Digital Derry projects aim to create 100 new tech start-ups

21 Oct 2011

(Left to right) Colm Long, director of Online Operations, Facebook EMEA; Pr Deirdre Heenan, provost of Magee Campus University of Ulster; Mark Nagurski, digital champion for Derry; and Mayor Alderman Maurice Devenney

Digital Derry has announced a number of initiatives which aim to help create 100 new tech companies in the northwest of Ireland by 2015.

The projects announced include a privately-funded business accelerator to launch in 2012 and two competitions for new digital projects and start-ups with funds totalling to stg£40,000.

The organisation proposes a creative industries hub for Derry and a major digital cultural festival for 2012 and 2013 as part of the UK City of Culture programme.

The initiative also announced a pilot university module – Innovation and Creative Enterprise – developed with the University of Ulster to let students earn course credits for the launch of a business.

The projects were announced at a showcase event in Derry.

“I’ve been excited to be part of the Digital Derry project for over a year now and what we’ve announced today are exactly the kind of projects that can help put Derry on the map as a key digital hub and encourage the breadth of new businesses the city needs,” said Colm Long, Derry’s digital ambassador and director of Online Operations for Facebook EMEA.

“Even in conversations with colleagues in Dublin there’s a real interest in what’s going on in the city,” he said.

Derry city recently became the first in the UK and Ireland to upgrade all of its street cabinets with fibre broadband, giving 39,000 consumers and business access to high-speed broadband.

Digital Derry is being delivered by the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, which is overseen by a steering committee made up of private, public, support and academic section representatives. It’s funded by ILEX and Derry City Council, and is partially funded by the European Regional Development Fund under the Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland.