CultureTech Fest cash flow ‘proved challenging’

Board member at the Chamber of Commerce Padraig Canavan.
Board member at the Chamber of Commerce Padraig Canavan.
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Management of funds for Derry’s CultureTech Festival had proved “extremely challenging” the local Chamber of Commerce has said after cancelling the event.

Chamber board member Padraig Canavan said the Chamber was “proud that its wholly owned subsidiary CultureTech has played an important role” over the last four years in promoting the digital economy in Derry.

“The festival has been an outstanding success,” he said last week.

But he added: “CultureTech has been expensive and has been subsidised by the Chamber of Commerce at a cost of about £25,000.

“This is despite the significant financial sponsorship of a range of public and private bodies, for which we are very appreciative.

“However, the nature of that financial sponsorship creates practical challenges, as money arrives in arrears whereas costs have to be met up front.

“Cash flow management of CultureTech has proven extremely challenging for the Chamber.”

Mr Canavan said it was important to stress that the CultureTech initiative is continuing.

He said: “CultureTech remains a brand of the Chamber and is an ongoing mechanism to build digital technology skills amongst school pupils and young adults.

“While there has been no CultureTech festival this year, no decision has yet been taken about whether the festival will take place in 2017 and subsequent years.

“For practical reasons it is unlikely that it can again take place on the scale achieved, despite the fact that each year’s festival has been a major success.”

Last year’s nine day festival attracted tens of thousands to events across the city, including thousands of local schoolchildren in science and technology initiatives.

Global figures from the virtual and technology sectors have also flocked to the city for the event since it was first staged in 2012.