher, talks to Aaron Devine, Assistant Editor about the importance of doing business locally.


ith the new Derry City & Strabane District Super Council now up and running, it’s now more important than ever that representative bodies in the region work together. It’s a challenge the President of Strabane’s Chamber of Commerce is relishing. Having recently stepped up to the mantle as President after a few years on the Strabane Chamber of Commerce, Colm Gallagher has some big plans for the future. After a period of inactivity the Chamber has returned to the centre of the business community in Strabane, and his enthusiasm about the future is nothing short of infectious. “We have a very positive outlook on the chamber at the moment,” explains Gallagher. “It was reinvigorated a few years ago and a lot of hard work was put in to get it back up and running and get things going again. That has been successful to an extent where we’ve strengthened our committee and we’re getting a lot of new faces involved.”

“Every business in Strabane realises it’s time to stand up and be counted” What are the next steps now that so much support has been garnered for the Chamber? “We’re still a young chamber, we’re still in the phase of evolving ourselves into what the Strabane businesses need, but we are very keen to get our strategy for 2015 right, and networking is our big aim here in Strabane,” outlines Gallagher.

Photograph by Raymond McCarron

He’s also quick to allay any fears that the recent merging of the local councils will have any negative effects; in fact he has already noticed how the expansion has encouraged local enterprises to be more proactive in the community. “Obviously the Super Council is new and challenging for everyone so that is something we have to get behind. I think every business in Strabane realises it’s time to stand up and be counted – we need to make a voice as one. And I think that’s the


difference: local people who are interested in driving the town forward.”

“Individuality is something that Strabane has in abundance” Such a collective spirit is made even more remarkable considering the wide range of businesses that Gallagher is happy to call Chamber members. “Individuality is something that Strabane has in abundance,” he proudly asserts. And, as one might expect, there are plenty of cafes, restaurants and clothes shops involved, but that’s not all. “We have a lot of training-related [organisations] as well: we have the educational system in the town on board, we have insurance companies, coffee shops – a diverse range. Some are retail sector but there’s a large chunk of parties that are not involved in retail as well and that’s another aim – to target everyone.” In fact the Chamber is not just for SMEs either, as Gallagher reveals. “Allstate is involved with us, which is huge, there’s 500 staff up there. It’s good to have them on board and a member of their organisation on the Chamber.”

“Strabane businesses go beyond the call of duty” Gallagher’s vision for the region is matched only by his enthusiasm for what makes it unique. “Strabane still has a lot of retailers that have made their name, small businesses that are still representing Strabane in a healthy way.” According to Gallagher these businesses are run by the sort of people that “go beyond the call of duty.” Committed to the future success of Strabane, Gallagher looks at his role with a sense of humility and service, and it’s clear that the Chamber is in very safe hands. “I’m there to help get people what they need out of the town and their own business. If we can manage to represent to the needs and wants of the businesses then I will have had a successful two years.”

Cycle Sperrins

maps out new eco-tourism route


Derry-based adventure recreation company is gearing up for an influx of visitors after launching a new self-guided cycling tour taking in scenic routes around the Faughan Valley and Sperrins. Far and Wild, a social enterprise company specialising in remote outdoor activities, has launched Cycle Sperrins in time for a seasonal surge in tourists to Derry’s rural hinterland. Derry City Council’s promotion of the ‘Discover Faughan Valley’ project through Invest NI and the European Regional Development Fund is supporting Far and Wild and 52 other rural tourism businesses. Lawrence McBride, Director of Far and Wild, said: “As a company developing a range of eco-tourism services in the North West, I am delighted that Far and Wild has launched a new self-guided cycle hire and tour in the Sperrins. “Cycle Sperrins is our first foray into self-guided trips. However the customer will have plenty of support, including a dedicated map comprising route information and a selection of the best places to stay, eat and visit on their three to four day cycle tour.” The tour will take in spectacular landscapes and terrain across Counties Derry, Tyrone and Donegal, starting from Eglinton to Gortin; Gortin to Draperstown; Draperstown to Downhill; and Downhill to Greencastle via the Magilligan ferry crossing.

Investment delivers sales success for Campsie Karting New indoor paintball arena and crazy golf course drives increased sales One of Northern Ireland’s largest indoor karting centres is toasting its success after a programme of investment delivered an 18% increase in sales in the past 12 months. Campsie Karting, Derry~Londonderry expanded its portfolio of leisure and corporate entertainment services with a £100,000 investment in a new state of the art 10,000 sq ft indoor paintball arena and an 18 hole indoor crazy golf course. The significant expansion includes the recruitment of three additional full time members of staff to an existing workforce of 10 full and part time employees, with further recruitment targeted over 2015.

Eamonn Gallagher said: “We have invested heavily in our new 10,000 sq ft indoor paintball arena and an 18 hole indoor crazy golf course to expand our services offering for a range of customers and we reaped the rewards in 2014 with a significant increase in sales and visitor numbers from across Northern Ireland.” Mary Blake, Tourism Development Officer at Derry City Council is thrilled to see this level of growth in business for Campsie Karting: “We are seeing a marked increase in activity tourism and visitors to the rural area seeking action packed days and fun filled nights. Cutting edge activities offer opportunities for groups, individuals and families and Eamonn’s investment is being rewarded by a marked increase in visitors.” 71



Choral Festival

proves to be a commercial success yet again


riginally launched as part of the UK City of Culture 2013 programme of events, the City of Derry International Choral Festival has quickly become established as a major event in the artistic calendar for the year. It has recently announced details of its 2014 festival evaluation, highlighting the growth of the event over the past two years and the large visitor numbers that it attracts to the city during the month of October. The festival enjoyed a hugely successful inaugural year in 2013 as part of the City of Culture 2013 celebrations, with 57 choirs participating from Ireland, the UK, Belarus, Italy and Latvia. Events were centred around the newly refurbished St. Columb’s Hall and surrounding spaces, and attracted an audience of over 3,500 across the four-day festival. Plans for the second edition began immediately after the inaugural festival, and it took place from 22nd – 26th October 2014. The ambition was to create an even bigger and better festival, and the recently completed evaluation report proves that this target was not only met but exceeded beyond expectations.

The extended five-day festival saw 61 choirs (over 2,000 singers) take part in competitions, concerts and workshops as well as expanded choral trails, sacred trails and community concerts in 28 venues right across the city, reaching an audience of over 9,800. Choirs travelled from throughout Ireland and the UK, and from the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Poland and Slovenia to participate in the festival and enjoy the local hospitality and tourist activities on offer. Hotels and hostels throughout the city and as far as Limavady and Buncrana enjoyed the benefits of over 1,500 bednights from participants alone, and audience surveys proved that visitors travelled from throughout Northern Ireland to the city to enjoy the festival programme. The organisers are currently planning for the 2015 festival, due to take place from 21st – 25th October 2015, and they are working to ensure a further increase in participant numbers, an equally exciting and high-quality line-up of guest artists, and a wider-reaching spread of performances throughout the new Derry City and Strabane District Council area.

Artistic Director of the festival, Dónal Doherty, says, “The growth of the choral festival over the first two years has been phenomenal. The reputation of Derry/Londonderry as a ‘City of Song’ is now being recognised throughout these islands and beyond, as demonstrated by this report. Participants and visitors commented on the excellence of the festival, the warmth of the welcome they received, and the beauty of the city and surrounding area. We hope to continue to build on this reputation over the coming years and to establish the City of Derry International Choral Festival firmly on the international choral map”. We are delighted to become members of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce and look forward to working with fellow members to ensure that we continue to develop the festival and the city as an example of choral excellence and a desired destination for local, national and international choirs. The third edition of the City of Derry International Choral Festival will take place from 21st – 25th October 2015. Details can be found at www.


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managing health - enabling business OHRD are a provider of quality, cost effective Occupational Health Services and the only independent in NI to achieve the industry quality mark ‘SEQOHS’ - Safe, Effective, Quality Occupational Health Service. Our headquarters are a state of the art clinic in Belfast City centre. We serve the North West including ROI clients from our Ballykelly clinic and the South West from Enniskillen. All our doctors and nurses are qualified OH practitioners who are highly experienced and customer focused. We already work with public and private enterprises of all sizes, as well as the insurance, pension and legal profession. Dr Tony McGread and Mrs Gayle Currie Administration Manager.

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Healthy and fit

WeightWatchers stands the test of time


eeping healthy and fit is something that most of us try to do. However as many people have found out it is much harder to do in reality. One of the many organisations that have stood the test of time and helped many people in Northern Ireland is WeightWatchers. A world leading weight loss organisation it has now been in Northern Ireland for nearly three decades. Dedicated to helping men and women lose weight, they promote the benefits of healthy eating through information and education. These benefits are realised through their successful worldwide Propoints Plan. WeightWatchers has stood the test of time, using technology, scientists and nutritionists and they have played a key role in many becoming healthier and fitter to be able to tackle today’s daily challenges.


Fitness for Work Medicals: • Sick Absence & Rehabilitation - mental and physical ill health and disability related • Pre-employment - advising on suitability and adjustments • Health Surveillance Assessments - hearing, respiratory, skin, HAVS and eyesight • Pension and Insurances Assessments • Periodic Health Assessments - drivers, confined spaces, at heights • Vaccinations and Travel Health - Hep B, Influenza and others • Drug and Alcohol Testing - Chain of custody test procedures And also : • Risk Assessment e.g. Workstation and workplaces visits • Policies, Procedures and Management Training e.g. Stress, Alcohol, Manual handling • Health Screening and Health Promotion e.g. blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, stress checks

Local Dentist

with Global Clientele


ituated in the tranquil and picturesque countryside at Culmore Point, Whiterose Clinic serves a clientele from around the globe. Multi award- winning dental surgeon Dr Dan McKenna, a well-established and revered dental surgeon, has been operating in Derry for 40 years. You could say that Dr McKenna, alongside his manageress wife, Rose, has devoted his life to Dentistry: providing a broad spectrum of services from basic general maintenance to providing cosmetic Dentistry specialising in oral surgery. Their private purpose built clinic overlooking the River Foyle sees clients from near and far. He has published an array of articles and gained a vast number of diplomas. His impressive array of accolades include the Prize in Children’s Dentistry for his examination performances, First prize in Geriatric Oral Research, Honorary Diploma in Anatomy and the Certificate of Advanced Bone Augmentation from the Royal College of Surgeons England to name but a few. It is clear that Dentistry for Dr McKenna is not

just a job, but a lifelong commitment to the health and wellbeing of his clients ensuring that they are fit, healthy and happy. Gaining a Diploma in Implant Dentistry, a very specialist course, has allowed him to train other Dentists. Whilst explaining the many complex services on offer, Dr Dan McKenna said: “I’m very passionate about what I do, from basic general maintenance to providing cosmetic Dentistry and Oral surgery, it is all about my patient and ensuring that their mouth has a clean bill of health. It is simple as that. Dan also holds a Diploma as a clinical Hypnotherapist. “I’ve a thirst for knowledge and go out of my way to ensure I’ve the most up-to-date and relevant information and techniques to my fingertips. That way I can best serve my clients, who travel from across the globe to Culmore Point. It is a credit to my manageress and wife, Rose, and the team at Whiterose Clinic – their dedication is second to none, and without this would not be possible





Motoring Correspondent, Darryl Campbell, looks at the crossover market for 2015 for Connected. Three new competitors are taking to the busy crossover market later this year; the Mazda CX-3, the Honda HRV and the Renault Kadjar – but which one deserves to crash the Nissan Juke/ Qashqai party and steal the limelight? Firstly, designed by Renault and developed by Nissan, the Kadjar shares the same platform as the Qashqai, thanks to the Renault-Nissan partnership, but with added bulk and a touch of French flair. Being slightly bigger than the Qashqai has benefits in this class, as Renault claim to have an additional 30 litres of storage around the cabin and ups the boot space by an extra 42 litres over its Nissan rival. Renault has a real awareness of their target market, as practical cubby-holes sit well with families wanting a sporty, yet practical and safe urban crossover. Furthermore, the Kadjar comes with an extensive engine line-up, featuring a 1.6 petrol, 1.2 TCE petrol and 1.5 diesel, which is the most economical, offering a claimed 74.3mpg. The trims levels range from the basic Expression + to the mid range Dynamique, topped off with the Signature model. The pricing and specification levels haven’t yet been confirmed, however these are likely to be in line with competitors. Renault is seemingly focusing on safety here, offering; reversing camera, hands free parking, lane departure warning and road sign recognition among others.


Conversely, the CX-3 is based on the relaunched 2 supermini, the CX-3 comes with a six-speed gear box fitted as standard across two 2.0 litre petrol engines and a 1.5 litre diesel engine, the latter probably accounting for most of the UK sales due to low tax and a claimed 70.6mpg. With sharp exterior lines and a BMW-esque revised Mazda grille, the CX-3 is seemingly punching above its perceived class, however, for me, it’s landing a hit. The entry SE model comes packed with extras; a 7 inch touchscreen, cruise control, DAB, Bluetooth, air-con, alloy wheels and heated and electrically folded wing mirrors, whilst higher spec SE-L and Sport models add sat nav and Bose speakers, among others. The SE is enough to satisfy the needs of most, and, being partial to a neat fascia and double leather-stitched details, I’m a fan of the sporty, driver focused interior. With a starting price of £17,595, the Mazda is priced higher than rivals (£4,000 higher than the Juke), however the standard kit is a cut above the rest. Finally, the Honda HRV is perhaps the most refined of the lineup, with a sporty and well-kitted interior that is laden with buttons – perhaps too many. Comparing this interior with that of the Mazda is chalk and cheese, the simplicity of the Mazda jars with the cluttered Honda. It is worth mentioning that the touchscreen interface available on the HRV works on an Android operating system, and has functions such as calendar and calculator (don’t ask me why). The front of the car is muscular and sporty, whilst the rear misses the mark ever so slightly. The rear

A Touchy clusters are too big in comparison with the car’s proportions, if the bottom section was done away with, the car would have a much more sleek look. The engine lineup features a 1.5 petrol and 1.6 diesel engine, and pricing is yet to be announced – however base models are rumoured to start at around £18,000. The model lineup ranges from Comfort, to Sport and the top-spec Executive trim. The Comfort model is the most basic, whilst the Sport and Executive models will gain most of the added tech. Honda are also pushing the safety features, with forward collision detection, lane departure warning and traffic sign recognition bundled under their Advanced Driver Assist package. The already-overpopulated supermini crossover market is laden with carmakers vying for sales. From the Ford Kuga, Vauxhall Mokka to the market leader Nissan Juke, there are already fantastic options to choose from. This market is geared towards families, regularly referred to as cars for ‘dropping the kids off to school’ in. With that said, these cars need to meet high expectations, like Renault has done, balancing a sporty exterior with a premium interior laden with gadgets, gizmos and cubby-holes. The fact that the Honda has relatively no extra space for items in the front could prove a problem for buyers in this market, who will be impressed with Renault’s efforts. With great standard equipment, strong driving dynamics and excellent styling, the Mazda is a great alternative to the popular Nissan models and comes out on top in this group test. The CX-3 has struck a balance between the tech-laden HRV and the much bigger Kadjar, offering the best of both worlds to buyers.



n a country where road safety is paramount, as the number of road deaths soar – why are we putting tech into cars that requires taking our attention away from the road? My problem is not with the touchscreen itself; some cars have touch screens that are standalone (serving one purpose, not switching between different functions). My problem lies with touchscreens that switch between functions and button layouts, meaning that the driver needs to constantly take their attention away from the road. On some platforms, you need to scroll/ click through multiple screens to get to the desired one, a senseless alternative to a button layout that the driver can often use without distracting their eyes from the road. The latest Qashqai, for example, comes with a 7inch touchscreen as standard, much like the Peugeot 208, Volkswagen Golf and the incredible Tesla S, which has an enormous 17inch touchscreen controlling satnav, audio, internet and various car settings. Never have I driven a car with a touchscreen that simplified the driving experience. Sure, these can be great fun when sitting in traffic – but not for our winding Northern Irish roads that demand attention. I’m all for technological advancement, however this seems nonsensical. What difference is there between touchscreens in cars and using your telephone whilst driving? Personally, I’d rather have a conventional button set up than have distracting touchscreen tech any day.


The All-New Volvo XC90 Arriving soon

Bold yet understated, luxurious yet simple – the all-new XC90 is a new breed of SUV. Three engine options – the T8 Twin Engine Hybrid, T6 AWD and D5 AWD – bring you impressive power with unrivalled efficiency, meaning you’ll be making an impact on everything but the environment. Plus, with intuitive in-car technologies including onboard Wi-Fi hotspot, and groundbreaking safety features, you’ll be connected and protected every time you drive. As standard on the XC90: Full Leather Interior, Full 7 Adult Seats, 9” Centre Console Touch Screen with Navigation, Active Bending Headlights LED. Momentum D5 AWD: BHP 225 | BIK% 27 | CO2 149g/km

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New Members Alexander Gourley Ltd Brian McDermott, No Salt Chef CIMA Ireland City of Derry International Choral Festival Co-Funder Connected Talent Eleanor’s Home Bakery EOS NI Ltd Hampson Harvey Solicitors Heaney & Co Accountants Inishowen Tourism Jamn Restaurant Jumplanes NI Ltd KH Chartered Consulting Master Quick Books McCay Solicitors MCL Services Ltd McMahons t/a Robert Keys & Co. Millar McCall Wylie Modern Democracy NIVHA Quinnspares Sooty Olive TerraMar Networks The Prince’s Trust The Vital Project Think People Consulting Ltd Tower Document Storage & Shredding Walled City Brewery

The Final


Sinead McLaughlin, Chief Executive, Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, has the final word… Success is the good fortune that comes from aspiration, desperation, perspiration and inspiration – Evan Esar. American humourist, Evan Esar, published various books on quips and quotations in mid 20th Century and was known for his witty and incisive comments. His quote regarding success no doubt gives rise to the question what is success and how do you achieve it? You’ll also have noticed that the word, ‘aspiration’ was much used throughout the Westminster elections and subsequent debates. Blair stated the Labour Party had to be “for ambition and aspiration as well as compassion and care.” However it was during the post-election debates, where many political commentators sought to interrogate Labour’s failure to inspire voters and said there was a lack of an aspirational content in both their manifesto and election campaign. Whether they are a right or wrong in their analysis, it is not for me to say, but we all know that we need aspiration in order to succeed. Over the past 10 years, I have worked closely with some very successful businesses and entrepreneurs whose aspirations were the motivators that drove them forward to success. Businesses from the North West are trading throughout the world and competing and winning contracts in very competitive global environments – for example, E&I Engineering, 8 over 8, AE Global, Seagate, to name but a few. This region has a good track record but I believe we need to inspire more entrepreneurial activity. There needs to be a collective economical aspiration that both the NI Executive and the Republic of Ireland government buy into. Businesses in all parts of the NW stand ready to deliver prosperity and jobs, but we need to have a fundamental re-think on how we as a region work together in a smarter way. The aspirational role of the public sector is to create a platform for that growth through delivery of the three critical economic levers: Skills, Infrastructure and Innovation. Although skills, infrastructure and innovation are the potential key levers, we, collectively, need to really encourage enterprise rather than just talk about it. We need to truly engage in a meaningful way with wealth creators, for the best way to ‘put more money’ into people’s pockets is to create employment, raise wages, raise skills, raise productivity and drive entrepreneurship and innovation across the business economy. Ultimately we need to get connected. And as Abraham Lincoln said “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”.