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Magazine of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce

ISSUE 3

£2.20/€3.00

FOCUS ON

Energy and Infrastructure Tourism in the North West Pipeline of Talent

ENERGY AND INFRASTRUCTURE Keeping the lights on with SONI’s Robin McCormick


Contents 12

The Green Cat Bakery

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News

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Cover Story

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Infrastructure Investment

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The Brexit Debate

Everglades Hotel Nu Print Technologies

Energy and Infrastructure, Robin McCormick, General Manager SONI

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Brian McGrath, CEO Londonderry Port and Harbour Commissioners

Sinead McLaughlin, Chief Executive Londonderry Chamber of Commerce

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North West Business Awards

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What the Tourism Industry has to offer

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Foyle Maritime Festival

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Patral Group

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Chamber News

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Odhran Dunne, General Manager, Visit Derry

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Local entrepreneur and philanthropist Troy Armour talks business

Learning Pool creates a Pipeline of Talent

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70 Your Business Toolkit 72

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Being CONNECTED Connected, Londonderry Chamber of Commerce’s full colour publication. Designed and produced by business people for business people. Distributed to businesses across the North West. Connected Magazine Editor Jackie Logan Editorial Assistant Amy McGuckian Motoring Correspondent Darryl Campbell Content Editors Sinead McLaughlin Carol Kelly Designer Big Moo Design Printer W&G Baird, Antrim Advertising Mary Miller Email addresses Connected@naked-pr.com mary@londonderrychamber.co.uk Front Cover Image Kelvin Boyes President Gavin Killeen Chief Executive Sinead McLaughlin Business Operations Manager Carol Kelly Membership Recruitment Officer Mary Miller Marketing & Events Coordinator Cathy Kerlin Members Services Executive Laverne O’Donnell t: 028 7126 2379 w: www.londonderrychamber.co.uk   Follow us on:         

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.

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

By the time you read this we should still be in the midst of the Brexit debate or if you’ve lifted a copy to read again then the decision has been made and we are continuing with business as usual or hurtling into the unknown. As a Chamber we’ve conducted several polls and the answer is always a resounding yes – stay in the European Union. As I engage in this conversation with many in the business community it has to be the only answer. What comes to my mind is – better the devil you know than the devil you don’t. But it is about much more than this, our economy and businesses can fail if the right decision is not made. Like any organisation the EU has it frailties but it also has its many strengths and like any business leader it is imperative to work to your strengths and understand your weaknesses. Then and only then will you have a good and successful business model which works. Now that the assembly elections are also over we hope that we will see an effective, working government which will look to putting more jobs in the North West, more investment in the North West and more infrastructure in the North West. With the added addition of a ‘yes’ vote in the EU Referendum we can then finally settle down to get on with business. We only have to turn the pages in this magazine to see what is happening on our own doorstep. Troy Armour of the Patral Group, has achieved so much in business in such a short time, I’m sure like me you’ll be interested to hear his story and how his entrepreneurial acumen has come to bear fruit. Our cover story works well within our theme of infrastructure and energy. Robin McCormick, General Manager of SONI tells us how he has worked in energy all his life and how it is SONI we rely on to ensure we have the electricity supply we need. The biggest debate in this sector currently is the requirement of the North South Interconnector and in truth there should be no debate. The North South Interconnector is the only solution to give companies the ability to expand and grow, thus creating jobs and helping the economy. The Business Awards have taken centre stage in the past few months. To sit in a room full of hard working, diligent people who love what they do and are successful, well what can I say. Well done to all the awards winners but a special mention has to go to Paul McElvaney, who chose to co-found his business, Learning Pool, in the North West. He has done wondrous things in very challenging times and is a shining example of having a vision, working hard, surrounding yourself with talented, good people and with a lot of persistence he has showed us all that anything can be achieved. Our motoring correspondent, Darryl Campbell has been very busy, at the launch of the new Range Rover Evoque convertible as well as the London Motor Show. If you like your cars it is worth the read. This edition continues to highlight all that is good about the North West. So keep reading and stay connected.

Jackie Logan Editor

Chamber Patrons


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President’s Message The Northern Ireland Assembly elections are over and I’d like to formally congratulate all the newly elected MLAs. It’s now time for the politicians’ real work to begin after all we have given them our votes so we are expecting delivery in return. Far be it from me, or the Chamber, to provide the political analysis but commentators in the North West region have been clear what the results mean – voters expect greater delivery.  The Chamber has been forthright in spelling out what we need in the past and will continue to do so.   There has to be a substantial expansion of Ulster University’s Magee campus.  While we regretfully recognise that the increase in size to the agreed 9400 FTE students will not come in one Assembly mandate, expansion must begin soon and the strategic plans must be in place for the full expansion to be fully realised over the next two Assembly mandates. This will have a massive impact on the city not just in terms of the economy but also in providing talent for businesses across Northern Ireland. This must be included in the new Programme for Government. We just have to look at the North West Regional College as an exemplar of what working with the business community can achieve. Their business support centre has given tremendous guidance and support to many local companies and we look forward to it growing and helping many more. There has been further private sector investment in the night time businesses, bars, hotels and restaurants and the tourist offering in this area. This has

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to be welcomed and bodes well for the future but much more needs to be done in the North West by the new local government to match the private sector investment and create a platform which enables the substantial growth of the North West. The North West needs a much improved road infrastructure.  It is unacceptable that it can take two and a half hours to reach Belfast, a mere 70 miles down the road.  It is equally unacceptable that it can take more than four hours to arrive in Dublin, just 120 miles away as the crow flies.  We want fast road connections – and quickly.  With better transport connections and a stronger skills base, our city and region can prosper.  

The role of government is to ensure that business conditions and local policy allows businesses to flourish. But it is not just government’s job to make Northern Ireland work, we need investors, educational institutions, employers and employees to work together for the economic success of all. The Chamber’s members are keen to play their part.  We want others to do theirs – not least by doing more to promote our great region to inward investors.     I am also concerned about the forthcoming EU referendum.  Regions and businesses do not thrive politically nor economically in an atmosphere of uncertainty.  There is real concern in the city and wider region of the impact

that an exit vote could have in the North West and our cross border trading arrangements. The vast majority of our members - 86% - have told us that they wish to remain part of the EU – this is a straightforward business decision.   Whatever happens in the EU referendum, our businesses know that cross-border co-operation has to continue for our region to be strong. We look forward to engaging with our MLAs to discuss these challenges, as we know that by only working together can the North West thrive and flourish.

Gavin Killeen President


Ryanair Launches Derry Winter 2016 Schedule 3 Routes, 300,000 Customers and 200 Jobs

Ryanair, Europe’s No.1 airline, has launched its Derry winter schedule (2016), with 3 routes to Glasgow International, Liverpool and London Stansted, which will deliver 300,000 customers p.a. and support 200* jobs at City of Derry Airport. Ryanair’s Derry winter 2016 schedule will deliver: • 3 routes to: Glasgow International (5 weekly), Liverpool (5 weekly), and London Stansted (9 weekly) • 19 weekly flights • 300,000 customers p.a. • 200* “on-site” jobs p.a. Northern Irish consumers and visitors can choose from three Derry routes in winter 2016 and can look forward to further improvements, as Ryanair continues to grow strongly, while improving its customer experience through the ‘Always Getting Better’ programme, which includes more

new routes, a new app, new cabin interiors and new crew uniforms. In Derry, Ryanair’s Director of Route Development, Kate Sherry said: “We are pleased to launch our Derry Winter 2016 Schedule, with three routes to Glasgow International, Liverpool and London Stansted, which will deliver 300,000 customers p.a. and support 200 ‘on-site’ jobs at Derry Airport. Customers should log onto www.ryanair.com to book.” Commenting on the launch of Ryanair’s winter schedule, Roy Devine, Chairman of City of Derry Airport said: “I am absolutely delighted to welcome Ryanair’s Director of Route Development, Kate Sherry to City of Derry Airport for the launch of their Winter 2016 programme. Ryanair continues to offer our customers here in the North West, low cost air travel to London Stansted, Glasgow International and Liverpool.”

Pictured at the launch of Ryanair’s Derry Winter Schedule is from left, Roy Devine, Chairman of City of Derry Airport, Kate Sherry, Ryanair’s Director of Route Development and Clive Coleman, Regional & City Airports Contracts Director.

Regional & City Airports Contracts Director at City of Derry Airport, Clive Coleman, who also attended the launch said: “City of Derry Airport encourages all travellers within our local catchment to think about flight options from their local airport when making future travel arrangements”. Clive emphasised that air passengers should “Think Local and Book CoDA”. “We have fantastic facilities on our doorstep and it is essential everyone takes advantage of their local airport for their travel to England and Scotland. Approximately 300,000 passengers travelled to and from CoDA in 2015 and we look forward to continuing to serve the local people in our area.” *ACI research confirms up to 750 ‘on-site’ jobs are sustained at international airports for every 1m passengers

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A Different Day at the Office… Getting a feel for the world of work isn’t just something that might be a good idea these days; for students exploring their own career potential and aspirations, it’s an essential part of the learning experience. That’s why ASG & Partners welcomed seven such undergraduates, including six from Magee College, to their Belfast office in April for a slightly different ‘day at the office’. The students had the opportunity to briefly sample life in a fast-paced marcomms business, a space where headlines and deadlines are part of the daily imperative.   It’s over ten years since Peter Spratt, Associate Director at ASG and Visiting Professor in Advertising at Ulster University, worked with the senior academics at the Ulster University Business School to develop what was to become the first pure Advertising Degree on the island of Ireland. A decade later, many of the graduates from that course are helping to shape the brand plans of

Looking to the future were, from left, Peter Spratt, Lucy Spratt (Queen’s University) and from Magee College, Derry, Michael Armstrong, Conor Robinson, Ciaron Brolly, Liam Maguire, Cillian McGuinness and Rachael McGeown.

corporates from Belfast to Bantry. The degree is constantly evolving to maintain currency in one of the fastest changing of all professional sectors, as the relentless surge to Digital environments has re-shaped the face of communication in

little more than a generation. The emergence of the global millennial community, born to browse, presents new challenge, white noise and case study… wonderfully! It’s no longer sufficient to be good to win - you have to be great.

Growing Startups Celebrates Initial Successes Local seed accelerator Growing Startups kicks off this month with a first cohort of four startups starting an intensive 12 week programme, which will help grow from idea to business.

in the North West Science Park and, most importantly, access to a pool of mentors who will be on hand to share learning, experiences and help them develop.

Each of the companies will receive £10,000 in capital, space

Growing Startups is the brainchild of Michael Faulkner, founder of local currency services company Euroxchanger and crowdfunding platform Seedups and Anthony McIntyre, founder of health startup GoWalkTalk and the marketing firm Local Mobile Marketer.

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A call for entrepreneurs was launched in May at Derry City and Strabane Council’s Enterprise week, and the uptake has been impressive - a total of 60 founders and cofounders applying from a range of industries, encompassing technology, traditional manufacturing and also social enterprises. 15 of these companies were invited to interview stage, with four taking

places on this cohort and a further four of the companies committed to the second intake, to take place later in the year. Mr. Faulkner explained the thinking behind starting Growing Startups: “From talking to potential entrepreneurs in the North West, we realised that there was a funding gap for very early stage companies. Growing Startups aims to fill this gap, and equip the entrepreneurs with the tools that they’ll need to succeed, whilst giving them space to test and develop their ideas. “The strength of the first batch of entries shows the potential that we have in the city and in the greater North West. Entries came from the comics industry, financial services, traditional manufacturing, the games industry, medical technology, and the fitness industry, to name just a few.

“The goal is to help stimulate the ecosystem in the North West, and feed these companies into larger support systems, as well as helping them make a mark in key markets such as London, New York and Silicon Valley. One of our international mentors is Mark White, founding partner of San Francisco based law firm White Summers, who can offer our startups space at their Silicon Valley incubation space, Whitespace.” Through the 12 week programme, the startup companies will work in a shared environment, but working with tailored plans focusing on their specific needs, while developing key business skills. Growing Startups mentor pool are seasoned entrepreneurs and investors. Companies will also learn from experienced entrepreneurs, with different frameworks and tools.


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The City of Derry International Choral Festival One of the world’s top choral ensembles, The Sixteen, return to Derry for the City of Derry International Choral Festival this autumn.

The City of Derry International Choral Festival has announced the first guest artist for the 4th edition of the autumn festival, due to take place from Wednesday 19th October until Sunday 23rd October of this year. Following on from the success of their first appearance at the festival in 2014, the world renowned and celebrated The Sixteen will return to Derry for an evening concert as part of the festival programme on Friday 21st October. The Sixteen are a UK-based choir, founded by Harry Christophers CBE in 1977 and hailed as one of the world’s greatest ensembles. The “Voices of Classic FM” have toured throughout Europe, Japan, Australia and the Americas and have been performing at major concert halls and festivals worldwide for more than 35 years. Earlier this year, the festival team launched the brand new 2016 syllabus and opened applications for choirs of all shapes, sizes and styles to participate in the fourth edition of the festival.

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St Nicholas Choir Litija, Slovenia, winners of the 2015 International Competition

Following the outstanding success of the first three festivals, there are already even more ambitious plans for 2016. In addition to all of the familiar elements of previous festivals – the five days of wonderful choral singing comprises of concerts, workshops, choral and sacred trails, competitions and an International Choral Symposium – there will be the opportunity for greater community participation and a wider range of visiting international choirs in 2016. The deadline for entry is 10th June and with over 2,400 singers taking part in last year’s festival, reaching an audience of over 13,500 across the five days, the City of Song will most certainly come to life once again this autumn with the very best that choral music has to offer.

Chamber Choir of the Feliks Nowowiejski Academy of Music, Poland, performing in Foyleside Shopping Centre as part of the 2015 Choral Trail


Foyleside – The Centre of Shopping With over 50 top stores including Debenhams, M&S, Dunnes, River Island, Topshop, Next and H&M, Foyleside is home to the biggest and best retailers in fashion, lifestyle, homeware, health, beauty and entertainment. The centre houses some of the most coveted brands including; Apple, Mac Cosmetics, Oasis, Ugg, Vans, Converse, Warehouse, Phase Eight, Benefit Cosmetics, Coast, Jacques Vert, G Star, Superdry, Urban Decay, Chanel beauty and fragrance, Lipsy and Savida. With over 12 great places to eat and drink including McDonalds, Starbucks and Costa Coffee, there is something for the whole family at Foyleside. The centre’s two multi-story car parks provide approximately 1500 parking spaces with a specialist coach

park facility to cater for up to eight coaches, convenient disabled parking and multiple parent and child bays. The team at Foyleside is dedicated to providing the very best of customer service in the country having won the Retail Customer Focus Award in 2013 and 2014 and the Park Mark Safer Parking Award from the British Parking Association in 2015. Fergal Rafferty, Centre Manager at Foyleside said: “We pride ourselves in making sure that our shoppers are well looked after and have everything they need under one roof. With this in mind we have recently added to our portfolio of services.” Services Dedicated Customer Service Centre (Level 2) Ticketmaster Faxing

Photocopying Safe Child Scheme Lost/Found Property Free Mobile Phone Charging Click & Collect Pay Point Online Gift Card Service Free WIFI throughout the centre Concierge Service Shop Mobility

musical performances, children’s art and craft workshops and family friendly entertainment.

Foyleside is always bustling with activity including fashion shows,

For more information, please visit www.foyleside.co.uk

MEETINGS & EVENTS AT BISHOP'S GATE HOTEL Bishop's Gate Hotel is the ideal place for great minds to discuss great ideas... Perfectly positioned in the heart of the Walled City, Bishop's Gate Hotel provides the ideal venue for all meetings and events. ● Suitable for events from 6 - 90 delegates ● Event spaces boast natural daylight ● Complimentary Wi-Fi access ● 30 bedrooms available for residential delegates

Contact us :

24 Bishop Street, Derry~Londonderry, BT48 6PP t : +44 (0)28 7 1 1 4 0300

e : eventsmgr@bishopsgatehotelderry.com w : bishopsgatehotelderry.com

The centre uses a comprehensive mix of marketing activity to engage with customers including TV, radio, digital marketing including social media, as well as public relations.


The Green Cat Bakery Clare Goodman initially set up The Green Cat Bakery in 2011. From a table at a craft fair in Greysteel selling her cupcakes and cookies to her current premises on Main Street, Eglinton, Clare has created a successful business. Here she tells us more about how she grew the business from concept to its current position.

From selling our homemade goods at craft fairs and events all over Northern Ireland we had built up a customer following which led to us taking orders for cupcakes, cookies and cakes to be delivered. The demand for orders grew to such a degree that I decided to look for premises where the customer could collect their order and we could display some of our cakes. I found Main Street Eglinton and as soon as I walked in my idea went from a place where customers could collect orders to a café. Straight away I could see what a lovely setting this could be. The building dates back to 1836 and its wooden sash windows and original stone wall gives it a beautiful aspect. “Why did you…” as soon as these three words are spoken I know that they will be followed with “…call it the Green Cat.” The name came from an Andy Warhol print that I had over my fireplace in my house in Craigbane, at the foot of the Sperrins for years. It’s the first thing that you see when you come up my drive and someone once called it the Green Cat House so there it is. The café bakery opened its doors in December 2012, with myself, mum and one waitress. Three and a half years later we now employ 15 people. Challenges Our first three years in business has posed many challenges. The learning curve has been steep and I’m so glad to be on the other side of those three years. Like many start-up businesses we grossly underestimated the costs of running a café. Apart from the numerous financial challenges a new business faces, the biggest problem I have faced is the personal challenges running your own business brings. The food industry is such a labour intensive calling, if you ask any chef or baker you will hear the same

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story and it usually involves long hours and physical exhaustion. You need to have a very strong work ethic to succeed in this industry but to watch your business grow beyond any of your expectations makes it all worth it. Our Product We are constantly adding to our product list – we have become just as well known for our savoury menu as our cakes. We have an extensive range of homemade brunch and lunch items too. We are never without a carrot cake on our counter and we were even asked to make a threelayer carrot cake last summer for a wedding. However, no matter what fancy bakes we might have, mum’s traditional homemade apple pie outsells them all. Ethics We so very often get asked “Do you make everything yourselves, here?” The answer is “Yes, we do”. The impressive display of cakes on our counter is all produced by us at The Green Cat Bakery, we don’t buy anything in. That’s what set us apart and that’s what our customers come back time and time again for. Our soups and savoury tarts are all made fresh and with local ingredients, this means we can cook with the season and change with customer demands. We are so excited about the upsurge in the number of local food producers and we try to incorporate them into our own menu. It is important to us to support other small businesses and being able to see directly where our food has come from gives our product a confidence and integrity that we can pass on to our customers. Customer service is really important to us. A quick glance at our Trip Advisor reviews will show you that just as many customers compliment our friendly staff as they do our delicious food. Our commitment to customer satisfaction won us the Local Woman Award for Customer Service in 2015.

The Future Recently we have been excited to embark on a new business relationship to supply our bakery products for the new Brew Bar at Roco along the Quay. The boys at Roco have created a beautiful space where they serve exclusive 3fe coffee along with a range of our cakes and bakes. This is a new concept for us and it has opened up the bakery to a whole new audience. In addition, we are currently devising a range of takeaway goods which will also include all our own chutneys and granola. I’m really excited about the future of The Green Cat Bakery. I feel that our first three years of hard work have built the foundations of a strong, successful business but there is so much more to come and we have so many cakes yet to bake!


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Your waste is our resource Derry native, Fergal Kerr, is a Business Development Manager at RiverRidge Recycling, Northern Ireland’s largest independent waste management company.

RiverRidge Recycling is very proud to be at the heart of business in the North West, providing waste solutions for both the private and public sector alike. Employing over 190 people, the company manages over 360,000mt of waste annually and is comprised of four sites, Foyle, Coleraine, Belfast and Portadown. Fergal has worked in waste management since 1999 and here he talks to us about the importance of recycling and waste management. Can you give us an overview as to what RiverRidge Recycling does? RiverRidge Recycling is a fully integrated waste management company, which has transformed over the last five years from a family-run operation, offering basic waste collection and disposal services, to a dynamic organisation providing customers with technologically advanced waste management services across Northern Ireland.

composition extracted and the residual portion engineered into a quality fuel. What are the benefits to businesses for increasing the amount of waste that they could recycle?

Effective waste management is beneficial to businesses in a number of ways. Not only are businesses contributing to their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) by recycling efficiently, but they are also reaping the financial rewards. It has also never been easier to engage in effective waste management and take advantage of a company that can address all of your waste requirements. Outsourcing your waste management can reduce your costs dramatically. The cost per tonne for the collection and treatment of recycling is often cheaper than the cost per tonne for collection and disposal of residual waste due to the cost of landfill tax. There is no landfill tax in terms of recycling and waste management companies usually pass on this discount meaning that recycling services work out cheaper than waste collection.

The company currently treats waste either directly or indirectly for many of Northern Ireland’s local authorities, over 2,250 private companies and organisations, 250 public sector sites and numerous individual households.

The new food waste legislation, which came into effect on 1st April 2016, means businesses producing more than 50kg of food waste per week will be required to manage this waste stream separate to their general waste. How is RiverRidge Recycling helping businesses?

We offer bespoke waste collection and transport services incorporating a full array of waste collection equipment and techniques and treat a variety of waste types throughout three Material Recycling Facilities. Our treatment process focuses on landfill diversion and as such customers are assured that any waste received is fully treated, the recyclable

Each year households and businesses in Northern Ireland reportedly create over 100,000mt of food waste. At RiverRidge Recycling we manage food waste services for a number of large and small food manufacturing and retail businesses across Northern Ireland. We have always pursued a zero to landfill policy with food waste and are continually

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investigating new and more efficient landfill diversion strategies. With the new food waste legislation coming into effect, we have the correct services and procedures in place to help businesses in the hospitality and food sectors implement the necessary changes to meet these responsibilities. How does RiverRidge Recycling support the local community? At RiverRidge Recycling we are committed to helping and being a part of our local community. We do this by supporting a number of initiatives such as community tidy ups to ensure the local area is kept clean and well maintained, sponsorship of Derry GAA youth development section and of the local Derry marathon, support of local cycling clubs’ charity bike rides, fundraising for our dedicated charity of the year, NI Children’s Hospice including a charity golf day. What does the future hold for RiverRidge Recycling

and waste management as a whole? At RiverRidge Recycling, we are focused on reducing the need for our onsite landfill operation over the next five years via a series of technological investments, which seek to extract the value from the existing waste streams and also to develop alternative uses for any residual waste. As a pioneer in the development of waste derived fuels, RiverRidge Recycling is also the lead partner in a consortium which is developing Northern Ireland’s first large scale energy from waste facility. The £107m facility is currently under construction and is located adjacent to Bombardier’s Wing facility in Belfast. It will be a vital piece of infrastructure for ensuring Northern Ireland effectively addresses its need to develop energy from renewable sources. For more information on the services provided by RiverRidge Recycling please contact Foyle on (028) 7134 7788


EVG Chamber of commerce Advert_AW.indd 1

14/03/2016 17:29


The Everglades Hotel is 40 this year Hotel management want to hear your stories and see your photos as part of their celebrations

One of Derry~Londonderry’s most famous hotels, The Everglades, turns 40 this year, and to celebrate the hotel management is asking people across Northern Ireland to send them any old photos they may have and details of any special memories. The hotel is planning to put some of the best on display as part of their 40th celebrations, explained Neil Devlin, General Manager, Everglades Hotel. “We want everyone across the County, and further afield, to search through their old photo albums and scrap books and see if they can uncover some gems capturing the Everglades Hotel during its 40 year history. I’m sure there will be some fantastic photos

out there and we can’t wait to see them.” Neil continued: “The same too for those who have special memories of the hotel – we would love to hear them. Perhaps someone had their wedding here or other special events that have stuck in their minds? Or had a meal or stay that was really memorable – were you proposed to in the Everglades? With a history spanning four decades we know there must be some terrific memories. “We have been in business since 1976 so it would be great to hear from any of our suppliers and staff who worked with us during this period - they must have some great stories to impart!”

The hotel is planning to put some of the items on display in their reception area. “We plan to put the best, funniest, most touching memories and photos on display where guests from around the world, as well as locals, will get to enjoy them. Each submission will be treated with care and respect.” concluded Neil. If you want to email something in then it should go to Julie Hastings at julie@hastingshotels.com and any memorabilia, artefacts, old brochures or menus, can be posted or delivered to Neil Devlin at the Everglades Hotel, Prehen Road, Derry~Londonderry, BT47 2NS.

21 new jobs at Nu Print Technologies in a £1.4million investment Nu Print Technologies plans to create 21 new jobs, in Londonderry, as part of a £1.4million investment aimed at growing its export sales. Based in Springtown Industrial Estate Nu Print Technologies specialises in the supply of labels to a wide range of industries

such as food and drink and pharmaceutical packaging. Jonathan Bell, the then Enterprise Minister said: “Nu Print Technologies is an innovative business and this significant investment is designed to position the company competitively to

Pictured with the former Minister are (L-R) Chairman of Nu Print Technologies Dr Alan McClure and Managing Director Gavin Killeen.

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succeed in new markets. The creation of 21 jobs here in Springtown, over the next three years, signals the company’s continued commitment to the area. Once in place these jobs will generate £469,000 annually in additional salaries and also help to bolster the manufacturing skills base in the North West. “The company’s investment includes the purchase of new equipment to enable the production of new products and to improve processes and efficiencies. Invest Northern Ireland has also offered £279,000 to support its investment in new technologies and the recruitment of a Product and Process Manager. This has enabled Nu Print Technologies to proceed quickly with its

growth plans and gain the resources and capability needed to grow its sales outside Northern Ireland.” Gavin Killeen, Managing Director of Nu Print Technologies added: “We are focused on diversifying our product offering to make the most of opportunities in the flexible packaging and technology sectors. To do this we have introduced new manufacturing technologies and boosted our capability across a range of labelling activities. “Invest NI’s support is helping us to maintain a competitive advantage in our target markets and scale up our offering to leverage new business. The 21 new jobs to be recruited over the next three years will support our projected growth and help us form a strong team that will drive the business forward.”


Reward them with a Foyleside Gift Available to purchase online or at customer service. Accepted in all Foyleside Stores and restaurants.

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Strabane gives thumbs up to BID

Celebrating the success of Strabane’s YES vote for BID are members of the BID Task team, from left to right Patsy Kelly, Colm Gallagher, Kieran Murphy, Susan Doherty, Liam Stewart, Brian McMahon, Michael Kelly and Catherine Collins.

Strabane has given a firm ‘YES’ to have a Business Improvement District following a vote by local businesses with 95% voting in favour of the scheme. Welcoming the news at a formal event to announce the result of the ballot, the Deputy Mayor Alderman Thomas Kerrigan said the positive response from traders in the town to the Business Improvement District (BID) ballot was “hugely significant” and “a positive move that will see great benefits for Strabane.” A Business Improvement District (BID) is where local businesses raise funds to improve the town centre and its environment. They work collectively identifying priorities, designing and funding solutions with an ultimate aim to increase footfall for trading and bringing tourists

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to their BID area. Speaking after the result was revealed, the Deputy Mayor said Derry City and Strabane District Council were delighted the BID was successful and that businesses and traders were behind the initiative. He said a lot of work has gone on behind the scenes to inform the public about the benefits of the project and to provide support to those involved. He said he was particularly delighted that Strabane recorded the highest voting city in all the BID cities in Northern Ireland and the UK with 95% voting Yes, 98% voting Yes by ratable value.   “This is fantastic news for Strabane and for everyone involved in the campaign. Businesses now have the opportunity to shape Strabane’s future and to benefit from the co-ordinated programme of

marketing, promotions and events support that the BID will give them in addition to greater accessibility, support for town centre businesses through an innovation fund that will bring about greater safety and security, and an improved and cleaner, physical environment.” Catherine Collins, BID Officer with Derry City and Strabane District Council said it’s a very exciting day for Strabane: “Derry City and Strabane District Council is delighted to have been involved in the process and to provide the support necessary to help traders in the town to secure the BID that will ultimately make Strabane a more attractive place to live, work, play, shop and do business. It is also great news for the wider community in that it will allow us to create a more vibrant shopping and tourism hub and

allow us to achieve Strabane’s full potential.” Liam Stewart, Chairman of the BID Strabane Task Team said as a local businessman he is very much aware of the issues facing local businesses in the current economic climate and is confident the BID will ensure a real and lasting difference in making businesses in Strabane more competitive and productive and create a vibrant and thriving town for the entire community. “I am really pleased that we have been successful in securing the BID for Strabane. It is a fantastic coup for the town. It’s up to all the businesses now to step up to the challenge and come together to work in partnership to implement the BID plan for a bigger and brighter future for Strabane,” he added.


Local returns to Northern Ireland as Audit Director Derry native, Bronagh Bourke has recently returned to Northern Ireland as Audit Director with local accountancy firm, BDO Northern Ireland, part of the world’s largest European-led accountancy network, with offices in more than 154 countries worldwide.

Having obtained an LLB Honours degree from Queen’s University Belfast, Bronagh embarked on a career in accounting with a Big Four firm in Dublin. Bronagh believes her law degree equipped her with the ability to ensure client issues are resolved in a pragmatic manner, while also providing a solid foundation for a journey of continued development which resulted in the completion of post qualification diplomas in both IFRS and US GAAP. Firmly acknowledging that the application and communication of the technical aspects of accountancy, whilst important, is only one element in fulfilling clients’ expectations, Bronagh is of the belief that it is the ability to

identify and proactively respond to clients’ ever changing business needs that serves to nurture and strengthen a successful and collaborative working relationship. Currently working within the audit department of BDO NI, Bronagh is keen to differentiate both herself and the BDO offering as a whole from that of a stereotypical accountant. She believes that it is not only through the delivery of exceptional client service that you provide value added to clients, but also by becoming their trusted business advisor. Bronagh has significant experience across a number of sectors, working with entrepreneurial companies in the manufacturing, retail and IT/software sectors. Her current portfolio ranges from small to large locally-owned companies including some as listed in The Ulster Business Top 100.

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Energy and Infrastructure is critical to the future economy of Northern Ireland Robin McCormick, General Manager, SONI (System Operator for Northern Ireland) talks to editor, Jackie Logan, about SONI and keeping the lights on. Like the true originators of electrical innovation, Thomas Edison and Nikolas Tesla, the NI and RoI power infrastructures work concurrently. Edison and Tesla worked together for a brief period of time, although they later found themselves at distinct odds. Imagine the product of the two founders of electrical innovation if it ever came to fruition. That was in the 1880s, today the NI and RoI power grids have come together to work in tandem, but not yet at maximum capacity, however with the planned North South Interconnector, the benefits to customers would be much more substantial. Robin McCormick has worked in the energy business for over 30 years. Graduating from Queen’s University, Robin went to work for Northern Ireland Electricity (now NIE Networks) as an engineering specialist, seeing it through privatisation in 1992/1993 where it was floated on the London Stock Exchange with the power stations sold. SONI, the System Operator for Northern Ireland, was established in 2000 and then sold by NIE to EirGrid in 2009. Robin, originally from South Belfast, took up the appointment of General Manager in 2002. “The electricity system is undergoing a transformation as a result of the growing integration of renewable

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energy and the implementation of broader technological innovation. The development of renewable energy sources in the electricity sector is on the rise. In NI and RoI there is a commitment to increasing the level of renewable electricity on the power system to 40% by 2020 – that in itself is quite a challenge.” SONI is working with many on shore wind operators and other renewable operators who all play their part in supporting the energy infrastructure, but SONI is also responsible for managing the electricity supply and demand in real time and controlling flows of power on the transmission system. Speaking from the Control Centre in Belfast, Robin explains; “Our control room operates 24/7. Electricity isn’t stored and we schedule, dispatch and turn on and off renewable and traditional generators using highly technical data and software tools to navigate Northern Ireland’s grid. We have to look at what future electricity demand might be and meet that need accordingly. Permanently manned by two or three professional engineers, we work every day to ensure that consumers get a reliable electricity supply at the best possible wholesale cost.”

agreements in place which retain generation to guarantee demand is met. The North South Interconnector is seen as the critical piece of infrastructure which will negate these costs and ensure that Northern Ireland has a security of supply. Robin continues, “It’s very simple, the market needs to operate as efficiently as possible. Currently the temporary agreements are costing the consumer directly but there are further savings to be made with the introduction of the North South Interconnector which connects the high voltage electricity systems between Northern Ireland and the Republic. The project, which runs from South Tyrone, into Armagh and across the border is currently with the planning authorities, North and South. “If the Interconnector was in place there would be additional savings, possibly as much as £14m per year by 2020, rising to up to an estimated £45m by 2030. Along with these savings it is essential that we meet the demands of our growing economy and I know it is crucial to businesses in the North West and indeed across all of Northern Ireland, that there is a secure electricity supply to allow them to invest and expand.”

Part of that cost is an annual direct charge to the NI “This industry is changing on consumer of circa £8m. This a magnitude never been seen is due to the temporary before. The introduction of a new single wholesale electricity market in 2007 was a pivotal project; two governments, two regulators, two systems, and two regulated utilities, all to deliver benefits to the customer. A new wholesale market I-SEM in 2017, will transform how market participants do business. The North South Interconnector is then the next step which will ensure security of supply and allow the NI economy to continue to grow.”

SONI has become much more visible given the need to engage with many of their stakeholders particularly around the Interconnector. This is in addition to opening a drop in office in Armagh so that landowners and communities have an immediate point of contact to directly engage with. Many may not even be aware of SONI or the proposed North South Interconnector, but as Robin says it has a wider and strategic importance to Northern Ireland. “With a focus on energy costs, energy can quickly transition from headache to migraine for businesses across the island of Ireland, and innovation is the answer. We are responsible for a safe, secure and sustainable supply of electricity, now and in the future. “Investment, job creation, a secure electricity supply, customer savings and business growth are part and parcel of why the North South Interconnector is vital. We have to keep the lights on otherwise we’ll end up working in the dark in more ways than one,” concludes Robin McCormick. Perhaps we should all be more like Edison or Tesla and innovate to create that spark, or in this case, an Interconnector. After all, the consequence of Edison’s Lamp was a lighting industry that quickly spread across towns and cities, resulting in the creation of a national grid.


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Infrastructure investment essential for the future of our economy By Brian McGrath,

CEO of Londonderry Port & Harbour Commissioners

It was pointed out to me in conversation with Professor Robert Gavin, the eminent historian and former provost of Magee, that the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce was established in the early 19th century to counter the influence of the Derry Harbour Commissioners. We enjoy a much better relationship these days and I am pleased, as a member of the Chamber Board, to speak for them on infrastructure matters. While there are many complex problematic economic and social factors which need to be addressed in the Northwest, the Commissioners are firmly of the belief that our future prosperity will be reliant on the region having modern infrastructure that acts as a platform for industrial and social development.

The Commissioners operate as a self-financing independent statutory body with a fiduciary duty to reinvest profits for the benefit of generations of future stakeholders. This Trust Port model has served port users and the local economy well for more than 160 years. Foyle Port has already established a central role in supporting the local economy through the successful delivery of our strategic plans which have led to the attraction of private investment in major infrastructure developments within the 100 acre port land bank. In fact, around £100m of private investment has flowed

into the port in the last ten years, including the first oil terminal to be constructed in Ireland for 50 years and the first renewable energy power station to be located in a UK port. This deal represented an investment in the region of £81m into the local area and is helping Northern Ireland achieve its Carbon Reduction Footprint targets. Another project, the purpose-built £18m LSS Oil Terminal, is Ireland’s largest independent sea-fed oil import and distribution terminal, with storage capacity of around 100,000 tonnes for products which previously had to come by road from Belfast or Dublin. According to independent experts, some £1bn worth of commodities come through the port every year, including Biomass from the UK, Chinese plywood, oil from Norway, coal from South Africa and Columbia and animal feed and fertilizer that supports 20,000 regional farms. The port directly employs more than 110 people, with a further 1000 jobs supported by the port’s activity. We see the potential to build on these successes and we intend to further increase the harbour’s importance as a Regional Gateway. We are working closely with Derry and Strabane District Council, Donegal County Council and other stakeholders on maritime projects such as the Foyle Maritime Festival and the development of the regional cruise and tourism product. The Port’s management has embarked on a significant

diversification programme which seeks to offer external services such as dredging and engineering consultancy to other ports and private customers in Ireland and the UK. This provides valuable revenue streams which can help protect the organisation from the ebb and flow of economic peaks and troughs. However, while we have achieved successes, it has been clear for many years that the state of regional infrastructure is a major limiting factor in the decision making of potential investors into the Northwest.

The Port has long been lobbying for big investment in the A5 “Western Corridor” route and the A6 between Derry and Belfast. We welcome the recent political announcements that funding is to be allocated for those projects, but that shouldn’t be the full extent of the Government’s investment. To sell the Northwest to investors we need substantial investment not only in our roads network to facilitate easier haulage and distribution of products, but also a similar quantum of investment into the security of electricity networks in the region. The North South Interconnector is of vital strategic importance to Northern Ireland and is urgently required to ensure we have enough electricity supply to meet demand in the coming years. From an industry point of view, it is one of the most important planning applications under consideration in Northern

Ireland and its delivery should be a priority for government at all levels, including the Stormont Executive. For our part we are working hard to ensure that the work of the Northern Ireland ports forms a key part of any future programme for government. As a small port we have to work harder to be commercially innovative and we are always looking to improve, evolve and grow. We are particularly concerned about uncertainties surrounding the Brexit debate at this time. We are located on the European frontier and would be concerned that any increase in bureaucracy or red tape will impact on our regional competiveness. The free cross border movement of agriproducts is of particular importance to us and it is hard to see how exiting the European Union would be of benefit to the port’s stakeholders. My hope is that Government at a local and national level will recognise that regional prosperity requires the delivery of better joined up infrastructure as a prerequisite to economic growth. The Harbour Commissioners intend to continue to leverage added value from port assets and to continue to support our customers and the development of the regional economy.

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Why Communication is Key The influential 20th century Amercian psychologist Carl Rogers is best known for creating his person-centred approach which places the individual in control of the therapeutic process. He believed “the only person who is educated is the one who has learned how to learn and change”.

I have had a lifelong interest in people and how they develop to become who they are. In recent years I have become an enthusiast for the ancient wisdom of The Enneagram, a model of nine personality types. Both Roger’s theory and The Enneagram can be applied to developing communication skills, leading in turn to better relationships in every situation, including the workplace. So what does it have to do with you? In the first place, awareness is always an advantage. If a man is sitting fishing by a river and there is a lion coming up behind him, he doesn’t stand a chance if he is not aware of its presence!  It is the same for self awareness and relationship skills. People usually refer to these as the ‘soft skills’, and I understand why.  However, I want to argue that looking honestly at yourself to acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses is one of the most difficult things to do.  It is easier either not to know or to live in a fantasy.  Move this forward into relationships and patterns of communication and it becomes complex and demanding. So why do it? Well, awareness is always an advantage.  Good communication is of the essence of life.  People need to be acknowledged and recognised.  People need to be appreciated.  People need to be heard.  If they are not they feel that they don’t matter and will lose interest.  Good communication means that people feel valued and appreciated. Even if their ideas are not adopted, at least someone has taken the time to listen to them and to explain why.  

results will have an impact on our society for generations. Companies are going to have to be flexible in their response and marginal gains will matter.  Businesses where staff are engaged and motivated, where morale is good, where people feel that they matter will have an advantage.   Communication skills lie at the centre of this. To those who assume that their abilities in this area are good - there is always room for improvement.  

When people feel that they matter, they become more involved, more engaged, will be more willing to put in discretionary effort and so productivity rises. Morale will improve and they will enjoy the workplace more.  We are human beings after all, and human beings have feelings and thoughts and ideas and all of these need to be recognised.  

Communication can be broken down into various components and different aspects can be analysed. Strengths can be maintained and weaknesses can be improved.  It’s like breaking golf down into its different areas and then analysing each part closely.  When you communicate, how good are you at opening a conversation? How good are you at asking insightful questions?  Or at listening - really listening - to the answer.   How efficient are you in giving positive and negative feedback?   Each one can be improved. Marginal gains.  

So why does this matter? Well, we live in a very competitive world where margins are tight. At present we are moving towards the Brexit referendum, one of the most significant events which many of us will see.  The

In a command and control system of management, people are like snooker balls. The skill of good communication lies in striking the cue ball with the appropriate force and at the precise angle to strike the next ball accurately.  It, in turn will do the

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same, and so on and so on. A cascading effect of angles and force.  Command and control. If we begin from a different place, recognising organisations, large and small, to be complex adaptive systems where unpredictability is central, we need a more subtle model.  I am unpredictable.  I vary from day to day.  So do you.  So does everyone else.  So good communication is not about angles and force, it is about listening and responding.  It is about allowing the system to flex and bend and adapt and create.  And then about responding to the system, and influencing it in turn. And so in returning to the words of Carl Rogers, the key to your success is pre-determined by your ability to learn and change. None of this is easy to do.  But small improvements, slight adjustments, and insightful analysis will bring about marginal gains.  When they are added together they contribute to a more engaged, more flexible and more motivated organisation. For more information on how to improve your communication skills and for executive coaching please contact me at info@purviscampbell.com


Altec Renewables Help Deliver Savings with Solar DA Forgie’s premises complete with Altec Renewables solar panels.

Chamber member and farm equipment supplier, DA Forgie, has invested in solar panels to provide an alternative power source for its business. The Limavady based business used local supplier, Altec Renewables, which is the largest renewable energy firm in the North West, to provide and install the panels. Mr Forgie from DA Forgie said; “With the installation of the solar panels, we have experienced considerable savings which has freed up money to spend on other areas of the business. Through the incentives provided by Altec Renewables, we are also generating a second year round of income from our use of the solar panels.”

Having installed almost 30,000 solar panels throughout the North West, Altec Renewables prides itself on putting the customer first and have positioned themselves at the forefront of the renewable energy market. Darrel Mc Cauley, Managing Director for Altec Renewables commented; “The local business community is best placed to take advantage of Solar PV because of the large roof areas available on offices, stores and workshops. There are many benefits associated with switching to solar energy such as savings and earnings which domestic, agricultural and commercial businesses can take advantage of.

“With installation prices at an all-time low, we would encourage businesses to install now and beat the impending reduction in the Government’s NIROC subsidy scheme on 1st October 2016. If installed prior to 1st October, you will be locked into the higher three ROCs for 20 years. As well as the ROCs subsidy and annual savings, Solar PV offers a reliable, secure and low-risk investment for everyone with a return on investment of over 20%.” So now is the time to do your bit for the environment, take control of your energy bills and increase your energy independence.

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The Brexit Debate

Sinead McLaughlin, Chief Executive of Londonderry Chamber of Commerce writes

Chamber members have demonstrated a strong interest in the Brexit debate. So far the Chamber has carried out two polls of members – and we will conduct more as the referendum date draws nearer. While UK-wide opinion polls show a close race, the situation is very different here. In our second poll, the vote was 86% to remain in the EU, with just 11% wanting to leave and a mere 3% undecided. Our proximity to the border and our members’ strong cross-border trading arrangements are obviously important factors in their views. Northern Ireland is self-evidently the most exposed part of the UK to a possible Brexit. Some 60% of NI’s exports are within the EU, with 38% of exports going to RoI. By comparison, just 45% of UK exports are to the EU. In

other words, the Republic of Ireland is almost as

important to NI as a market as the whole of the EU is to GB. This is even more true in a border region such as ours. Moreover, NI is the UK region benefiting most from EU membership. In the last five years, 86 EU investment projects in NI have created over 2,000 jobs. The EU’s recognition of us as a region requiring special assistance has meant that we have received billions of pounds in funding through regional, peace, agricultural and social programmes. In total, NI has received more than £1.5bn through EU programmes since 1994. Foreign direct investors have indicated that EU membership has been an important factor in choosing NI as an investment destination. As a result, NI has attracted investment from within the EU, the US and elsewhere. Some 25 new investors were attracted to NI in the last year alone, several specifying that access to the single market was a key factor in their decision. As part of the EU we have trade agreements in place with 53 countries: just what will happen to these if we leave? While a lower corporation tax offering will be attractive to many international investors, it is difficult to believe that as many will find NI attractive without the pull of easy access to the European single market. NI needs to remain within the EU if we are to deliver growth, jobs and prosperity for our region. For many, the key concern about EU membership is not about economics, it is about politics. For them the key two issues are sovereignty and migration. Yet, with NI’s difficult history of divided loyalties and the conflict of identity between the UK and Ireland, our relationship with the EU has been a political strength for us. The EU has helped us navigate our path to peace and for most people the ambiguities of our associations with the UK, Ireland and the EU have been a positive, rather than a negative. Any move away from those current, ambivalent, relationships could be uncomfortable, perhaps dangerous.

powerful than the major multinational corporations – and that would remain true after we leave the EU. Interdependence not independence is the real prevailing force. In the opinion polls, migration seems to be a dominant factor amongst the ‘leave’ supporters. Perhaps, again, our perception is different from that in GB. Our border today presents us with opportunities, not fears. Our region has too few skills. We need immigrants: whether from the highly qualified labour market in the RoI for our software and IT companies, or the East Europeans that our factories need, or the many Asians, Africans and East Europeans who keep our hospitals going. Our economy is dependent on immigrants and many of our employers would be in a desperate situation without them. Of course, many of the Chamber members have expressed anxiety about the future: we do not know what our lives will be like outside the EU. In particular, what would happen to the border? Would it continue as a ‘soft border’, much as it is today? Would there be a ‘hard border’ for trade, requiring customs documentation for goods being traded between Derry and Donegal? Would there be passport controls, to prevent EU and other nationals entering the UK through the RoI? Even Brexit campaigners have been inconsistent and unclear about what border arrangements they expect would follow a ‘leave’ vote. So it should be no surprise that so many businesses that are located near to the border are giving a clear ‘No to Brexit’.

Of course, it is understandable that people want national sovereignty and independence – but it needs to be recognised that our peace has been built on a diffusion of that sovereignty. Moreover, in the world of globalised trade, it is questionable whether any individual nation has real sovereignty or independence. Nations today are less

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Connectivity is the Key to Growth

That’s according to Toni Forrester, Chief Executive of Letterkenny Chamber. In recent months and steadily over the past year, prospects for local businesses in Donegal have improved, particularly in the commercial urban centres such as Letterkenny. All sectors are experiencing an increase in business and there is a notable improvement in consumer and business confidence. However, as the economy grows we must guard against complacency. Our SMEs have experienced many economic issues over the past seven years and are still facing challenges today, such as unreliable connectivity. Recently, connectivity has moved up the agenda in terms of issues that need to be addressed and it is important that we continue to lobby for increased and improved connectivity in the North West. We now expect every business to have a web presence that is mobile friendly. We expect ecommerce websites and we expect social media activity. Those businesses that

are working this way and have invested are ahead of the game and will continue to embrace more and more media channels in their efforts to remain competitive and gain new markets. It is paramount that we encourage more businesses to embrace digital connectivity as it is key to real economic growth in the North West. Our members will often hear us on the subject of roads infrastructure and the need for lobbying for improvements is far from over. However, they will be less familiar with our conversations on the need for major improvements in broadband and mobile infrastructure. If you live and work in an urban centre, broadband speeds are adequate. If you are one of the larger companies it will be excellent but with all the announcements regarding high speed broadband we still have many blackspots. Fibre may have reached the cabinets but the speed decreases when copper is used for the last piece of the jigsaw. If you live in a rural area in Donegal the situation is much worse so people operating businesses or those who want to work from home can encounter serious difficulties. A new solution has been provided by SIRO, a company formed by ESB and Vodafone, which has just recently launched its network in Letterkenny. SIRO is delivering Ireland’s first 100% fibre optic broadband network. Its uniqueness lies in the fact that there is no copper connection at any point so businesses, consumers, schools and all types of organisations can avail of a 1 GigaBit internet connection. It will transform the experience of SMEs, remote workers and consumers. This is a game changer for the town and we know that vendors will soon be offering affordable packages to businesses and consumers alike. This new service and ones that have gone before, such as the Metropolitan Area Network and Project Kelvin, means that Letterkenny, as the county’s main urban centre, is well connected. However, as a regional Chamber we need to see this expanded across the whole of Donegal. We only have to go a few miles before broadband speeds decrease dramatically.

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It is hoped that the National broadband roll-out, supported by the Irish Government, will be completed in 2017 and it cannot come soon enough. The technology used to connect rural Ireland must be affordable, resilient and high speed to enable rural Donegal to enjoy the same connectivity as the town centres. The meteoric rise in mobile phone usage and, in particular, smart phones means we always expect to be connected. However, all who live and work close to the border understand the frustration of roaming charges and the lack of consistent signal. They understand the frustration of a call dropping mid-sentence or of finding they are on the wrong network and ramping up expensive roaming charges. While on a very simple level this is frustrating, it is also costing businesses money and time. The Wild Atlantic Way has been a huge tourism success so far and is attracting more and more visitors to the west coast. Part of the branding is that we encourage our visitors to instantly communicate their experience with the world as they interact with places and people. Visitors from UK, France, Germany and the US come to discover the signature points, discovery points and hidden gems along the west coast and, in the age of Instagram and social media, we must be able to offer the necessary connectivity there and then. As we travel across the county and talk to our businesses, we see huge disparities in mobile signals. Providing affordable high speed broadband and a strong mobile signal in rural areas will always be a commercial challenge but it is a necessity, not a luxury. The border is invisible in many ways except when it comes to mobile roaming. We have had many promises on abolishing roaming charges but have yet to see it in reality. Mobile technology will continue to develop so it is imperative that mobile coverage is greatly improved. Improve connectivity, make better connections and encourage growth to make the North West work better all round.


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A Vision to Transform Public Transport in Northern Ireland There is global evidence that as cities become more urbanised and aided by technology, we are moving towards a shared mobility model, an integrated transport proposition that uses technology to knit public transport together with other modes – walking, cycling, car sharing, taxis and anything else you can think of. Public transport touches the lives of everyone in Northern Ireland, not just those that use our services. It is clearly crucial for our region’s future to develop and grow. Over 1.6million Translink passenger journeys are made every week enabling people to get to work, access education, health services, shops, social activities and more. Independent research shows that customer satisfaction remains positive and service quality is good. We have an ambitious vision to transform public transport where it will be the first choice for travel in Northern Ireland, growing passenger numbers through a clear focus on our customers and delivering service excellence through our people.  Research from the International Association of Public Transport, shows that capital investment in public transport sparks a chain reaction in economic activity up to three of four times the initial investment, enabling and promoting urban densification and greater urban productivity. We are working on a number of transformational projects for investment in public transport infrastructure, vehicles and quality of service for public transport users.    Successful delivery of these projects will contribute significantly to the social development and economic wealth of Northern Ireland. We want to engage with

Chris Conway,

Translink Group Chief Executive writes

all stakeholders to demonstrate the value of public transport and to deliver our vision. Rail Developments A Network Utilisation Strategy has been developed to scope potential fleet enhancement in order to increase passenger capacity on the network. As part of this strategic review, we are considering the options to increase our rail fleet. Work continues to progress on the second phase of the major £46.4million  Derry/ Londonderry to Coleraine Phase 2 Renewals works. New extended platforms recently completed at Bellarena Train Station can accommodate 6-car trains allowing us to meet the demands of further local rail customer growth. This project will secure the line’s operation for the future and improve on current levels of safety, frequency and reliability. Work is scheduled to be substantially completed by the end of 2016. A Derry~Londonderry Rail Station project is also being developed to act as an important transport gateway in the North West. Bus and Coach Developments We have grown Goldline express coach travel by over 50% in the last decade by offering fast, frequent and good value services.  To build on this we have

invested in a high spec fleet including 12 new Double Decker coaches for the popular 212 Goldline Derry~Londonderry – Belfast service that now carries 800,000 passengers every year. We also continue to review service enhancements having recently introduced additional services for our North West customers. Ulsterbus services continue to work with other shared mobility service providers in health, education and community transport in order to deliver rural services more cost effectively and create links to the Ulsterbus, Goldline and rail networks. Technology & Ticketing Developments Our priority is continued enhancement towards more accurate, individual and easy to use information about all our services to keep our customers connected. The Translink website has around 1.2million visits per month with over 70% of these on a mobile device.  Our social media presence also continues to grow delivering customer information to our 80k plus followers. Innovative ticketing solutions with a focus on integration, flexibility and convenience play an important role in attracting more people on-board Translink services. Enhancements such as the acceptance of contactless payment cards on-bus, e-purse payments, ticket vending machines at bus and rail stations and key stops, gated rail stations, online/app ticket purchases and smartcard top-ups are all planned over the next few years. The Way Forward We are committed to investing in transformational projects that will ensure Translink services continue to innovate in line with the changing demands of our society and passenger growth; these will give Northern Ireland a competitive edge and help to attract business and tourism, a key driver for job creation, social development and economic wealth. Our aim is to work innovatively, taking a collaborative approach with all our stakeholders to help Northern Ireland prosper and to enhance the quality of life for all our citizens by providing excellent bus, coach and train services. We hope you will ‘Get on board’ with us. Let’s go together. Twitter:  @Translink_NI  #GetonboardNI Web:     www.translink.co.uk

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Powering our low-carbon future Over the next five years the energy industry will need to be innovative if it is to help Northern Ireland make the transition to a low carbon future, says Stephen Wheeler, Managing Director, SSE Ireland. With the international response to climate change stepping up through the COP21 Agreement and the negotiation of EU 2030 targets, it is clear that Northern Ireland will have a role to play in seeking to further decarbonise its economy. The global destination has been chosen, however we have a number of choices to make about how we, as a society and those of us in the energy industry, want to get there. In making these choices we need to be mindful of the energy trilemma to balance sustainability, affordability and security of supply. The forthcoming Stormont Executive review of the Strategic Energy Framework to 2020 and development of an energy strategy to 2030 presents the opportunity to develop a vision and roadmap for Northern Ireland, including the North West. We have been successful to date in greening our energy supply. The carbon intensity of our electricity supply has reduced by almost 25 per cent since 2004, and that has the potential to deliver FDI dividends. Large international tech investors are now making hard investment decisions to locate multimillion pound data centres in locations where they can access green power sources. Latest estimates suggest this ‘green data centre’ push could add up to 1GW to renewable energy demand on the island of Ireland in the next five years, representing a significant investment opportunity which we should be seeking to exploit. Since we entered the Northern Ireland energy market in 2008, SSE has helped to transform the energy market here becoming the largest provider of wind power to homes and businesses and investing over half a billion pounds so far in Northern Ireland’s energy future. Here in the North West we have launched plans to add to our existing 88MW wind farm portfolio – including

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our Slieve Kirk Wind Park in Co. DerryLondonderry, the region’s largest single wind farm – with an exciting development pipeline of green energy projects already under construction or in planning. Within two years we will add another 50MW of wind power generation to our operational portfolio. In Co. Tyrone we are currently constructing the 32MW Tievenameenta Wind Farm, due to be commissioned in 2017, while in the same county construction is due to commence on the 18.8MW Slieve Divena II Wind Farm. Building on this construction pipeline SSE has plans for a £150million, 36-turbine wind farm development at Doraville in the Sperrins, a planning application for which is currently before the Department of the Environment. If approved, the wind farm could generate 115MW of green electricity, with the potential to power around 85,000 homes. Despite this progress in greening our energy supply, Northern Ireland faces a number of key challenges if it is to achieve the required transition to a low carbon future, most prominent in the agriculture, heat and transport sectors. Given the contribution of agriculture to overall emissions in Northern Ireland, the difficulty of reducing those emissions, and the dispersed rural nature of our settlement patterns, we

“Since we entered the Northern Ireland energy market in 2008, SSE has helped to transform the energy market here becoming the largest provider of wind power to homes and businesses and investing over half a billion pounds so far in Northern Ireland’s energy future.“

believe that a cost-efficient and reliable choice to decarbonise the economy is to electrify heat and transport. By so doing, we can extend the progress already made in greening our power supply to go further by using electricity as a workhorse for the decarbonisation of heating and transport. We know that energy costs are crucial to our customers, and it’s important that Northern Ireland decarbonises in the most cost-effective way. This means carefully considering the type of projects built. Onshore wind has been a great success across the island of Ireland given our abundant wind resource and its relative low cost of deployment. Other technologies and innovative means will need to be considered including our offshore wind resource, solar, and wave and tidal as they develop. We will also need to optimise the generation and grid assets we already


have in place. This can be delivered through both battery storage and the co-location of further renewables at existing generation sites. It’s also important to ensure that grid and system services allow generators to reach their potential output. At SSE, we’re optimistic that policy, regulation and the new all-island Integrated Single Electricity Market (ISEM) design will work together to provide the stability and pathway necessary to deliver this vision. Considering the time it takes to plan and construct projects, 2030 is not that far away; indeed, we’re entering the ‘home straight’ towards achieving our 2020 target of 40% renewables. The ability to harness and maximise our use of these resources cost-effectively will also require a concerted effort on the demand side. In this digital era, customers are becoming much more empowered to engage with their energy use, something we at SSE Airtricity are making a difference towards facilitating.

As one of the largest energy providers in the all-island market and as a ‘digital-first’ supplier, SSE is leading the charge in supporting the integrated omni-channel customer. Around 70% of all SSE Airtricity customer interactions are performed via the company’s award-winning online, digital and mobile service platforms. On the technology side, many exciting products are coming to the marketplace. SSE is currently involved in the Real Value pilot project with a number of partners. This project, co-funded by EU Horizon 2020, uses the most modern and efficient Glen Dimplex storage heaters, combined with advanced ICT, to store energy when it is cheapest and greenest without interfering with the operation of the heating system within the home. We believe Real Value will demonstrate the capacity of small scale in-home energy storage systems to reduce costs for customers and optimise use of renewable energy. On a more fundamental level, the simple energy

efficiency measures we are delivering not only reduce customer costs but also increase the effectiveness of heating systems. We will also need to ensure that we develop our transport infrastructure in a manner that enables electrification of our public and private transport fleet and our own personal vehicles. Not only will this reduce oil dependency, it will also deliver further noise and pollution benefits, particularly in urban areas. Over the next five years and beyond, the energy industry will need to focus on innovatively building relationships with customers, supporting them to become more active in monitoring and managing their energy use, and utilising our green achievements to date to decarbonise our economy cost-effectively. In doing so, we can deliver a solution that enables Northern Ireland to sustain a growing low-carbon economy and benefits society as a whole.

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The North West Business Awards 2016 A wonderful night was had at the City Hotel in Derry-Londonderry, the setting for the 2016 North West Business Awards as many business men and women attended the annual business awards.

Malachy Connor, Kieran Connor, AE Gobal, Eugene Kearney, Bank of Ireland UK, Business of the Year

This year the well-established and popular Derry Business Awards were extended to cover the whole of the North West including Donegal and Strabane and it saw a record number of entries from across the region.

The room was full of winners as they attended the most prestigious ceremony in the North West. Some of the best known businesses in the area were among the winners, AE Global won Business of the Year, and Paul McElvaney from Learning Pool, was awarded Entrepreneur of the Supported by Bank of Ireland UK and Year. organised and hosted jointly by the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce Recognising the quality and talent of local and the City Centre Initiative, the Awards businesses the Awards highlighted many are a very public acknowledgement and sectors in the North West from export to celebration of the quality of the best local tourism. enterprises in the region. On winning the Business of the Year The event began with the Chamber’s Award, Kieran Connor, MD of AE Global President Gavin Killeen welcoming all said; “I’m totally shocked and delighted those present and stating that the judges that AE Global won the Business of the had a difficult job to actually choose a Year. We are very proud to be associated winner as a number of categories were with the Derry Chamber given that we are highly contested. located in the North West. We are growing

exponentially and as a result we have opened an office in London as we strategically target business in GB.” Paul McElvaney, MD of Learning Pool, was awarded the Entrepreneur of the Year. He said; “This is further recognition for Learning Pool and the team. I am somewhat surprised to receive Entrepreneur of the Year but I can assure you it is a very welcome award, particularly as it is from the North West Business Awards. We’ve had a tremendous 2016 to date and as Learning Pool intends to grow substantially over the next five years this added recognition will only serve to drive us forward.” The Growth through Export Award was presented to Sean McNicholl, MD of Sphere Global. He said; “Sphere Global

#LetsConnectNI for growth bankofireland.co.uk/business Bank of Ireland UK is a trading name of Bank of Ireland (UK) plc. Registered in England & Wales (No. 7022885), Bow Bells House, 1 Bread Street, London, EC4M 9BE.

Northern Ireland’s Enterprise Bank


is very pleased to have won the Growth through Export award. The North West awards highlight the potential in the North West and what businesses can actually do!” The North West showcased all that is successful and unique. Ian Crowe, City Centre Initiative, added; “Through this, our 11th Business Awards, and first ever awards which are open to the North West Region, we wish to acknowledge the hard work, excellent service and ultimately, the benefit to our city gained from our superior business establishments and service providers. “Our grateful thanks also goes to our generous sponsors, whose support made the night possible.” Gavin Killeen, President, concluded that the night was about celebrating success and taking the time to do just that.

Paul McElvaney, Learning Pool, Anthony Mulligan, Flogas, Entrepreneur of the Year

Best Tourism Event or Initiative Sponsored by: DSV Solutions Ltd

CULTÚRLANN UÍ CHANÁIN

North West Craft Industry of the Year Sponsored by: Londonderry Inner City Trust

JOHN PAUL COUTURE

North West Pub of the Year Sponsored by: BHP Security Solutions

THE BENTLEY

North West Restaurant Sponsored by: Derry City and Strabane District Council of the Year

WALLED CITY BREWERY

North West Guest Accommodation Sponsored by: Northside Shopping Centre Provider of the Year

THE BELFRAY COUNTRY INN

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Outstanding Contribution to Sponsored by: Richmond Shopping Centre CITY OF DERRY INTERNATIONAL Arts and Culture CHORAL FESTIVAL Highly Commended – Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company

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Excellence in Innovation Sponsored by: North West Regional College HUNTER APPAREL SOLUTIONS LTD Highly Commended – Arbarr Energy Storage Technologies

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North West Creative Industries Sponsored by: Foyleside Shopping Centre ALLEY CATS FILM AND TELEVISION of the Year Highly Commended - Wurkhouse

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Growth through Export Award SPHERE GLOBAL UK Highly Commended – TerraMar Networks Ltd

MBA Excellence Award Sponsored by: Ulster University KEVIN HIPPSLEY, GUILDHALL PRESS

Best Use of Digital/Social Media Sponsored by: BT

MCGRORY’S HOTEL

North West Retailer of the Year Award Sponsored by: Derry News CILENTO DESIGNER WEAR

Professional Services Award Sponsored by: Derry Youth and Community Workshop HMD ARCHITECTS LTD Highly Commended – Connected Talent

Entrepreneur of the Year Sponsored by: Flogas

PAUL MCELVANEY

Business of the Year Sponsored by: Bank of Ireland UK

AE GLOBAL

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Congratulations to all the Winners bankofireland.co.uk Bank of Ireland UK is a trading name of Bank of Ireland (UK) plc. Registered in England & Wales (No. 7022885), Bow Bells House, 1 Bread Street, London, EC4M 9BE.

Northern Ireland’s Enterprise Bank


Bank of Ireland, principal sponsor of the North West Business Awards

Sinead McLaughlin, Chamber of Commerce presenting Growth through Export Award to Sean McNicholl Sphere Global

John Paul Deehan, John Paul Couture, Helen Quigley, Inner City Trust, NW Craft Industry of the Year Award

Jeff Hunter receiving Excellence in Innovation Award from Leo Murphy NWRC

NW Pub of the Year, The Bentley Bar, Conor Quigley, Jason Doherty, Helen Kilroy, Paul Campbell, Daniel McGeehan

#LetsConnectNI for growth bankofireland.co.uk/business Bank of Ireland UK is a trading name of Bank of Ireland (UK) plc. Registered in England & Wales (No. 7022885), Bow Bells House, 1 Bread Street, London, EC4M 9BE.

Northern Ireland’s Enterprise Bank


Lisa Graham, Ryan Gormley, Cilento, Caroline Morris, Derry News, NW Retailer of the Year

Niamh O’Donnell,Siobhan McDonald, Deidre Donnelly, North West Creative Industries Of The Year

NW Restaurant of the Year, Walled City Brewery, James Huey, John Kelpie

Eugene Kearney, Bank of Ireland UK presenting North West Business of the Year Award to Kieran Connor, AE Global

Outstanding Contribution to Arts and Culture, Kathryn O’Callaghan

Congratulations to all the Winners bankofireland.co.uk Bank of Ireland UK is a trading name of Bank of Ireland (UK) plc. Registered in England & Wales (No. 7022885), Bow Bells House, 1 Bread Street, London, EC4M 9BE.

Northern Ireland’s Enterprise Bank


Professional Services Award, Martin O’Kane, HMD Architects, Declan Doherty, DYCW

Stephen Devine, Riona Fitzpatrick, BT, John Reynolds McGrory’s Hotel, presents Best Use of Digital Social Media Award

MBA Excellence Award, Kevin Hippsley, Guildhall Press Edel Griffin UU Business School

Guest Accommodation Provider of the Year, The Belfray Country Inn, Jim Roddy, Rodney Stewart

Best Tourism Event or Initiative, Ailish McDaid, Eibhlin Ni Dhochartaigh, Odhran Mullan, Eamon Morrow

#LetsConnectNI for growth bankofireland.co.uk/business Bank of Ireland UK is a trading name of Bank of Ireland (UK) plc. Registered in England & Wales (No. 7022885), Bow Bells House, 1 Bread Street, London, EC4M 9BE.

Northern Ireland’s Enterprise Bank


Official government fuel consumption figures in mpg (litres per 100km) for the new E-Class Saloon range: urban 44.1(6.4)-65.7(4.3), extra urban 61.4(4.6)-78.5(3.6), combined 54.3(5.2)-72.4(3.9). CO2 emissions 144-102 g/km. Official EU-regulated test data are provided for comparison purposes and actual performance will depend on driving style, road conditions and other non-technical factors.

The new E-Class Saloon. Masterpiece of Intelligence. Available from £369* per month, with a new stunning design and a more connected drive than ever before, meet the perfect balance between elegance and technology. Contact us today to book your test drive. Model featured is a new Mercedes-Benz E 220 d SE Saloon at £36,580 on-the-road including optional metallic paint at £645 (on-the-road price includes VAT, delivery, 12 months’ Road Fund Licence, number plates, first registration fee and fuel). Specification imagery may show optional features. Content relating to finance is promoted by Mercedes-Benz Finance. Your Retailer may offer finance on behalf of other companies. *Business users only. Mercedes-Benz Contract Hire agreement. All payments exclude VAT at 20%. No ownership option. Based on a new E 220 d SE Saloon including optional metallic paint. Vehicle condition, excess mileage and other charges may apply. Rental includes Road Fund Licence for the contract duration. Guarantees may be required. Orders/credit approvals on selected new E-Class models only between 1 April and 30 June 2016, registered by 30 September 2016, excluding Mercedes-AMG 63 models. Subject to availability, offers cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. Some combinations of features/options may not be available. Please contact your Mercedes-Benz Retailer for availability. Credit provided subject to status by Mercedes-Benz Finance, MK15 8BA. Mercedes-Benz UK Ltd is a company registered in England and Wales with company number 2448457 and has its registered address at Tongwell, Milton Keynes, MK15 8BA. Prices, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions correct at time of print.

Mercedes-Benz of Belfast 6 Boucher Crescent, Belfast, BT12 6HU 02890 689000 www.mercedes-benzofbelfast.co.uk Mercedes-Benz of Portadown Carn Court Road, Portadown, BT63 5YX 02838 337373 www.mercedes-benzofportadown.co.uk

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What the Tourism Industry has to Offer by Odhran Dunne, General Manager, Visit Derry The tourism industry offers one of the best opportunities for short to medium term growth within the economy. The spend generated by non-domestic visitors identifies (though it is sometimes overlooked) the sector as one of the country’s premier export products. Tourism Ireland predicts another record year for tourists to the island therefore this presents Northern Ireland and the North West region with a fantastic opportunity to attract a greater market share of new and repeat visitors. Locally the industry generates £40m per annum from overnight visitors and added to the increasing day-tripper spend within the border region it is important that the sector is recognised and supported as one with great potential for growth. The outlook is positive for 2016 with first quarter hotel room sales up 3% on 2015 indicating it can be another year of notable progress for the sector building on the legacy momentum of 2013. One of the indicators of success within the industry is the growth in private sector investment which is demonstrated with developments and refurbishments across the hospitality sector in the past year. The opening of two new hotels Bishop’s Gate Hotel and a proposed new hotel on Shipquay Street is a vote of confidence in the tourism industry locally. These developments will deliver an 8% growth in hotel room capacity in the city in 2016. There are

further plans for hotel expansion in the city centre area and we are confident we will see these come to fruition over the coming years. These developments will create opportunities to attract new brands and new product offering to complement the existing supply. The recent investment in the new Siege Museum on Society Street which is a permanent display on the history of the Siege and of the Associated Clubs of the Apprentice Boys of Derry will ensure visitors have a new visitor experience to enjoy within the historic City Walls. The scheduled opening of the new Museum of Free Derry in Summer 2016 will enhance the tourism product and create new opportunities for visitors to spend longer in the city and enjoy the array of visitor attractions and museums on offer that tell our unique story. Looking ahead the planned development of a maritime museum/experience on the Ebrington site by 2019 will create a flagship visitor experience on the site with international appeal and create a new proposition for the city stimulating additional reasons to visit. The resurgence in restaurant and pub developments is another positive marker for continued growth in the hospitality sector - they have certainly ‘raised the bar’ and these capital investments have stimulated the refurbishing of many existing established properties. There have been other business that have

The sustainability of the tourism sector is critical. A new tourism strategy which focuses investment in destination marketing, events and business tourism will support the strategic objective of generating £100m tourism spend by 2030.

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rebranded to align to the city’s tourism sell and this is great from a destination marketing perspective as it enhances our experiential brand. All of this is perfectly timed to coincide with Northern Ireland’s Year of Food and Drink 2016. Tourism NI have created a calendar of fantastic food themes and the city’s recent accolade as runner up in Foodie Town Ireland ensures we are best placed with our award-winning chefs to offer a fabulous food experience. The year is a celebration of everything delicious about this place - the natural landscapes, traditions and people that make our food heritage so unique. With 366 days of foodie experiences, there is no better time for visitors to enjoy a true taste of the North West and with the Legenderry Food Festival and the Beer and Cheese Expo already having attracting great crowds the calendar of food related events line-up throughout 2016 will appeal to all tastebuds! The events calendar again is impressive with the return of the Foyle Maritime Festival (917 July 2016) being this year’s signature festival. The festival is of international calibre and is set to attract tens of thousands of visitors to the city. It is well supported by existing annual festivals and events however special mention for the Banks of the Foyle Halloween Carnival – recently endorsed by USA Today as the World’s number

one Halloween destination. It is set to take celebrations “Out of this World” in 2016, to mark the festival’s 30th birthday. The recent announcement that the city has secured the International Association of Suicide Prevention (IASP) World Congress in 2019 is a great boost for the sector with up to 800 delegates due to visit over four days and generating an economic spend of £1.4m to the local economy. A strong ambassador network working to bid and secure conferences, meeting and events will play an integral part to deliver on our strategic objectives and any Chamber member who feels they can support the business tourism potential should give Visit Derry a call! The sustainability of the tourism sector is critical. A new tourism strategy which focuses investment in destination marketing, events and business tourism will support the strategic objective of generating £100m tourism spend by 2030. Visit Derry as a public-private partnership, is supported by a current membership of 260 tourism providers from across the NW region. We work collaboratively to market and promote the destination in our source markets as a must see tourism destination and inspire potential visitors that there has never been a better time to Visit Derry.


Celebrating life, every day, everywhere Diageo Northern Ireland: proud supporters of Northern Ireland‘s Year of Food & Drink 2016

DRINK RESPONSIBLY The BAILEYS, GORDON’S, CAPTAIN MORGAN, SMIRNOFF, TANQUERAY, BULLEIT, GUINNESS, SMITHWICKS, CARLSBERG, HARP and HOP HOUSE 13 words and associated logos are trade marks © Diageo 2016.

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Diageo Northern Ireland celebrates its local connections with Derry~Londonderry Diageo, a global leader in beverage alcohol, has long been committed to supporting and investing in Derry~ Londonderry and continues to do so today.

From the days of Guinness Derry and the Smithwick’s sponsorship of Derry City FC in the 80s and 90s to the more recent drinks sponsorship of Derry~Londonderry 2013 UK City of Culture which saw Diageo’s brands – including Guinness, Harp, Carlsberg and Smirnoff - poured at the Ebrington Arena and Ebrington Square events. Today, Diageo NI is the official pouring partner of the Foyle Maritime Festival which marks the homecoming leg of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, a significant event for the North West that continues to support the growth of visitor numbers with a view to developing a lasting tourism legacy. Through its Guinness brand, Diageo recently sponsored the 15th City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival which included a free Guinness Jazz Trail in the city. Undoubtedly one of the highlights of the city’s cultural calendar, visitors to the city enjoyed top quality free music

Nikki MacCorquodale and Neil Ronson, both Diageo, pictured at a hospitality industry event that Diageo held for local publicans, hotel and restaurant owners in Derry~Londonderry.

on the Guinness jazz trail which featured fantastic performances from some of the best local, national and international talent on the festival circuit today. In 2015 Diageo pledged its ongoing commitment and support to the hospitality industry in Derry~Londonderry at an event held for local publicans in the City Hotel. The event entitled ‘Growing Together’ was attended by over 85 publicans, hotel and restaurant owners with guests reminded about both past and present partnerships between the city and Diageo brands. Garvin Kerr took the assembled group on a trip down memory

Elaine Johnston and Jorge Lopes from Diageo pictured with the McDaid family from Badgers Bar.

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lane to the early days of the pub trade while Jim Roddy from City Centre Initiative drew on the importance of partnerships to the city with regards to its tourism economy. Attention was then turned to the future of the hospitality industry with a look at drinks trends, including the renaissance of craft beers, and the occasion drivers of interest to the on trade. Everyone had the chance to get up close to Diageo’s newest brand innovations and to meet the teams behind them. As well as sampling the beers that form part of The Brewer’s Project, namely Hop House 13, Smithwick’s Blonde, Smithwick’s Pale Ale, Guinness Dublin Porter and Guinness West Indies, there was an opportunity to experiment with recommended food pairings. Details of Carlsberg and Guinness sponsorships in 2016 were also on the agenda as occasions to drive footfall to the on trade in the city. More recently, Carlsberg – the official beer of Euro 2016 – has been giving fans across Derry~ Londonderry the chance to win tickets to France in June through their local pub.

Elaine Johnston, Key Account Executive for Diageo NI said; “At Diageo we’re really proud of our long standing history in Derry~Londonderry. The hospitality industry in general has been through a lot in recent years but there are signs of a sustainable recovery so it is the right time to reinforce our commitment to this city. We want to continue to support our customers here and leverage the growth potential through investment in our brands, in the wider economy and with our strategic partners.” Diageo is a global leader in beverage alcohol with an outstanding collection of brands including Guinness, Hop House 13, Harp, Smithwick’s, Carlsberg, Smirnoff, Captain Morgan, Baileys, Tanqueray, Johnnie Walker and Bulleit sold in more than 180 countries around the world. Diageo is also one of Northern Ireland’s major exporters in the food and beverage sector employing over 300 people across three sites including the global Baileys facility at Mallusk, a bottling and packaging plant in East Belfast and the Northern Ireland headquarters in Belfast.


Bishop’s Gate Hotel - A Derry Landmark Reborn Occupying a unique place in Derry’s history, culture and heritage and once frequented by the likes of W.B. Yeats and Winston Churchill, the old Northern Counties building on Bishop Street completed its re-birth on Friday 19th February 2016 when it opened its renowned revolving door for the first time as “Bishop’s Gate Hotel”. Perfectly positioned within the historic city walls, nestled in the heart of the Cathedral Quarter, Bishop’s Gate Hotel, is now the place to enjoy afternoon tea or a light lunch during the day and champagne cocktails and delightful dining in the evening, complemented by a further programme of live entertainment. Built in 1899, the exquisite Grade B1 listed Bishop’s Gate Hotel, which was originally an iconic base for businessmen, intellects and civic leaders of the city for many years, has undergone a dramatic transformation. The Hotel blends stunning Edwardian architecture, stylish appointments and luxurious facilities which have been sensitively restored to pay homage to the rich heritage of the building. This iconic landmark is the epitome of Edwardian elegance; an intimate urban oasis featuring 30 luxurious guestrooms, including two suites, a residents’ lounge, fitness area, restaurant, champagne and cocktail bar and a stunning ballroom. Nestled in a serene setting on

the second floor, the visually stunning Northern Counties Ballroom is the ideal venue for a wedding or private event. It can accommodate 100 guests and oozes warmth and style whilst complementing the unique character, charm and features of the original room. The Wig & Gown Dining Experience At the heart of the hotel, The Wig and Gown Champagne Bar and Restaurant is open to both residents and nonresidents and offers a superb, informal all day dining experience providing the perfect place to kick back, relax and unwind with a cocktail or glass of champagne. The hotel is open for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner and delivers on comfort, style, taste

and quality as standard. The Wig Champagne Bar provides a relaxing ambience where you can enjoy casual, light dishes daily from 10.30am – 7pm with live entertainment on select evenings. The menu boasts favourites from “The Wig Burger” to local catch of the day and the Classic Ciabatta BLT. The Gown Restaurant is the culinary focal point of Bishop’s Gate Hotel and is open for breakfast from 7am – 10.30 and dinner from 5pm – 9pm. It offers seasonally inspired menus showcasing fresh, local produce which delivers on taste. Signature dishes include chargrilled locally sourced steaks and fresh seafood from Greencastle Pier. Offering excellent value for money, guests can enjoy two courses for £18.50 and three courses for £23.50. Sunday Dining Bishop’s Gate offers a charming venue for Sunday dining with a delightful range of choices for brunch or lunch. The brunch menu is a real treat and is served in the Wig Champagne Bar – the perfect way to enjoy a lazy morning leafing through the Sunday papers. Traditional

Sunday Roast Lunch is served in the elegant surroundings of the Northern Counties Ballroom – think understated sophistication at its best. Lunch is also available in the Gown Restaurant or the Wig from 1pm. Afternoon Tea The 19th Century tradition of Afternoon Tea, served Monday to Saturday from 12-4pm, is already fast becoming a trademark of Bishop’s Gate Hotel and it is easy to see why! What better way to spend an afternoon than to indulge in a sumptuous combination of dainty finger sandwiches, home baked scones, pastries, seasonal cakes and decadent sweet treats, all skilfully prepared fresh each day, whilst enjoying the finest loose leaf teas or a glass of champagne for that added luxury. Bishop’s Gate Hotel has begun a new chapter and stands out with its original detailing combined with contemporary décor; it redefines the concept of luxury in the Walled City. However, its proud history and sensitively restored heritage ensures that the legacy of this iconic building lives on as Bishop’s Gate Hotel – A Derry landmark reborn.

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Foyle Maritime Festival Derry~Londonderry is preparing to host the Foyle Maritime Festival as part of a huge homecoming celebration when the city is a stopover port for the Clipper Round the World Race 2015-16. Derry City first came on board in the 2011-12 edition of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, ahead of its year as the inaugural UK City of Culture 2013. Derry City and Strabane District Council are progressing with building a new legacy for the area, through many methods including a global marketing campaign through the Clipper Race involvement entitled ‘Our New Story.’ Its fundamental aim is to promote economic development and investment in

the area, as well as stimulating the growing sector of tourism by changing the perception of the city and firmly putting the city on the map. During the 2014 Legenderry Maritime Festival which included the Clipper Race stopover, there were 150,000 visitors generating a spend of £3 million. Councillor Elisha McCallion, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District said:

“Derry~Londonderry~Doire has always dared to ‘dream big.’ Sponsoring a team allows us an unrivalled year-long, global marketing opportunity to showcase our city as a world class tourist destination. Through activation in key host ports we avail of fantastic networking opportunities.

“And hosting a stopover means thousands of people travel to the city to greet the fleet and we can welcome our Derry~ Londonderry~Doire team home with a fantastic celebration”.

The city’s Queen’s Quay will once again be transformed into a maritime wonderland full of fun, activities, music, arts and crafts. Hailed as the Best Event/Festival Experience at the Tourism NI Awards 2015, the Foyle Maritime Festival, which is organised by Derry City and Strabane District Council, will have a wide array of events for all family members with food markets, live music, maritime activities and water sports and is scheduled to take place from 9th to 17th July 2016 to coincide with the arrival of the Clipper Round the World Race fleet.

Timetable of Events Clipper Race Arrives 9th-11th July After travelling over 40,000 nautical miles around the world, the Clipper Race yachts return home for the homecoming party of the year. Join in at Queen’s Quay to give team Derry~ Londonderry~Doire and all of the Clipper Race teams the rousing welcome they deserve. 14th-17th July Clipper Kitchens Food Village Come along to the Clipper

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Kitchens Food Village on Ebrington Square to sample the very best of our local ingredients from a range of street food vendors. Buzzing with live cook offs, artisan food producers and celebrity chefs, the food village has something for everyone. Foyle Port Marine Foyle Port Marina will come alive for four days of festivities. Join the Clipper Race teams to experience a truly International maritime festival with over 140 visiting boats, navy vessels,

tall ships, performance water sports, come and try water sessions, music stages, children’s arts and crafts, a maritime discovery centre and much more! Finale Event 17th July It’s time to party as we bid farewell to the Clipper Race yachts as they complete their final race in their epic round the world journey. This year’s farewell will be truly spectacular and features for the first time anywhere in the world – Xtreme Action.

These world-famous two wheeled daredevils are bringing the top riders from the UK to perform for a world first on floating pontoons on the River Foyle. This incredible team is headed up by Jamie Squibb, who has just come back off tour with the infamous Nitro Circus tour. They will be performing their incredible, death-defying stunts 40ft in the air across a gap from pontoon to pontoon of 75ft on their state of the art FMX bikes.


9th – 17th July 2016

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Earagail Arts Festival 8th – 24th July 2016 A Festival as Dramatic as the Landscape Come and experience an undiscovered world of unique music, culture and stunning scenery on the northernmost route of the Wild Atlantic Way. Immerse yourself in a festival of music, theatre, visual arts, literature, masterclasses, bi-lingual Gaelic and English spoken word, children’s events and outdoor spectacles. Since 1988 the Earagail Arts Festival (EAF) has been the cornerstone of arts, culture, and tourism in Donegal. With hundreds of events happening across the county every year in July, many of which are free of charge, the festival brings huge numbers of visitors, generating a fun and exciting atmosphere. The benefits to the economy as a result of the income generated through tourism not withstanding, the public opinion of the festival is unanimously positive as it provides entertaining, and stimulating activities for a wide demographic of visitors and residents alike. The ethos of the festival has always been to bring an eclectic and diverse collection of activities to Donegal, so that regardless of your personal preferences you’ll be able to find something in the programme that tweaks your interest. The geographic range of the festival is as extensive as the range of events, from Arranmore and Tory Islands and the West of Donegal to Letterkenny and Ireland’s northernmost peninsula, Inishowen; no matter where you are in Donegal you’ll be within reach of something enticing. The festival was first established by Donegal County Council to help develop local culture and to support the work of local artists and arts facilities, while bringing national and international acts to the North West.  The festival has grown from strength to strength and is now an independent company and arts charity; regarded as one of the top summer arts festivals in the country. EAF currently received funding from the Arts Council Ireland, Donegal County Council and Fáilte Ireland.

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Photo credit Mark Loudon

“What Earagail does, and does so rather splendidly….. is to bring cultural events of a dizzying variety….. while also celebrating the rampant creativity inherent in its peoples….. it is also a heck of a lot of fun.” The Irish Times 8th – 10th July 2016 The Mountain Stage We’re delighted to be partnering with the ever growing Swell Festival (Arranmore Island) to present The Mountain Stage - a new multidisciplinary, tri-lingual performance area, curated and produced by the Earagail Arts Festival. Featuring two days of electronica, contemporary, traditional and folk artists in music and spoken word, The Mountain Stage, will host local emerging artists, national and international guests from Ireland, Scotland and the USA in The Barn - Ireland’s only nomadic, agricultural outbuilding created by Belfast based artist, inventor and explorer Paddy Bloomer. See www.swellfestival.com for details of the full line-up of acts across the weekend of 8-10 July 2016 and www.nervecentre.org and www.ohyeahbelfast.com for more information on their artist development initiatives. 14th-17th July 2016 Donegal Folk & Roots Weekend Four days of traditional, folk and world music, with never before seen musical collaborations, workshops, talks, guided walks and music trails in the heart of Ireland’s magical County of Donegal. Featuring the Haitain Voudou of Chouk Bwa Libete, with Irish and UK folk artists including Lynched with Stick in The Wheel and Andy Irvine with Chris Woods. We also have new folk troubadours Sam Lee and Richard

Dawson. To close the weekend we have Manus Lunny delivering a specially commissioned concert dedicated to the inspirational legacy of acclaimed dramatist and playwright Brian Friel, with guest Micheal Mc Goldrick, Donald Shaw, Theresa Kavanagh, Fraser Fifield and Ewen Vernal , with string and orchestral arrangement by classical collaborator Vincent Kennedy and musicians of the Donegal Music Education Partnership. 22nd-24th July 2016 Wild Atlantic World The final weekend of Earagail Arts Festival 2016 will feature a celebration of Irish street arts, and circus on the village green in the picturesque surroundings of Malin. Each year we invite some of the greatest artists from jazz and blues, world, folk and traditional genres, to create new musical world premiere performances. The stunning vistas surrounding this festival are so outstanding they are to be featured in the next instalment of Star Wars filming this year! The festival will draw to a very special close on Sunday 24th July with a performance by the Hendrix of the Sahara, Malian blues guitarist Vieux Farka Touré at McGrorys Hotel. For information and a full EAF programme visit www.eaf.ie

“World Class Art On Their Doorsteps” The Irish Times “A great mix of magical events and wonderful locations, many of which are suitable for all the family.”  The Irish Independent


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Served before 10.30am. *All meals include any regular freshly ground coffee (excluding Mocha, Toffee Latte or promotional coffee) Served 10.30am.orange *All meals any regular freshly ground coffee (excluding Mocha, Toffee Latte or promotional coffee) or 100%before pure squeezed juice,include and a hash brown or fruit bag. © 2016 McDonald’s. or 100% pure squeezed orange juice, and a hash brown or fruit bag. © 2016 McDonald’s.


Primrose Cafe

From small beginnings of selling tea, coffee, lunches and home baking, the Primrose food experience has it would seem, taken on a life of its own

Indeed, from the original café concept, it has now developed to encompass; Primrose Secret Garden, Primrose Pantry, Primrose Bakery and Primrose Events, which is just the start of things to come.

Within four years, as owners and foodies, Ciaran and Melanie Breslin have achieved so much but are ambitious to develop this success further with more plans to expand and build the Primrose brand. Here Ciaran and Melanie explain how they developed their business from the initial concept and address any challenges they have faced. “Primrose, as a business, started in late 2011 when we started looking for premises that suited our ideas. “We actually didn’t view too many, maybe two or three, before we stumbled upon 15 Carlisle Road by a chance conversation with the late Martin McCrossan. He told us it had been lying vacant for a number of years and had previously traded as Cafe Monroe for about 20 years. So from there we met up with the owners to view it, and although it was in need of a lot of TLC, we immediately found it perfect for what we envisaged. “Detail is everything to us and this is represented in everything we do, from the vintage style that runs

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throughout all the departments of our business, cafe, food, service, menu, tableware and uniforms to the food displays. “From day one our vision for Primrose was, and still is, to provide our town with the freshest homemade food from scratch using the finest ingredients sourced locally. Our scones with homemade jam and freshly whipped cream have been and other baked goods like our luxury cupcakes and tray bakes are always a firm favourite. Rainbow cake is extremely popular with our younger customers and big kids alike. Then we have the hot food. Our cuts of butcher’s meat, such as our beef cheeks and slow cooked brisket and pork shoulder, which we smoke in-house, are proving to be firm favourites with our customers. “Additionally, we have a strong focus on customer service and believe that every single customer is the most important part of our business. “The Primrose experience is something people from every age group can enjoy as we have something for everyone. We want people to be planning their next trip to Primrose before they have even left our premises.

From the food to the decor and service, we hope every aspect of their visit will be enjoyable. “Although our business is continuing to expand, we are facing the same issues and pressures as all small business owners. In particular, the high rates add considerable cost to the running of our business. There should be more discounts available for smaller businesses to help them continue to trade and provide their services as the current costs are prohibitive to many.

“With plans to expand the Primrose brand and open more premises, we envisage 2016 being as busy a year as the past five have been and hopefully the next five that lie ahead.” Ciaran’s background: I have been a butcher all my life and operate two butcher shops with my father. Breslin’s Family Butchers was established 10 years ago and is key to Primrose success as we are able to ensure the best produce available at the best prices for our restaurants. Melanie’s background: I was a hairdresser for 20 years and home baking all my life, coming from a rural household with both mum and granny keen bakers. The traditional recipes have been handed down through those generations. In need of a career change, and always being a keen home baker, I decided sharing those fantastic recipes with the public was the only thing I wanted to do. And so Primrose was born.


Discover the Secret Jewel in the Heart of Co. Donegal If you are looking for somewhere new to visit in Co. Donegal and to entertain the whole family for a day – then Oakfield Park is the perfect place for an adventure. Last year it was voted one of the top five parks in the whole of Ireland in the Irish Times “Best Day Out”. Come and visit the superb new sculpture by Locky Morris, called Longsleeper. Made from 17 tons of oak sleepers, sitting on a spiral mound, it twists and turns itself into the sky. To see it, why not take a trip on ‘Thomas’, on the narrow gauge railway, which winds its way along 4.5km of track around the magnificent parkland and

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gardens. See the Castle Folly, and travel through beautiful woodlands and willow tunnels, past streams and lakes before returning to the station. Now everyone will be ready to stretch their legs and explore the gardens further. Visit the magical fairy tree and place a wish – who knows if it will be granted? In the more formal upper gardens a traditional walled garden and kitchen garden will be a treat for any green-fingered expert or aspiring chef. A rest stop at the ‘Oakfield Perk’ vintage tea van, for home baked goodies and a freshly brewed coffee whilst the

children explore the swings and slides, will make the end to a perfect, stress free day in the outdoors. Have a look at the Oakfield Park website or facebook page for special family events that are coming up, such as the Teddy Bear’s Picnic, Steam Sundays, Garden Tours and much more. Gardens are open 12-6pm Wed to Sundays plus Bank Holidays. Gardens will be open 7 days during July and August. Trains run at 3pm on weekdays, and 12-6pm at Weekends For more info visit www.oakfieldpark.com or see the Oakfield Park Facebook page


City Hotel d e r r y

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

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

Contact us: Queens Quay, Derry, BT48 7AS T: 0044 (0) 28 7136 5800 F: 0044 (0) 28 7136 5801 E: reservations@cityhotelderry.com W: cityhotelderry.com facebook.com/CityHotelDerryNI


Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs A Springboard for Business Creation & Growth Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs is an inter European exchange programme which aims to help new and aspiring entrepreneurs acquire relevant skills to run and grow a small business by working with an experienced entrepreneur in another country for one to six months. It increases their know-how and fosters cross-border transfer of knowledge and experience between entrepreneurs. It aims to demonstrate a positive impact in stimulating innovative business practices, the development of new products and services and expansion into new national markets. Small and Medium Enterprises represent 99.8% of businesses in Europe and contribute 60% of European private sector employment. They deserve all the support we can give them! The programme is open to all aspiring entrepreneurs, ranging from unemployed or employed people to students and to newly established entrepreneurs. As a new entrepreneur, you will benefit from on-the-job training in a small or medium-sized enterprise elsewhere in

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the Participating Countries. This will ease the successful start of your business or strengthen your new enterprise. You can also benefit from access to new markets, international cooperation and potential possibilities for collaboration with business partners abroad. As a host entrepreneur, you can benefit from fresh ideas from a motivated new entrepreneur on your business. He may have specialised skills or knowledge in an area you do not master, which could also complement yours. Most host entrepreneurs enjoyed the experience so much that they decide to host other new entrepreneurs afterwards. It is really a win-win collaboration whereby both of you can also discover new European markets or business partners, different ways of doing business. On the longer-term, you will benefit from wide networking opportunities, and, possibly, decide to continue your collaboration, possibly as long-term business partners (e.g. joint ventures, sub-contracting activities contractorsupplier relationships, etc).

Please contact Aisling Faulkner for further information if you are a new entrepreneur or would like to be a host entrepreneur aisling.faulkner@bitcni.org.uk or 02871861550


How to manage currency movements when trading cross border Since the break between the Irish Pound and Sterling Pound in 1979, businesses both sides of the border have had to contend with currency volatility. Depending on the type of business, the ability to compete competitively has ebbed and flowed depending on the relative strength of one currency against the other. While the introduction of the Euro at the start of 1999 removed currency volatility as an issue for many businesses across Europe, it did not solve the problem for cross border trade as Sterling remained outside of the Euro. Since 1999, the value of the Euro against Sterling has varied considerably with the rate varying from the mid 1.70s in the early 2000s to almost

Identify and quantify the level of foreign exchange risk to your business – Whether you are buying or selling across the border, a movement in exchange rates may impact on your profitability. You need to quantify in financial terms the impact a movement in currency will have on the value of your sales or the cost of your purchases. Just because you are buying or selling in your domestic currency does not mean that you don’t have a currency risk. You may find that if there is movement in rates, your products are no longer competitive and while you won’t suffer a foreign exchange loss, you may lose the business as your customer moves to a supplier that prices in the local currency.

The following chart shows the movement in exchange rates over the past 17 years. parity at the start of 2009. Despite having to contend with this currency volatility over the years, businesses both side of the border have continued to trade successfully. However, it is important that these businesses take the time to assess how foreign exchange risk can impact on their business and ensure that they put in place the appropriate measures to minimise the financial impact. The following steps outline how you should go about managing your foreign exchange risk:

Identify ways of minimising the currency risk - It is important to look at all of your cash flows to see if you can match the ins and outs of the various currencies against each other. The more the cash flows are matched the less the exchange rate risk becomes. Using foreign currency accounts and financing working capital in a foreign currency can assist you in doing this. Manage the remaining risk – Once you have identified and minimised the risk through the natural hedges in your business, you then have to

Pictured are Michael & Susanna Doherty of M A S T Construction Ltd with Una McWilliams Bank of Ireland UK, Branch Manager Culmore Road. see how best to manage the residual currency risk. Your decisions here will be based on a number of factors of which profit margin, competitive margins, risk appetite and cash flow certainty will form a significant part. While the company will have a number of choices with regarding to managing the remaining risk, a Forward Contract is quite often very effective. An example of how a forward contract can be used is as follows: Company A (based in Northern Ireland) tenders for a contract to provide electrical contracting services to Company B (based in Dublin). Company A are successful but are concerned that because the contract will run for six months they will be affected by exchange rate movements. The value of the contract is EUR 500,000 which will be paid in 4 equal payments over the last 4 months and the rate was 1.2650 when the tender was submitted. While the company can offset EUR 200,000 through Euro expenses they will need to convert the remainder. One example of how to manage this risk is to enter into a forward

contract to sell Bank of Ireland EUR 75,000 at the end of each month. The current spot rate is 1.2660 and the rates for the four months will be 1.2637, 1.2626, 1.2614 and 1.2605. By entering into the forward contracts, Company A will guarantee their conversion rate regardless of where the spot rate moves over the next six months and as such will not suffer any unexpected FX losses. As mentioned above, there are a number of options available to manage this risk so regardless of whether you are a business that is already trading across the border or if you are looking at it for the first time, the Bank of Ireland’s Global Markets team based in Belfast provides a wealth of knowledge and experience in the fields of Foreign Exchange, Interest Rate Management and Trade Finance. For more information and to speak directly to a member of the team please call Henry Cleary on 02890 322 778 or email Henry.Cleary@boi.com . Alternatively, please contact Una McWilliams on 07734495710 or email una.mcwilliams@boi.com

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Connected Learning Beyond the Classroom Walls Since 2012, over 100 students from the Ulster University Business School at Magee campus have stepped out of the classroom and onto the Derry Walls. By collaborating with local museums, cultural groups and community organisations along the Walls, the students have been challenged to come up with creative solutions to develop innovative business and marketing strategies for this important heritage asset in the city and in particular how to celebrate its 400th anniversary.

From helping organise the ‘Wave on the Walls’ in 2013 to developing new concepts such as urban hiking for the ‘Walled City Mile’, Magee students have consistently developed innovative solutions for this unique monument. In recent years, the students have teamed up with the Friends of the Derry Walls.

Edel Griffin, Lecturer, explains;

“The Friends of the Derry Walls is a start-up social enterprise with the goal of unpacking the contested history of the monument, in ways which the heritage value of the Derry Walls can be celebrated locally, nationally and internationally. Each year students and academics within the advertising and business management modules have worked with us to look at how the Derry Walls are branded and marketed and how events specific to the heritage of the Derry Walls are developed and promoted. We are pleased to be working with students on projects to assist us package, brand and promote the cluster of voluntary and civic museums around the Derry Walls, linking this collective resource to the monument and presenting this heritage offering in a compelling way. The creativity of the students and the mentoring of the academics to-date in the Ulster Business School at Magee has been an invaluable resource to us, in our journey to exploit the

“Learning by doing is an important teaching approach with our students. It greatly benefits them to work on real consulting projects at all levels. From MBAs to undergraduate students, the Walls, have given us so much more than we originally anticipated. Not only do our students learn how to apply key business topics but they are also learning about the history and heritage of the Walls. I have found that this helps them to develop greater sense of place and belonging to the city. Most importantly, our students are getting the chance to meet and connect with many of the custodians, communities and groups that surround Walls. These meetings provide our students with the opportunity to gain different and often new perspectives about the Walls through the exchange of knowledge and stories, providing them with deeper insights into their research.”

Mark Lusby, Project Co-ordinator, highlights the benefits of connecting with the students at Magee;

Ulster University Business School students connect with the city to discover more about the Derry Walls.

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cultural and economic value of Northern Ireland’s largest ancient monument.” The BSc. (Hons) Advertising cohort just recently connected with a number of clients from the city for their final year module to develop an integrated advertising campaign. One of the groups comprising Katie Rice, Niamh Wilson and Eamon Maskey, investigated the opportunity to cluster the museums around the walls. Katie who is at the final stages of her course explains; “I was excited by the opportunity to work with a real client, as it enabled me to put everything that I learned at Magee into action to make full use of my skills and knowledge. Niamh added, “As a team, we valued the opportunity to go out and visit the cluster of heritage centres, museums and places of worship. We got a real understanding of the stories of each venue and we created some videos to demonstrate the ease of getting around the Walls. From this we created the ‘Walled City Mile’ which we hope will be used by our clients.” Finally, Eamon concluded; “This experience has been very important for us as final year students as it provided a practical advertising experience, connecting with real clients, as well as giving us the opportunity to meet and work with great people along the way. This will benefit us starting out in our advertising and marketing careers”.


Patral Group TROY ARMOUR Local entrepreneur and philanthropist, Troy Armour talks to editor, Jackie Logan about how his business journey began from the young age of 21.

Recently nominated for ‘Business of the Year’ at the North West Business Awards, Patral Group is an Entertainment, Media and Technology Group. Based in Derry’s Northern Ireland Science Park, the company currently employs 38 people across 3 continents. Troy Armour, originally from Buncrana, began building Patral 20 years ago when he was 21 years old. His career began when he started an accountancy apprentice at the age of 17. During his three years with Carlin McLaughlin & Co, he found himself responsible for all IT and soon realised the potential for a business within this sector; which led to the creation of Trojan Technologies in 1996. “I was 21 and I had just started a business – and I really didn’t know very much about business – I had to learn fast. The three years’ experience I had gained in the accountancy apprenticeship really stood

by me. I learned a lifetime’s knowledge in that office – they looked after a lot of different companies across many different fields – it was university for me.” “I am often asked what it is I do – and my answer is simple… I find talented people and find a way to monetise services based on their talents. I do believe that a company lives or dies on its talent pool and ultimately the company with the best talent always wins.” Now the largest supplier of IT to the fishing industry in Ireland, Trojan specialises in providing servers, networks and VoIP Telephony both inland and offshore. Trojan has grown from humble beginnings to now service clients in Ireland, the UK, USA and Nordics. “We built the business on delivering enterprise class solutions to our clients. These clients all needed seven nine’s reliability from their IT systems – partnering with Hewlett

Packard Enterprise, Microsoft and Fortinet meant we had partners who shared our company ethos. This is why companies like Marine Harvest, with over $2bn in turnover and 6,500 employees chose Trojan to deliver IT systems for them.”

“Ultimately the company with the best talent always wins.” 55


Troy’s involvement in his next big venture came about by chance, after meeting his current business partner, Elizabeth, during dance lessons for his wedding to wife Alejandra. “Junk Kouture was destiny for me having been involved in some smaller shows behind the scenes, and also helping out with charities that work with people in the entertainment industry. I was getting married at the time and needed a dance teacher – we started classes with Elizabeth Curran and when she started to tell me about this show she had, I was intrigued and definitely felt it had a lot of potential.” Buncrana business woman Elizabeth Curran first established the Social Enterprise, Junk Kouture in 2009. CoFounder and COO, Elizabeth recalls the partnership saying, “I was delighted to have Troy on board, his marketing minded focus was exactly what Junk Kouture needed to establish itself on a much larger scale – I knew we would make a great team to bring the company forward.” Junk Kouture is a national contest which encourages young people in second level education to create striking

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couture designs and impressive works of wearable art from everyday junk that would normally find its way into the bin. Its aim to inspire and ignite passion in teenagers, as well as educate them about the importance of recycling and reusing waste, has made it such a unique phenomenon. Over the last five years, Junk Kouture has established itself as the premier recycled fashion competition for teenagers throughout Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Starting with a tiny budget of only £1,000 between them, and with the goal of building a £1m business, now 2016, Junk Kouture has already exceeded its target. However, Troy notes how its success has by no means come easy. “Back in 2010, there was no budget, however we learned a lot as a result of this. When you don’t have money you are forced to think of alternative ways to do things – you become more imaginative. We couldn’t afford any marketing or PR so we came up with an online voting app, which we developed for almost nothing. This year the app delivered over 50 million organic social media impressions for our sponsor and it’s now recognised as the most successful crowd marketing campaign app in Ireland.”

Troy accounts the support of mentor, Moya Doherty, MD and Producer of the global sensation Riverdance, as a pivotal attribution towards Junk Kouture’s big break. “To convince Moya to help us at the time was a huge coup for us – she had been there and done it. One of the big issues was getting access to brands with the budget to sponsor Junk Kouture at the level of funding we wanted. Moya helped a lot with this and through her we were introduced to Bank of Ireland. This relationship proved to be very successful for us as we secured Ireland’s second biggest sponsorship deal ever within the teenage demographic.” Speaking about Bank of Ireland’s partnership, Laura Lynch, Head of Youth Banking said; “As Ireland’s leading bank for students we are delighted and really proud to have partnered with Junk Kouture over the last number of years. We’ve been developing and growing the competition regionally and nationally since 2012 and have worked closely with the Junk Kouture team over that time, taking the competition from a regional fashion show to one of the country’s most exciting, innovative and unique student showcase events. The partnership has


enabled the Bank to further strengthen community ties with secondary schools through our nationwide branch network and extensive schools programme and this very much aligns with our commitment to supporting today’s youth to be inspired to reach their full potential. In addition to providing young students with the opportunity to channel their passion and creative ability, they have a life changing experience when they take part, gaining more confidence and self-belief, which is extremely important for their personal development and for creating strong creative talent for the future.” Starting off with a mere 300 entries, the last five years have seen a massive 20,000 students enter the competition and a further 50,000 screaming fans attend the live shows. Junk Kouture has sold out theatres across Ireland including the The Helix, Bord Gais Energy Theatre, and Dublin’s 3Arena – all of which has helped propel the Social Enterprise into Scotland with the hope of expanding UK wide and entering the US. Junk Kouture has become far more than just a competition, with its vision to become an iconic fashion brand, known for introducing the next generation

of fashion leaders to the world. With this will come televised competitions, merchandising, an online community ‘Junk Kouture Neighbourhood’, and partnerships across multiple creative disciplines. “The competition has really grown legs and we’re already seeing a massive following in Scotland. We hope to break into England within the next two years before moving stateside- it’s a really exciting time for Junk Kouture.”

“Hard work and a creative mind can build a company when financial resources aren’t available.”

Ironically, one of Troy’s pain points from Junk Kouture, led him onto his next business venture, Wurkhouse. He found himself a regular client of Irish International BBDO, a major marketing agency based in Dublin. Fed up with the lack of alternatives closer to Derry, the local businessman spotted yet another opportunity. “I was so impressed with what Irish International had to offer – they counted the likes of Mars and Guinness as their clients, because they could deliver on every aspect of marketing – I thought there was a real opportunity to bring something like this to the North West.” Established in 2013, Wurkhouse started off small with only two employees. A merger with leading design agency, Blue Splat, saw the business turn a corner with its skillset and service offering by becoming the largest creative agency in the North West. Wurkhouse MD Andy Sheen, former owner of Blue Splat, applauds the merger saying “there is now

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a perfect fusion of skills under the roof of a truly creative agency.” Boasting impressive premises in The Innovation Centre within the Northern Ireland Science Park in Derry, Wurkhouse is a thriving creative digital agency. Their services range from a full strategic marketing plan, to a crafted website, the creation of a new brand, through to an interactive social media campaign. They have an ever-growing client base across a range of sectors including finance, insurance, retail, hospitality, engineering, technology as well as charities. The company works with a variety of high profile clients across the UK and Ireland including Firmus Energy, E+I Engineering, British Triathlon and Pancreatic Cancer UK, to name a few. “Our sales have been excellent over the last two years, with 50% growth year on year. With the addition of the Blue Splat team we’re aiming for even bigger success moving into 2017.” Wurkhouse’s success has recently reached new heights with their recent partnership with inbound marketing giant, HubSpot. A relatively new phenomenon, inbound marketing primarily focuses on attracting the right customers to your business with helpful, relevant information and content, moving away from the traditional methods of cold calling and chasing customers. “Our partnership with HubSpot will optimise our marketing by putting the right content in front of the right people at the right time to achieve the right results. HubSpot inbound marketing

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technology has been proven to boost the percentage of online leads for clients all over the world. We’re extremely proud to call ourselves a HubSpot Partner.”

“Three years on and one merger later, Wurkhouse now has 20 employees with offices in London and New York with further expansion planned up until 2019.”


Troy’s career took an interesting turn in 2015, having found himself managing Ireland’s newest young band Seo Linn. Cathal Ó Ruaidh, Keith O’Briain, Daithí Ó Ruaidh, Kev Shortall, Conor O’Móra and Stiofan O’Feareal, met in the Gaeltacht where they first attended as students in their younger days, before returning to mentor during their time off in the summer. From the beginning, Seo Linn realised that the potential was there to encapsulate their ethos and take the process of Irish language learning through music on the road to a wider audience. “Their passion is to make Irish a cool, fun and living language that can be used in everyday life and not just in the classroom.” Their initial time in the spotlight came with their Irish rendition of Avicci’s “Wake Me Up”, while they were teaching at Coláiste Lurgan in Connemara - the video received over one million online views within a week, and it has gone on to have over 20 million YouTube views. It was this video that prompted Troy to reach out to the boys, offering them a further opportunity to perform at iFest in Boston. “Myself and Elizabeth were taking Junk Kouture to iFest and I thought it would be a great opportunity for Seo Linn to come along and get a feel for the American Irish Market.

While there, myself and the six lads really hit it off and so our journey began.” Their project “Invest in Identity – Invest in Irish!” became the largest Irish music Kickstarter campaign reached in record time, with €50,000 raised in 30 days. With the sole aim to produce an album and bring the Irish language and culture overseas, this proved to be the key push in establishing Seo Linn. “What I saw in the boys was an insatiable energy and passion for what they were trying to do – it all came from a very pure place – they inspired me to get involved and help drive their careers forward. The music business was new to me so I knew building a good team with the right experience around Seo Linn was crucial – when U2’s PR agent heard them play and came on board I knew we were going in the right direction.” 2016 has been an incredible year so far for the Irish group, in which they have witnessed their greatest successes to date. Their release of bilingual single “Music Makers”, a song commissioned by RTE to commemorate and celebrate the 1916 centenary, alongside their performance on the Centenary 1916 RTE production from the Bord Gais Energy theatre, has gained huge recognition

nationally and internationally for Seo Linn. They are the highest charting independent band this year while also currently appearing on the Silver screen in their first TV show – commissioned by Tyrone Productions, Cleas Act is a 12part series following the guys around the country as they inspire our young people to use the Irish language in everyday life. When asked what lies ahead for the group, Troy shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon, with ambitious plans of global success. “The boys have just performed in New York’s Battery Park in front of 8,000 people and there are further US dates during the summer, in Boston, Cleveland and New York.”

“Their passion is to make Irish a cool, fun and living language that can be used in everyday life and not just in the classroom.” 59


Chief Executive’s Update Sinead McLaughlin gives a quick overview of the last six months of Chamber life in Derry-Londonderry.

It is hard to believe that another six months has passed. Chamber life seems to be as busy as ever with nearly twenty events under our belt in that short time, it seems that me and my team haven’t drawn breath as the weeks and months roll by. There has been speed networking, café conversations, workshops, conferences, debates and a great celebration of all things business in the North West. Chamber members have been tantalised and maybe tormented with the amount of advice and expertise and conversations to be had - all in the cause of helping each other do business better in the North West. Early in February there was an opportunity to directly engage at a café conversation in The Bunker, Sandwich Company, with Professor Paddy Nixon, Vice Chancellor of the Ulster University as their updated business plan for expansion was submitted. This was a chance to discuss his vision for the University and its place in the economic development of the region. It was a successful, informed and well attended event. The energy conference, sponsored by SONI, in late February during Enterprise week, gave us all a chance to discuss the myriad of issues involved in energy and infrastructure. With a key selection of high profile speakers, the debate was engaging and highly informative. It was good to see the mix of attendees from both the private and public sectors and that the debate continued even after the conference ended. There is no doubt that the North South Interconnector will allow businesses

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to grow and expand in the North West in addition to attracting foreign direct investment companies. March saw the EU Debate and anyone that attended will know that it was a highly contested debate. With some great speakers we were challenged time and again about what an exit from the European Union would mean. Well done to Angela Magowan and Jim Allister MLA for taking to the stage for the final debate. There is no doubt in my mind that to leave the EU will have serious repercussions on our business community given our proximity to the border. As this edition of Connected goes to print that decision has not yet been taken but there was much debate post our event and it will probably continue for some time yet. The fact that this is the Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink cannot go unnoticed. I’m really enjoying what each month’s theme is and what it means for the tourism area in the North West. Mary Blake, Derry and Strabane Council’s Tourism Development Officer was on hand to assist members in April and inform them how they could get involved and make the most of the opportunities during this year. We were only too delighted to have sporting legend, Joe Schmidt, as keynote speaker for the President’s Breakfast. Exceptionally well attended Joe was full of leadership tips, sporting antidotes leaving us in no doubt where the Irish Rugby team gathers its inspiration. The event sponsored by Electric Ireland saw over 200 members join President Gavin Killeen, a

fantastic morning was had by all. Our most recent event was the Business Awards but I’ll say nothing other than it is great to be in a room with so many inspirational people who are doing great business in our great place of the world. Too many times I see glasses that are half full but there was no doubt in my mind that evening, the glass was brimming over. Don’t get me wrong there have been a few bumps along the way, the closing of Ireland’s oldest department store here in Derry, Austins, was very difficult and I’ve yet to come to terms with not being able to enter that beautiful building. I’m sure each and every one of us have our individual memories. However, we have to look forward and the magazine has some wonderful good news stories which are well worth a read. We, at the Chamber, will continue to serve our members and give them a forum to be at the heart of a creative, innovative, competitive and confident region. For a list of our upcoming events log onto our website www.londonderrychamber.co.uk For event management, contact Laverne O’Donnell – laverne@londonderrychamber.co.uk or Cathy Kerlin – cathy@londonderrychamber.co.uk Or alternatively call 028 7126 2379


Chamber Photos Guest Speaker Joe Schmidt at the President’s Breakfast

Robin McCormick SONI Ltd, Kathy Graham Consumer Council, Jenny Pyper Utility Regulator, Stephen Kelly Manufacturing NI & Brian MGrath, Londonderry Port

Danske Bank Economist, Angela McGowan, at the Big EU Debate

New Members Asylia Ltd Bespoke Communications Bishop’s Gate Hotel Circa Energy CLIC Sargent DCI Ltd Derry Rentals Electric Ireland Flogas Natural Gas

Foyle Meats Campsie Foyle Meats Donegal Foyle Meats Gloucester Foyle Meats Hilton Foyle Meats Melton Mowbray Foyle Meats Omagh G.E.M.S Ltd Glenn Hinds Motivation and Consulting Gurney Fire Safety Ltd

Inishowen Independent JKC Specialist Cars JSE Computing Ltd Junk Kouture Musgrave MarketPlace One Source Virtual Patral Group Pillarpix Media Primrose on the Quay

Purvis Campbell Seo Linn The Green Cat Bakery Trojan Technologies Willis Insurance & Risk Management Xperience IT Solutions

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Brian McGrath Londonderry Port, Gavin Killeen Londonderry Chamber President, Sinead McLaughlin Londonderry Chamber & Robin McCormick SONI Ltd

Jenny Pyper from the Utility Regulator speaking at the Energy Conference

Jim Allister MLA in conversation with Gavin Killeen

President of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, Gavin Killeen

Ireland Rugby Head Coach, Joe Schmidt

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Kevin Caldwell Electric Ireland, Gavin Killeen Londonderry Chamber, Joe Schmidt Ireland Rugby Head Coach & Tony Dunlea Electric Ireland

Philip Gilliland (Caldwell & Robinson) & Gerry Kindlon (Seagate)

Londonderry Chamber of Commerce Former Past President, Richard Sterling asks the panel a question

Brian McGrath Londonderry Port, Gavin Killeen Londonderry Chamber, Kathy Graham Consumer Council, Robin McCormick SONI Ltd, Jenny Pyper Utility Regulator & Stephen Kelly Manufacturing NI

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MBA Inside View: Shaping Innovative Leaders Ben McLaughlin, Senior Director of Worldwide Recording Heads Group IT at Seagate Technology, is in the final stages of completing his Master of Business Administration (MBA) at the Ulster University Business School’s Magee campus. Ben takes some time out of his busy work schedule to share his thoughts about his experience to date on this executive level programme. Tell us about your job role?

How has the MBA helped your career?

Ben has international responsibility for IT across five high-tech nanotechnology facilities, one here in Ireland, two in Minneapolis in the US, as well as operations in Malaysia and Thailand. These facilities are chartered with volume manufacturing and research and development of recording heads for the hard disc drive industry.

I have a strong belief that as you progress up through more senior levels of management, it is important to match that progression with appropriate formal qualifications. The MBA more than meets that requirement. The MBA has also rounded out my skills portfolio and has given me a broader and deeper appreciation of all aspects of running a business. This has helped me to shape and develop my global IT organisation into a set of cost efficient services that are directly aligned to business value streams.

Ben says: “My main concern is to deliver 24/7 highavailability IT services into complex manufacturing and research environments, where facility operations are 100% dependent on the IT systems. I am also chartered to deploy bespoke software solutions to enable product builds that are controlled to design tolerances of angstroms, which is at the sub-atomic level.” Why did you choose to study the MBA? One of the key competencies of senior leaders is a strong desire to continue learning. Although Seagate makes significant and consistent investment in leadership development, I felt that the time had come for me to undertake a more intensive period of learning. I believed that the MBA could give me that experience.

What advice would you offer a person considering starting an MBA? When I first considered starting my MBA, there was an initial trepidation around returning to formal academic study after so many years being away from it. I needn’t have worried or hesitated. The excellent Ulster University Business School staff and my fantastic MBA colleagues gave me all the support needed to accelerate through the course. I would strongly encourage anyone considering an MBA to embrace a wonderful opportunity to acquire a rich and highly rewarding learning experience.

What attracted you to the Ulster University Business School at Magee? Firstly, after researching industry for the most beneficial leadership qualification, it’s clear that an MBA is recognised and valued internationally. Following very productive discussions with the Course Director at the Ulster University Business School, I was convinced that was where I wanted to study. What part of the course do you enjoy most? I really enjoy the access I have to the experienced academic staff at the Ulster University Business School and the huge body of global research material. Both have challenged me to think differently and to adjust and adapt my approach and leadership style. These elements have also had a gelling effect on my understanding of leadership concepts and theory. During my study of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, I analysed and gained a thorough understanding of the innovation systems in Northern Ireland, the UK and the EU. There are huge opportunities for NI business to become part of the global knowledge economy through implementation of the Innovation Strategy, and by leveraging the significant resources offered by the Horizon2020 EU funding mechanism. As the world begins to edge out of recession and with the next ‘IT gold rush’ upon us, ‘Internet of Things and Big Data Analytics’, this is an exciting time to be in business. What has been the benefit of studying the MBA at the Ulster University’s Magee campus? I have already mentioned the value provided by the experienced academic staff at the Ulster University Business School. In addition to the staff, one of the most enlightening and enriching parts of my MBA experience has been learning with like-minded people – the many experienced business managers and professionals whom I’ve had the great pleasure to encounter along the way. This has broadened my perspectives and expanded my network greatly.

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Ben McLaughlin - Senior Director, Worldwide Recording Heads Group IT, Seagate Technology, Master of Business Administration (MBA), Ulster University Business School.

To find out more about the MBA, contact:

Edel Griffin, MBA Course Director; Ulster University Business School, Magee campus at e.griffin@ulster.ac.uk or tel: 028 7167 5196 (NI) / 048 7167 5196 (ROI) Closing date for applications: 24 June 2016.


Master of Business Administration Inspiring Change – Transforming Business APPLY NOW FOR SEPTEMBER 2016 START 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 e.griffin@ulster.ac.uk or t: 028 7167 5196 (NI) / 048 7167 5196 (ROI) Apply Now: ulster.ac.uk/mageemba Closing date for applications: 24 June 2016

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Recruit Smart with a Higher Level Apprentice “Rebekah has been a real asset to the team. Her work ethic and commitment has been impressive since day one.”

This is the view of Charlene McMonagle from Deborah O’Donnell Chartered Accountants discussing how their Higher Level Apprentice Rebekah Glenn has made a positive impact on their business. North West Regional College (NWRC) has secured free places on a number of new Higher Level Apprenticeship (HLA) programmes specific to industry needs. Supported by the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) and Ulster University, businesses across the North West have been benefitting from the programme which offers employers an opportunity to ‘recruit smart’ by addressing the urgent gap in high-level skills shortages increasingly evident across the region. NWRC is leading the way in developing the Higher Level Apprenticeship framework within Northern Ireland and due to the success of these programmes it is now covering key priority skills areas including Mechanical Engineering, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Accountancy, Software Development Hospitality and Tourism Management and Business / Digital Marketing. Speaking about her experience so far Rebekah said, “The Higher Level Apprenticeship in Accountancy has been a very positive experience to date. I am studying towards a qualification as an Accounting Technician while working in Deborah O’Donnell Chartered Accountants which is a very busy accountancy firm. Hands on experience paired with classroom based learning means

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Pictured is Rebekah Glenn with Charlene McMonagle and Deborah O’Donnell.

I am learning the practical side of the subject as well as the theoretical. There is only so much you can learn from a text book! I was very reluctant to go to University and incur a debt so “earning while learning” has been the perfect solution.” For the employer the experience has been equally advantageous. Charlene added, “Having come from an Accounting Technicians background myself I see the potential that exists for Rebekah to further her career in accountancy and I firmly believe that this route is massively beneficial to both the student and the employer. We are very keen to promote accountancy, a historically male dominated industry, as a career choice for females so having the opportunity to nurture a young and enthusiastic student fits

perfectly with our own personal goals. “Working with North West Regional College was very easy from the outset. We would strongly recommend other businesses to engage with the College and offer Higher Level Apprenticeships within their workplace.”  What is a Higher Level Apprenticeship? • A unique work-based programme which enables participants to earn while they learn • Apprentices gain a nationally recognised professional qualification – Foundation Degree or relevant professional qualification • Apprentices will be employed in an organisation over a 2 or 3 year period

• Apprentices also receive close mentoring and academic support provided by NWRC • Provides businesses with employees motivated to learn and gaining the skills they need For more information on how a Higher Level Apprentice can help you grow your business contact Nicola Curry on Nicola. curry@nwrc.ac.uk WATCH: Listen to both the HLA and employer discuss the benefits at Nuprint Read more on Rebekah


DuPont Continues to Inspire Young Minds It all STEMs from the right kind of encouragement

DuPont, one of Derry~Londonderry’s most consistent employers, has honoured pupils from St Columb’s who took part in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) challenge run as part of the Sentinus programme for Year 13 pupils. Sentinus Young Innovators, incorporating Big Bang Northern Ireland, is one of the largest events of its kind in the UK, celebrating the achievements of young people in STEM. At its centre is an exhibition of innovative and exciting project work carried out by students from schools throughout Ireland.

Petra Grashoff, Plant Manager, DuPont and St Columb’s College students Jason McCandless, Adrian McCay, and James Clarke, Paul Kirkpatrick, Organisation Manager, DuPont, Mr. Liam Burns, teacher, and Patrick Campbell, Technology Manager, DuPont.

The problem solving students used their STEM knowledge to great effect, said Paul Kirkpatrick, Organisation Manager for DuPont. “The four-strong team from St Columb’s showed a real understanding of engineering and everyone at the plant was impressed with their skills,” said Paul. He continued: “The pupils were asked to solve a real technical problem faced by our engineers at the plant by researching, designing, manufacturing and implementing a solution to the problem.

Petra Grashoff, Plant Manager, DuPont with St Columb’s College students James Clarke, Adrian McCay, and Jason McCandless.

“The pupils developed a high quality solution which they plan to take to the Young Innovators Exhibition, Ulster University, Jordanstown, later this year.” DuPont (NYSE: DD) has been bringing world-class science and engineering to the global marketplace in the form of innovative products, materials, and services since 1802. The company believes that by collaborating with customers, governments, NGOs, and thought leaders we can help find solutions to such global challenges as providing enough healthy food for people everywhere, decreasing dependence on fossil fuels, and protecting life and the environment. 

Petra Grashoff, Plant Manager, DuPont with St Columb’s College students James Clarke, Adrian McCay, and Jason McCandless.

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Developing our Future Talent Benjamin Franklin once wrote, ‘Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn’

At the Northern Ireland Science Park we live by this mantra and our vision is for Northern Ireland to be one of the most entrepreneurial knowledge economies in Europe. One of the biggest blockers to realising this vision relates to our culture and the aspirations of our young people. Careers in the Knowledge Economy are now amongst the most lucrative, can offer greater job security and a more fulfilling sense of purpose. The growth sectors within the NI economy are those within the Knowledge Economy, including software development, digital media, agri-tech and advanced engineering however these are the sectors where businesses are challenged to find people with the right skills. There is a role for most aptitudes but negative perceptions still exist amongst many influential stakeholders and there is a lack of understanding of the different pathways into Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) careers. To address this the NI Science Park has developed Generation Innovation, one of our most exciting programmes specifically engaging with the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators. By collaborating with schools and colleges throughout Northern Ireland and working with key stakeholders such as Sentinus, Young Enterprise NI and CultureTECH, Generation Innovation aims to do nothing less than change the aspirations of our young people through providing information and programmes that will make Knowledge Economy jobs exciting and appealing. It is not only about inspiring our young people to consider

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careers in the Knowledge Economy but supporting those with an entrepreneurial flair to have the confidence and tools to start their own companies, learning from the success of our leading entrepreneurs and making a real difference in Northern Ireland and beyond, creating the competitive businesses of the future. Now recognised by teenagers and their teachers as one of Northern Ireland’s most important career-inspiring events, Generation Innovation’s annual Night of Ambition is an exclusive event for young people showing a spark for innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship. The night not only showcases the latest local tech success stories but, uniquely, provides the teenage attendees with an opportunity to meet with, learn from and even work together with some of Northern Ireland’s most inspirational role models in a group Design Thinking workshop. Through Generation Innovation, working closely with industry and entrepreneurs, we are providing students with access to the experiences and opportunities to get them hooked on the jobs of tomorrow, not the opportunities of the last century. We like to think of it as ‘This is for you. And this can be you’. Generation Innovation is a peer-driven network and the young people themselves are very much involved with the development of the programme and for the last two years, a collaboration between Generation

Innovation and CultureTECH has provided six of the Gi Alumni with summer internships to organise a careers’ conference that they would love to attend themselves to take place during the CultureTech festival in Derry. With over 300 post-primary pupils attending, the team are responsible for designing the programme, approaching speakers and managing all the production of the event. The two CREATE Careers conferences have been very successful and well received by pupils and teachers alike. Over the next twelve months we are planning to roll out some more smaller, bespoke, satellite events around Northern Ireland, providing access for more teenagers to the entrepreneurial Knowledge Economy and Design Thinking process. Another exciting development has been the introduction of CONNECT Young Founders (CYF), which was successfully piloted in 2015, and provides five young people aged between 16-18 years old the opportunity to be paid throughout July and August, whilst progressing their own start-up business at the Science Park. Based on our successful flagship programme Springboard, each young person is mentored by one of our Entrepreneurs-inResidence (EiR) and attends master

classes covering all aspects of business development. At the end of the summer, they will then pitch-off against each other to secure a £5,000 prize to develop their business further. The CYF programme is a unique opportunity for young people to get real hands-on experience on what it takes to develop a business, learning from those who have created their own successful companies. The technical and business skills that they will develop alongside their own personal development will complement and enhance their education, university and career prospects. Seeing last year’s cohort flourish throughout the summer and beyond is a testament to the talent we have in Northern Ireland and their determination to succeed. Northern Ireland’s young people can change the world by becoming tomorrow’s entrepreneurs, business leaders and innovators. Our aim is to help them believe this and support them on their journey. For further details on Generation Innovation and CONNECT Young Founders please contact Joanne Stuart at joanne.stuart@nisp.co.uk


Learning Pool creates a pipeline of talent Great things are accomplished by talented people who believe they will accomplish them. American writer, Warren Bemis. In any business we know how important it is to have the right talent or people. In the North West there is one exemplar where talent underwrites all that it does and who are also celebrating their 10th anniversary, Learning Pool. Set up to deliver e-learning, Learning Pool, now trains over one million people per year. They have replaced expensive, inconsistent face to face training by delivering online solutions to those who are traditionally hard to reach. Starting off with one employee in 2006 the company now employs over 80 and given the recent announcement of the investment fund, Carlyle Cardinal Ireland buying a major stake, it would seem the company is set to grow its team and develop new products. At the helm is Paul McElvaney

who recently talked to editor Jackie Logan on all things Learning Pool. “I may set direction but it is the talented employees that make Learning Pool a great company, and a great place to work. A Swedish company recently visited and they loved the feel of the place and thought that the office’s atmosphere was amazing. We know our work is good but it’s good that people see the value in our people too. “How we get on with each other on a daily basis is how we are with our customers. It’s what makes us a good team plus we are very customer focused in everything we do and I’m very proud of them and what we’ve achieved collectively.” Learning Pool made the Sunday Times Best Small Companies to Work for 2016 list and on their very first attempt achieved Gold

in their Investors in People Award – now that’s rare! Although with all these great achievements Paul believes that to have talent and keep talent, it will always be a challenge. Engaged in a collaborative Rising Star Programme with the local university it has now developed into a scholarship programme where third year placements get a firm introduction into the world of work at Learning Pool. “At Learning Pool it’s important we engage with the local colleges and universities. In addition to ensuring we benefit from the best available talent it’s great for my employees, who put in an inordinate amount of time teaching young people about our business. Of course the graduates need to come with the right attitude and be able to add value, but by the end of the year the change in the graduates is pretty incredible

as they become coherent, confident, team players and an integral part of Learning Pool.” Paul believes that keeping talent in the North West is a much wider issue and needs more engagement across both the public and private sectors. “In the North West we’ve a young demographic. Young people go to university and never come back, but that’s changing. More and more young people want to stay in Derry-Londonderry. “I know that the universities must get bigger but it’s not all about the number of students it must be about the skills agenda. We must become a centre of excellence across specific areas and we need to invest in skills that are needed here. For example, video production, online content writers and software developers. “Derry-Londonderry has transformed over the last number of years. The City of Culture, the numerous music festivals and CultureTech have all given this area a great reputation as a great place to be and work. We must keep the momentum going so that young people stay or if they go away that they come back and add real value to the North West. “After all, with our pool of talented people we can accomplish great things.”

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Your Business Toolkit Wherever we are in the world, gadgets, apps and phones have fast become the must have items for business men and women. Here the Connected Team reviews the latest items on the market in addition to the 10 best apps. iPhone SE With the new iPhone SE, Apple have reverted back to the small 4in devices. There have been a few refinements such as a bigger camera flash, which is vertically aligned alongside the length of the lens, and overall increased horsepower regarding performance and wireless capacity. The phone also comes in a choice of four metallic finishes (silver, space grey, gold and rose gold). Although the iPhone SE looks no different from the iPhone 5s, it has all the power of the most expensive iPhone devices. In this case, small is definitely beautiful. From £359. Garmin Drive™ If you do a lot of driving with work, or just for pleasure, then you should check out the new range of state of the art portable navigation devices available from Garmin. Its four new models, Garmin Drive™, Garmin DriveSmart™, Garmin DriveAssist™ and Garmin DriveLuxe™ are specifically designed to help increase driver situational awareness. The range boasts a number of driver alerts to encourage safer driving and situational awareness such as warnings for upcoming sharp curves, railway or animal crossings, alerts for users driving the wrong way on a one-way street and much more.

Monster Mobile PowerCard Turbo Rechargeable Portable Battery Pack This slim and lightweight compact device allows you to charge your smartphone and tablets while on the move. It fits easily into your pocket or handbag for emergency charging as and when you need it. The device is compatible with a wide range of products and charges your device three times faster than standard USB chargers. It has a universal charging interface that charges anything with a USB port – just the thing if you’re away on business and don’t have a charger. With easy operation, simply connect it to your device to make calls, answer emails or search the web without losing power. Priced at £39.99 we think it’s a bit pricey but might well just save you when it’s much needed. Fitbit Blaze This touchscreen fitness band is the next generation of activity trackers. Fitbit has upped its game and developed a fitness focused ‘smartwatch’ band that comes with interchangeable leather, sport and link bands. As with other offerings such as the Fitbit Charge HR, the Blaze accurately tracks your steps and sleep and monitors your heart rate, but the touchscreen element enables you to swipe to view your day’s activity, chose an exercise, do a quick FitStar workout all right from the screen. The Blaze also has automatic exercise recognition so if you forget to start tracking as soon as you begin your exercise, it automatically tracks runs, bike rides, walks and sports that are longer than 15 minutes and syncs them to the Fitbit app. You also receive smartphone notifications which is useful if you’re the kind of person who still likes to read their messages while working out. Priced £159.99 it isn’t cheap but if you are into your fitness this might just be for you.

Drivers also receive red light and safety camera alerts as well as vital timesaving traffic information with fast-approaching traffic jam notifications. For longer routes, a fatigue warning alert suggests potential break times and available rest areas or places to stop. The Garmin Drive™ lineup has models in different display sizes with various map regions and navigation features so there is plenty to chose from. The range is available now and retails between £99.99 - £299.99 / €133.00 - €400.00.

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Sensorwake Alarm Clock There’s a new approach to the morning wake up! Sensorwake ‘olfactory’ alarm clock releases scents of ocean, lush jungle, croissant, coffee, chocolate or peppermint into the room to wake you up and ease you into your working day. On sale from November 2016, we can’t wait to see it and just might buy it for the Connected Team office so we can get our extra chocolate and coffee fixes. From £75.


Our 10 Essential Apps Evernote (Android, iOS, Windows, BlackBerry) Evernote is a note-taking app full of features. You can save ideas or reminders as audio notes, write down to-do lists on your screen as an ink note, or save text and screenshots to share with colleagues. You can synchronise your notebook across all your devices and create shared notebooks that can be used by everyone - great for sharing minutes or meeting notes. There’s even an expenses functionality. It’s like having your own PA, in your smartphone. CloudOn (Android, iOS, BlackBerry) CloudOn is a cloud-based service that allows you to use Microsoft Office on your smartphone. You can create, review and share documents, spreadsheets and presentations from any device. Because all versions of your documents are saved in the cloud, you’ll have you’ll never lose changes to a spreadsheet or need to email documents to yourself again. You can also connect to your Dropbox, Google Drive and SkyDrive accounts, and send or share files with colleagues and contacts via email directly from the app, making it ideal for teams in different locations. Dropbox (Android, iOS, Windows, BlackBerry) Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring your photos, documents, and videos anywhere and share them easily. It’s ideal for transferring large presentations or high resolution images.  Multiple people can log in on multiple devices and, once synced, your files will stay synced across all devices. Dropbox also functions as a cloud backup service, allowing you to recover deleted files and revert to previously saved versions if you delete something by accident. LinkedIn (Android, iOS, Windows, BlackBerry) LinkedIn is ideal for networking, promoting your business and finding new employees. You can also start group conversations with other business owners, follow significant people in your industry, keep in touch with former colleagues and contacts and stay up-to-date with your favourite LinkedIn groups. Cardmunch (Android, iOS, Windows, BlackBerry) If you have to network a lot and lose track of contacts’ business cards, Cardmunch lets you scan them on your smartphone, stores the details to your address book contacts and connects to their LinkedIn profile. Hootsuite (Android, iOS, Windows, BlackBerry) HootSuite brings together all of your social media accounts. It allows you or your colleagues to send messages on multiple platforms at once, or to check customer tweets and comments while you’re on the move. You can also set up alerts for when someone mentions your company in a tweet, to allow you to respond quickly. Waze (Android, iOS, Windows, BlackBerry) This clever app is ideal if you are on the road for business. It’s a community-based traffic and navigation app where drivers share real-time traffic information from wherever they are. The app uses crowd-sourcing capabilities to ensure its up to date. Logmein (Android, iOS, Windows, BlackBerry) LogMeIn is a remote login app that lets you access your desktop from any computer with an internet connection. You simply log into the app and your desktop appears exactly how you left it, so you can access all your documents as you would on your own PC. Salesforce Mobile (Android, iOS, Windows, BlackBerry) Salesforce is used by sales teams to log customer calls, opportunities and leads. With the mobile version you have all your client details to hand if they get in touch when you’re out of the office, making it easy to work on the road and update your staff at the same time. You can also keep track on how well your sales team are doing while you’re away from the office. Skype (Android, iOS, Windows, BlackBerry) Many businesses use Skype video calling and instant messaging in the office, but not everyone knows it is also available for your smartphone and tablet. The app can be used anywhere and lets you connect with users on nearly any device.

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CONNECTEDrive Motoring Correspondent, Darryl Campbell

Summer’s here, so that can only mean one thing… an influx of convertibles. I’ve reviewed the new Mini Convertible and got an exclusive insight into the new Land Rover Evoque Convertible. Also, I’ve brought back all the best bits from this year’s London Motor Show, only for CONNECTEDrive.

NEWS

Wraps Off for Tesla Model 3 The hugely anticipated Tesla Model 3 has finally been revealed. The premium American electric vehicle manufacturer’s first compact executive car is about to shake the industry like no other, as the brand’s Model 3 will be competitively priced, starting at approximately £24,400. Many details are yet to be announced, but the car is said to offer a minimum range of 215 miles with its advanced lithium ion batteries and all-electric powertrain and is said to do 0-60 in just six seconds. ‘Tesla doesn’t make slow cars’ – Tesla CEO, Elon Musk. ‘I want one’ – me. Summer Sensation Evoked by Range Rover Jaguar Land Rover has introduced the world’s first luxury compact SUV convertible to the market, the Evoque Convertible. With space for four adults, a 251 litre boot capacity and a ski hatch, the Evoque price will begin at approximately £47,500. I attended the preview event at Charles Hurst Land Rover in Belfast in April – and this car has the wow factor. Unlike anything I’ve seen before, the Evoque Convertible will definitely be a stand out on the roads in Northern Ireland once it is launched.

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BMW Award for Local Retailer BMW have announced their National Retailer of the Year awards, with Coleraine firm JKC Specialist Cars picking up the ‘New Car Retailer of the Year’ award, beating competition from 150 BMW UK retailers for the second year running. JKC were presented with the award by host Rob Brydon at the prestigious ceremony, held in the 02 Intercontinental Hotel in London. Having also been shortlisted for the ‘BMW Marketing Retailer of the Year’ and the prestigious ‘BMW Dealer of the Year’ in the privately owned category, it was a highly successful night for the Coleraine business. Mercedes Announces New E-Class The all-new Mercedes Benz E-Class is the latest entry to the super-competitive executive class. Smart and practical, this car is one of Mercedes most sleek offerings yet. The interior is also a huge step forward for the brand, featuring an integrated infotainment set up that sits flush in the dash and an optional virtual instrument display. ‘Drive Pilot’ is being heralded by Mercedes as ‘the next step in autonomous motoring’, allowing a driver to follow the car in front at a safe distance. Costs begin at £35,935.


BMW Retailer BMW Retailer of of thethe Year 2015 Year 2015

The Ultimate The Ultimate Driving Machine Driving Machine

BMW BMW RETAILER RETAILER OF OF THE THE YEAR YEAR 2015. 2015. RETAIL RETAILSALES. SALES. JKC JKCCOLERAINE. COLERAINE.

We Weare arevery veryproud proudtotoannounce announcethat thatfrom fromover over140 140authorised authorisedBMW BMWRetailers Retailersacross acrossthe theUK, UK,wewehave havewon wonthe the coveted award of BMW Retail Sales of the Year 2015. coveted award of BMW Retail Sales of the Year 2015. OfOfcourse, course,with withour our5-star 5-starcustomer customerrating ratingforforsales salesand andservice serviceand andour ourcommitment commitmenttotogoing goingthe theextra extramile, mile, the thereal realwinner winneris isyou. you. We Wewarmly warmlyinvite inviteyou youtotoour ourBMW BMWCentre Centretotoshow showyou youour ourlatest latestBMW BMWmodels modelsororarrange arrangea atest testdrive*. drive*. Please Pleasedrop dropininororgive giveususa acall, call,we welook lookforward forwardtotowelcoming welcomingyou. you.

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1-9 Milburn Road, Coleraine 1-9 Milburn Road, Coleraine Northern Ireland 1QS Northern IrelandBT52 BT52 1QS 028 7035 5222 028 7035 5222www.jkcbmw.co.uk www.jkcbmw.co.uk Official Officialfuel fueleconomy economyfigures figuresforforthe theBMW BMWrange: range:Urban Urban19.2-72.4mpg 19.2-72.4mpg(14.7-3.9l/100km). (14.7-3.9l/100km).Extra ExtraUrban Urban31.4-91.3mpg 31.4-91.3mpg (9.0-3.1l/100km). 259-0g/km. (9.0-3.1l/100km).Combined Combined25.4-470.8mpg 25.4-470.8mpg(11.1-0.06l/100km). (11.1-0.06l/100km).CO CO 259-0g/km. 2 emissions 2 emissions Figures may vary depending on on driving style andand conditions. Figures may vary depending driving style conditions. *Test drive is subject to to applicant status andand availability. *Test drive is subject applicant status availability.

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The London Motor Show: Highlights

Our Motoring Correspondent, Darryl Campbell flew to London to bring back the best bits from the revamped British Motor Show. Since 2008, the UK has been without its own dedicated automotive showcase event. Friday 6th May saw the opening of The London Motor Show, with hundreds of car models on display in Battersea Park, London. Organisers of the revamped event secured backing from 35 different car brands, including; Aston Martin, Rolls-Royce, Jaguar, Land Rover, Infiniti, McLaren, Noble and many more.

to see the car on show and find out what show-goers thought of it. It looks impressive from the outside. Inside, unfortunately, it is hard to conceal the Nissan originated interior. It’s not cheap, either. The estimated on-the-road price is £27,000… you could buy a real Jaguar for that – the new XE starts at £26,995.

One of the most fun and engaging showings was the Project Cars VR experience. Using the latest ‘Oculus Rift’ virtual reality device, engineered by Mark Zuckerberg no less, the fully immersive racing experience sat the user in a Formula One car taking on the infamous Nürburgring in Germany. Needless to say, I was pretty hopeless, however, Top Gear’s former Stig, Ben Collins showed everyone how it was done.

There were several UK debuts at the show, ranging from the spectacular £154,000 McLaren 570GT to the more pedestrian MG GS, the brand’s first SUV offering. Excitingly, future technology featured heavily at the show, including the Riversimple RASA, a Welsh-built twoseater hydrogen powered car. One of the most intriguing stands was the Mitsuoka brand. Take, for example, the Viewt model, a 1963 Jaguar Mk2 recreation based on a brand new Nissan Micra automatic. Japanese Mitsuoka executives even flew over specially

Also at the show - but unfortunately under a cloth - was a full size model of the new TVR sports car. Company boss Les Edgar revealed further details of the Cosworth V8-powered car at the press conference but refused to reveal the car to the media. It’s set to be revealed later this year but it will be customers who get to see it first during private viewings, promised Edgar – as a reward to the hundreds of people who have already placed a deposit on the unseen sports car. Two of the most head turning models on display at the show were the exclusive Kahn

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London Motor Show Edition, Land Rover Defender 90, designed by Afzal Kahn and the Flying Huntsman 6x6 Pickup. Afzal Kahn said: “I have created a vehicle that celebrates the history and unique personality of the Defender. This is a fitting tribute to one of the world’s best loved vehicles and I would welcome feedback from Defender owners and enthusiasts alike.” The Flying Huntsman incorporates the body of a truck, the interior of a sportscar and the feel of an army vehicle – it is awesome.

Whilst some have hailed it as the ‘Battersea Park Car Dealer Show’, it was brilliant to finally have a Motor Show of sorts for enthusiasts to attend in the United Kingdom. TVR’s display was incredibly disappointing however, from a PR perspective I understood what they were trying to achieve. Nevertheless, the show was jam packed with cars and there were plenty of engaging experiences for all ages. If you’re looking for a fun day out with the family, I’d highly recommend you give it a go. The London Motor Show will be back next year from 4th - 7th May 2017 and tickets are available at thelondonmotorshow.co.uk.


Here Comes the Summer! Mini Launches Not So Mini Convertible With its three brands BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce, the BMW Group is arguably the world’s leading premium manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles. It is therefore fitting that the group manufactures the world’s only luxe convertible in the small car segment, the MINI Convertible. When I first saw the latest MINI hatch launch in 2014, I hated it. As a self-confessed huge fan of the Mk2 hatch, I thought the Mk3 looked like an overweight brother – but I think it suits this convertible guise. The latest convertible isn’t ground breaking, which is a good thing. Buyers have come to know what to expect from MINI, and that’s evolution instead of revolution. Consistency, if you must. The new generation of the open-top four-seater is available in five engine variants, three petrol and two diesel engines with MINI TwinPower Turbo Technology. The new MINI John Cooper Works Convertible likewise lines up for the start with a 170 kW/231 hp 4-cylinder turbo engine. The interior is MINI’s highest quality yet, with soft, tactile fabrics and an incredibly stylish centre console. For the first time, MINI has mounted the speedo and rev counter

in front of the driver, choosing to, instead mount the media infotainment system in the large circular display in the centre of the dash. Whilst this may upset some purists, it means less distraction for the driver. The new model is fitted for the first time with a fully automatic and electrically powered soft top operation system as well as a rollover protection that is now fully integrated. This new roof system takes just 18 seconds to manoeuvre up or down, and can be operated at speeds of up to 18mph, and it’s surprisingly quiet. With a wide range of exclusive equipment features, options include the Always Open Timer, automatic air conditioning with convertible mode and the MINI Connected rain warning function that connects to your phone through an app. In order to ensure that driving fun on the sunny side is both agile and safe, there is cutting-edge drive and suspension technology and an extremely rigid body structure.

would allow our local Derry/Londonderry MINI enthusiasts to squeeze into the tightest of spaces at Foyleside, which is no bad thing.

MINI have also just announced a “Scissor Doors” option for the three door hatch, Paceman and Convertible models, based on a refined body concept comprising two wing doors that both open vertically. This

Prices for the new MINI Convertible start at £18,475 for the Cooper, or from £20,225 for the Cooper D. This Cooper S is priced from £22,430, and topping the line-up is the John Cooper Works model at £26,630.

Some could say that the bigger dimensions make the Mk3 more practical, allowing for higher levels of luxury and improved tech specs, but I hold on to my belief that a MINI should be ‘mini’.

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FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE NEW XC90 AT YOUR LOCAL NORTHERN IRELAND DEALER

Greers of Antrim & Coleraine

028 9446 0066 www.volvocarsantrim.co.uk

Official fuel consumption for the all-new Volvo XC90 in MPG (l/100km) ranges from: Urban 28.8 (9.8) - 45.6 (6.2), Extra Urban 40.4 (7.9) - 52.3 (5.4), Combined 35.3 (8.0) - 134.5 (2.1). CO2 Emissions 186 - 49g/km. MPG figures are obtained from laboratory testing intended for comparisons between vehicles and may not reflect real driving results.


Brian John Spencer

writes…

I often look at the South with envy. Once a burgeoning textile and manufacturing economy, Northern Ireland with its bloated public sector is looking rather stagnant. The South by comparison, once stuffy and deferential with bad roads, is now vibrant and exciting with good roads. Ulster (Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal) said YES in May 2015 to gay marriage. A recovering Irish economy continues to attract large corporates and investors from Europe and America, bringing in jobs and leaders and helping to enrich and push out Ireland’s cultural plain. From Dublin to Letterkenny to Cork, start-ups are thriving; and hip coffee-shops and cafe-restaurants don’t fall far from these green shoots.    Meanwhile, the North is enduringly conservative; with a vocal clerical lobby and a lead executive party with a deep religious bent. An HBO executive with Game of Thrones recently said that Belfast and Northern Ireland is limited culturally and in cosmopolitan terms, making it a challenging place to live in for any length of time.    Michael Deane, the famous Irish restaurateur, has been railing for years against the North’s archaic licensing laws. We’ve all seen the infamous vista bewildered tourists ambling aimlessly through a deserted city centre on the Sabbath. Contrast a night out in the town and the morning after in Dublin with Belfast or Derry, a cultural gap has emerged with the south pulling well ahead. As Mr Deane took his change campaign to BBC radio he was met with the grey and antique tones of the reverend David McIlveen, a Free Presbyterian minister who countered with calls for a total prohibition of alcohol.    More and more, Ulster’s tired protestantcatholic clash is being replaced with the one of liberal versus conservative. But the former is still there, as the recent elections underlined. But old moulds and old thinking doesn’t help liberalise a stale economy. And when it comes to the North West economy specifically, it is persistently underserved by old-mould politicians who, to make things worse, are East Coast and Belfast-centric.  Just as we want to close the north-south gap, so we need to close the east-west gap. 

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If we want an open and strong regional economy for Northern Ireland, it needs not only balance of sectors but also balance of geography. Our natural resource is our people, hospitality and our stunning scenery. Yet, our best students are exported; education is persistently failing children in deprived areas and persistently under-preparing young people for the work-force; our infrastructure is crumbling and out of date and our tourism contributes less to the NI economy than to almost any other part of the UK. 

honest and competitive and helps to normalise politics. When you have an all-party power sharing executive you can promise everything and deliver nothing and face no consequences, because there is no political alternative for the electorate to actually ballot. The endorsement of political delay and deadlock on May 6 2016 shows this.     However, with a formal opposition, failure by government can be fully exposed and Across the board change is needed. And held to account. With a formal opposition change comes in great measure only from a clear alternative can be articulated to the responsible and progressive lawmakers.  electorate. Normalised politics can help  It’s a well versed refrain in Northern Ireland to normalise Northern Ireland’s society to decry the ‘dinosaur’ politicians. However, and economy which, while having much it seems that this cliché criticism is entirely potential, remains deeply dysfunctional.  unrepresentative and misplaced. For The Belfast-Derry corridor remains a the Assembly election on May 5 gave a glaringly delinquent aspect of the ringing endorsement of our old-mould Northern social-economy. It used to be the ‘Jurassic’ politicians and their ponderous South that had the pot holes and dodgy administration of 2011-2016.  roads, now it’s Ulster.    The 2016 Elections gave a fresh mandate Here is one key area where the political for more of exactly the same. Yet Northern debate can be refocused, and where the Ireland has perhaps never been more feet of government can be held to the fire.  ripe for change. Northern Ireland may The business community needs to become have just witnessed its Big Bang, even its more demanding and avail of the change Reformation moment, when on May 12, that is afoot. Look at Michael Deane and 2016 Mike Nesbitt announced that the see how a simple social media meme UUP were crossing the political barricades triggered a wave of debate. That was due and going into opposition. “Let battle to our archaic licensing laws, what about commence;” he defiantly proclaimed.  Add our archaic road to the North West?  to this Fresh Start and the prospect of more   competitive Corporation Tax, Northern Ultimately Northern Ireland needs to Ireland is now in a period of pregnant diversify and rebalance. Northern Ireland anticipation. The decision to create an needs to do high-tech instead of low-tech,  opposition has been warmly welcomed by start exporting products instead of people, all but the incumbent SF-DUP alliance.  and start featuring on CNN for our   economic data instead of violent Nesbitt’s political event could fizzle out as demonstrations. Then Northern Ireland a damp squib, or it could help shift North- could be less of a drag on London and ern Ireland off the ancient tribal axis. The more of a competitor with Dublin.  move from identity to real politicals. Having an opposition keeps government more brianjohnspencer.com


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CONNECTED Business Magazine Issue 3  

The third issue of CONNECTED Business Magazine has arrived.

CONNECTED Business Magazine Issue 3  

The third issue of CONNECTED Business Magazine has arrived.