Video: Directors of Derry’s SME export success stories hail investment that’s yielding 100 jobs

The directors of two local companies making products in Derry and exporting them to markets from the United States to Mongolia have hailed the InvestNI team at Timber Quay after Economy Minister Simon Hamilton today announced a £5.6million investment that will yield 100 new jobs in the North West.

Ten businesses, two of which are new investors, are beneficiaries of the support, which has been provided by the local InvestNI team at Timber Quay.

Mechanical Installations and Maintenance, Meritcom, Precision Group, Retail Systems Technology Limited, Junk Kouture, Click Energy, Gradon Architecture and FAST Technologies have each been working on growth projects.

Two British-based software businesses, Launch Pad and Peoplesafe, are also establishing offices in the city and plan to create a total of 16 new jobs over the next 12 months.

Liam Nelis, Director of Gradon Architecture in Artillery Street, which is creating 12 new jobs as part of a £371,500 investment to accelerate growth, said Invest NI offered £31,350 towards its market development and recruitment activities. Two positions are already in place.

Mr Nelis said: “InvestNI’s support has been fundamental in us recruiting new local, young architects in the Derry area. We’ve recruited two to date but the business model and the support from InvestNI will allow us in future to bring in more young people.

“We’ve got a budget for up to six people, which Invest NI is supporting us with and as well as that they’ve also supported us with the branding and the website and all these bits and pieces so, yeah, they’ve been extremely supportive.

“It’s not just the multinationals and the big foreign investors that are coming in. There are investment opportunities coming in for local businesses like ourselves. We are less than two years old. We’ve benefited from this, which has helped us greatly.

“We’re exporting all over the world now, we’re working in Mongolia, we’re working in London, we’re working in the south of Ireland, we’ve a client who has suggested to us that there is available work in the Middle East.

“So, for us, the help here has been absolutely brilliant.

“Beyond that the help we’ll be getting in the future will be tantamount to us becoming a stronger and bigger brand here in Northern Ireland.”

FAST Technologies in Skeoge will be creating 17 jobs as part of a new £1.1m investment. InvestNI is supporting this to the tune of £97,000.

Director, Conleth Doherty, said: “We’re a solutions focused engineering company. We currently employ 30 people with a full range of engineering skills, electrical, mechanical design engineers, automation engineers, data collection engineers and software developers.

“It’s a £1.1m investment in combination with FAST Technologies and InvestNI’s portion, which will account for £97,000.

“So it’s very welcome and it enables us to grow those skills in those jobs that I’ve mentioned earlier.”

InvestNI’s North West manager Des Gartland said today’s announcement was all about local companies making and doing things here and selling them overseas.

“Today is very much a focus on our local businesses who have started up in the city and are now growing their business outside of Northern Ireland, multisectoral across the board, and it really is to highlight how important the SME sector is, not only to the Strabane and Derry council area but also to the Northern Ireland economy in general.

“So today is really highlighting with the Minister here the importance of those companies both in terms of jobs and also bringing wealth into the area by bringing new sales in from outside of Northern Ireland.

“Exporting isn’t all about big companies. There are small companies. There are companies here today that employ less than ten people.

“There are people here today who employ between 30 and 50 people. Right across the board they have a product or a service where they can compete competitively outside of Northern Ireland.

“With our support and help they’ve been able to do that faster and hopefully we can continue to grow them and they will become larger companies in the medium to long term. that’s the key objective.”