Making It Happen in the North West

Derry City and Strabane District Council is well on its way towards shaping the future of its local economy and setting out strong foundations for future investment and growth when it publishes its Community Plan this year.

At the heart of the Council’s strategic plan moving forward is the commitment to building a thriving and sustainable economy, offering an exceptional proposition that is attractive to both local and international investors and providing the stability and the options that a business needs.

The city and region’s strategic Community Plan will form the blueprint for all major aspects of the region’s future development, including capital build and infrastructural expansion, environmental regeneration, as well as influencing the health and well-being of all citizens.
At a time when the political, social and economic landscape is changing and we are dealing with the ongoing uncertainty around Brexit, never has it been more important for investors to ensure solid foundations are in place before making any future investment decisions. With its strong focus on Making it Happen in the North West, Derry City and Strabane District Council is in a very strong position to do just that.

Renowned for its innovation, creativity and talent, the North West region is on the cusp of reaching its full potential thanks to its ongoing commitment to establishing itself as a Gateway to Growth, with plans to invest £3.5 billion to strategically transform the North West’s economic and social landscape, with the potential to bring 10,100 more jobs to the region and £486 million of additional Gross Value Added.

As the second city of Northern Ireland, Derry~Londonderry is well positioned on a national border and poised at the gateway to Europe, where it can make the most of its unique cross-jurisdictional location, which sets it apart from the rest of the country. It embodies a region of major scale, servicing a city region of 400,000 people, partnered with its neighbours in Donegal and sharing some of the challenges faced by peripheral areas, it makes sense that it pools its significant assets and resources to strengthen and grow the cross-border region as a whole. The offer of significant cost advantages compared to the rest of Ireland, combined with value-adding benefits makes the case for investment clear and compelling.

While it is impossible to predict the implications of Brexit, one thing is certain, cross-border co-operation will only bolster the region’s chances of overcoming the obstacles and embracing the opportunities as they emerge.

The growth and development of the economy is not a long-term aspiration – it is an immediate necessity – and is pivotal to the achievement of all other aspects of the Community Plan. Without economic stability, the area limits opportunity, drives out emerging talent, and continues to impact on the health and well-being of those who remain.

Looking to the future, the aim is to create 10,100 new jobs, the majority based in the private sector, in order to effectively stimulate the local economy and increase prosperity. In addition, the plan identifies key priorities in terms of the expansion of the Ulster University at Magee, advancing skills development; attracting investment; entrepreneurial support; nurturing innovation; promoting research and development; and putting in place the appropriate infrastructure to support a range of industries.

The Council is committed to maximising the potential of its assets, including our portfolio of regionally significant sites, such as Fort George, Ebrington, and Strabane Business Park. It is also committed to establishing an Accelerated Development Zone pilot, as well as incubation space, shared office space, and a range of support programmes for business start-ups. In tandem with this will be support packages for foreign direct investment (FDI) and the strengthening of industry led collaborative networks in a broad spectrum of areas including digital/data analytics, health sciences and advanced manufacturing.

It recognises that new sources of finance will be integral to achieving these aspirations and a commitment to securing the resources needed from both the private and public sectors to effectively deliver, has been given.

To assist in this, the outcomes and actions of the Community Plan aim to mirror those outlined in the Programme for Government, ensuring a cohesive and targeted response to the challenges identified for our city region.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Hilary McClintock, pictured in Boston with Donegal Cathaoirleach, Terence Slowey, Chief Executive of Derry City and Strabane District Council, John Kelpie, and Donegal Chief Executive Seamus Neely, presenting gifts to Irish Consulate General Fionnuala Quinlan.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Hilary McClintock, pictured in Boston with Donegal Cathaoirleach, Terence Slowey, Chief Executive of Derry City and Strabane District Council, John Kelpie, and Donegal Chief Executive Seamus Neely, presenting gifts to Irish Consulate General Fionnuala Quinlan.

“Looking to the future, the aim is to create 10,100 new jobs, the majority based in the private sector, in order to effectively stimulate the local economy and increase prosperity.”

The ongoing commitment to cross border collaboration is extremely important in delivering the united vision of a gateway for growth for the North West region, and enabling the region to capitalise on the many exceptional resources that will ultimately drive forward and deliver initiatives designed to attract inbound and outbound foreign direct investment.

One of the success stories of the recent cross border collaboration, which brought about the Catalyst Inc campus, was established against the backdrop of the fast expanding knowledge economy and provides a versatile space for some of the island’s most forward thinking, connected and innovative start-up companies.

The region’s very strong proven record in attracting foreign direct investment is well known, with international players such as Seagate, DuPont, Fujitsu, One Source Virtual, Bemis and Allstate already reaping the benefits of its talented and well educated workforce. With over 38,000 students in further and higher education, and Ulster University campuses and the North West Regional College on its doorstep, there is a wealth of available skill and knowledge. With a diverse range of expertise, we recognise that the key catalyst project for the regeneration of the City and District is the expansion of the Ulster University at Magee and we are working with a range of partners to ensure that goal is realised. The Council is confident it can continue to attract new businesses to avail of this vibrant and well educated talent pool, the value balance, a superb quality of life, the business-friendly and collaborative environment with high-end cost competitive office, retail and industrial offering.

In November the City and District’s Mayor, Alderman Hilary McClintock, led a crossborder delegation to Massachusetts as part of the Council’s ongoing strategy of positive engagement in the US. As well as meeting with key influencers and participating in the Golden Bridges Conference, the delegation placed a very strong emphasis on securing new opportunities for businesses from the North West who were keen to expand into the US market. The trip was a huge success in terms of putting the North West, region on a global platform as a wonderful place to visit, do business and to showcase the great steps we are making towards Making it Happen in the North West. For the companies from Derry~Londonderry, Strabane and Donegal, who participated in the engagement, the visit was significant in securing new contacts and starting conversations with new audiences, partners and buyers.

 

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Hilary McClintock, pictured in Boston with Donegal Cathaoirleach, Terence Slowey, Chief Executive of Derry City and Strabane District Council, John Kelpie, and Donegal Chief Executive Seamus Neely, exchanging gifts with Rick Sullivan, President of the Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Hilary McClintock, pictured in Boston with Donegal Cathaoirleach, Terence Slowey, Chief Executive of Derry City and Strabane District Council, John Kelpie, and Donegal Chief Executive Seamus Neely, exchanging gifts with Rick Sullivan, President of the Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh pictured with Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Hilary McClintock, the Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Cllr Terence Slowey, Joe McHugh, Deputy Minister for the Diaspora and Michael Heaney, Udaras na Gaeltachta.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh pictured with Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Hilary McClintock, the Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Cllr Terence Slowey, Joe McHugh, Deputy Minister for the Diaspora and Michael Heaney, Udaras na Gaeltachta.

One company who travelled with the delegation are Modern Democracy, a Derry-based digital technology provider that produces a unique digital democracy platform and consultancy packages to help electoral service professionals improve and transform service delivery. The company’s founder, Siobhan Donaghy, said the US trade visit offered the perfect platform for the company to meet with decision makers in electoral management in the US and to look at competitors operating there.

“It is our vision to become the leader in the digital transformation of democratic services nationally and internationally, and being part of this North West trade mission was a key opportunity for us to showcase our innovative solutions and share our expertise with the elections industry in the US,” she explains. “We are really excited about the opportunities which may arise from the trip and the chance to sell our products directly to state and city government election officials.”

Profiling the North West region as an investment location is an ongoing long-term process that the Council has signed up to. It’s a process that can only be delivered through collaborative working and through a persistent and consistent messaging that the North West is open and ready for business.

Chief Executive of Derry City and Strabane District Council, John Kelpie, stresses that the region offers a unique proposition for businesses seeking to relocate.

“We are confident in taking a lead role in promoting the North West as an investment location and place to start and grow your business,” he says. “We are extremely cost competitive, offering the lowest prime office rent spaces for as little as 12 dollars per sq.ft compared to 42 dollars in Dublin and 72 dollars in Boston. Our connectivity to international and regional airports, our financial support packages and ongoing aftercare support, make us a highly attractive and competitive location to do business.

“While our internationally renowned universities and institutions are key drivers to our technology and knowledge industries, most of all, it’s about our people and the quality of life we have on offer – our rich culture and heritage, breath-taking scenery and fantastic local environment and social offering, are truly unique and very special.”

The Council is hopeful that in addition to the positive work it is doing to grow the economy, potential investors will also recognise its attributes in terms of access to quality healthcare and top performing schools, and the fact that this former UK City of Culture is a vibrant culturally rich city region where the quality of life is superb.

As the final touches are being made to our Plan, Making it Happen, Derry City and Strabane District Council is already strong in delivering this pledge. It is firmly committed to and already engaged in the process of real change that will set it firmly on the path to stability and success. It is keen for everyone to be part of this unique journey and to play their part in Making it Happen in the North West.

Contact

www.derrystrabane.com


Derry and Strabane District Council


98 strand Road

Derry~Londonderry~Doire

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