Posted on Thursday 20 October 2011 by Ulster Business

Plans unveiled for 100 new digital companies

Digital Derry has announced a range of initiatives designed to help create 100 new digital companies in the North West by 2015.

The measures include a privately funded incubation project and a major international festival, and follow hot on the heels of the recent announcement that the city has seen over twenty new digital businesses established in the last 12 months.

Digital Champion for the region Mark Nagurski said: “We’ve spent much of the last year at Digital Derry trying to create a buzz about the sector and encourage new startups. We’ve had some real successes but are keenly aware that we need to set our sites even higher. The projects we’ve unveiled today are exactly the kind of high impact programmes that can help us hit our target of 100 new digital businesses by 2015.”

Derry’s Digital Ambassador and Director of Online Operations for Facebook EMEA, Colm Long beleives the announcements will help make Derry a focal point for digital business.

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

President of the Londonderry Chamber, Padraig Canavan, also welcomed the announcements. He added: “It is particularly good news that we have addressed support mechanisms designed specifically for early stage startup businesses as well as a major new ‘accelerator’ programme which will invest over £100,000 of private funds into seven high-potential companies”. Digital Derry also released details of a key “digital cultural festival” which will take place in both 2012 and 2013 as part of the City of Culture programme, with the aim of raising the city’s profile as a digital hub.

Pointing to a new entrepreneurship module announced by the University of Ulster this week, Nagurski said that collaborations with other organisations were “absolutely key”. The new module, developed in conjunction with Digital Derry, will see students within two creative industries courses received full course credits for starting their own businesses, and is thought to be the first creative industries programme of its kind in Europe.

Details of the announcements are being made public on the Digital Derry website at www.digitalderry.org

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