£5m needed to fund 100 new digi firms
LONDONDERRY’s Digital Champion Mark Nagurski reckons he needs to find £5m - probably from private sector investors - to create 100 new digital companies in the city by 2015.
There was a warm welcome for the announcement that Londonderry is to join forces with one of the leading digital industry organisations in the UK, TechCity, with the potential to attract up to 100 new companies to the city over the next few years.
Led by Digital Derry, the partnership group established to expand the city’s digital content sector, the announcement was made at Derry’s CultureTECH Festival, following the signing of a special Memorandum of Understanding with the East London investment organization.
The agreement was formally unveiled by the Prime Minister’s ambassador to Tech City and keynote speaker at the festival, Mr Ben Hammersley.
Chief Executive, Sharon O’Connor, said the move presented the city with an unlimited opportunity. “This agreement really is invaluable in terms of the potential for growth of the city’s digital sector, and we are thrilled at the announcement.
“TechCity have told us that on visiting Derry they were really quite astonished at the depth and breadth of the creativity here. And we now have the opportunity, with their support, to build on the networks and knowledge already in place, and gain new exposure in a global marketplace.”
Mark Nagurski, said the agreement heralded an exciting new era in local digital development.
“We have been working closely with both the Tech City Investment Organisation and the Economic Development team within the City of London Corporation towards a detailed programme of activities and engagements which we feel play to both our strengths,” he explained.
“With the support of both the Tech City Investment Organisation and the City of London Corporation we feel we can help establish 100 new digital companies in Derry-Londonderry over the coming few years.”
However, Digital Derry reckons it needs to find £5m in order to establish the companies.
Back in June Mr Nagurski told the Stormont Culture, Arts and Leisure Committee: “We have set out our stall to help create 100 new companies in Derry by 2015.
“It is a back-of-an-envelope calculation, but 100 companies with £50,000 of seed money each is £5 million. I guess that the public sector in Northern Ireland will not write us a cheque for £5 million, although I would appreciate it, in which case we need to figure out where that money will come from.
“The answer, for us, is probably the private sector. We need to find ways in which we can work with the private sector and encourage private investment at a very early stage.”
The Sentinel reported at the time how hopes that start-up Londonderry firms could compete in the 21st century digital economy were being crippled by chronic under-funding and a high failure rate.
Despite technological and other advances, the city’s young creative technology companies trying to get to a stage where they could make money and employ staff were virtually all facing funding issues which prevented them from bridging a “gaping chasm”, Mr Nagurski told the Committee.
Mr Nagurski said he had worked with up to 47 new digital companies in Londonderry since his appointment in 2010 but hoped to have created as many as 100 new firms by 2015.
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Friday 24 May 2013
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