A judging panel of industry professionals and investors will decide which local start-up businesses will receive up to £2,000 in cash prizes when the LEVELUp Start-up Pitch Competition takes place later this month.
LEVELUP, delivered by Startacus, takes place during Derry and Strabane Enterprise Week and will examine the changes that businesses can make and the opportunities that exist to thrive in our new economy – whether as individuals, organisations or regions.
It will be held virtually on Wednesday 21st and Thursday April 22nd and will feature a series of inspirational sessions on six core themes: Smart Cities, Places and Rural Innovation, Retail and High Street, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Health and Wellness, Social Change and Diversity and Inclusion.
The LEVELUP pitch competition, which is co-sponsored by RealTime Recruitment will see up to 14 NI start-ups pitching online to the panel for their share of the cash prizes.
The Judging Panel
The judging panel includes Dave Graham – technologist at Dell Technologies and PhD Candidate at UCD’s SMARTLab, Naomi Timperley – Co Founder of Tech North Advocates and experienced growth and innovation consultant and Dr Colin Keogh an award-winning Engineer, leader in the Irish start-up space and an active technology consultant and developer.
Also on the panel are Beth Glenfield – Product Manager at Puppetize, Director for Women Who Code and scout for Ada Ventures, Audrey Osborne – Investor at Techstart Ventures LLP and former founding member of an Angel and VC backed NI start-up and Nico Albanese – Senior Associate at Ascension Ventures and organiser of the Debut Sessions virtual pitch initiative.
LEVELUP will also feature an early-evening Speed Networking event on April 21st. The virtual event, taking place on Zoom, is being powered by NetMinds, and will provide opportunities for attendees to engage, build valuable connections, inspire others and be inspired.
It will follow a similar format to the recent speed networking event which Startacus had facilitated for female founders as part of International Women’s Day. Further details and opportunities to book tickets for the speed networking event will be announced shortly.
In addition to Derry City and Strabane District Council as strategic partners, LEVELUP organisers and facilitators Startacus are delighted to announce that the Council will be joined as major sponsors of the event by North West Regional College and Ulster University.
In addition, Allstate NI, ESRI Ireland, RAISE Ventures and RealTime Recruitment will be sponsoring individual sessions over the course of the 2-day event.
Enterprise Week 2021 will be held from Monday April 19th to Friday April 23rd and will offer expert support in building business resilience and how to tailor operations and services to meet the unprecedented challenges that the expected reopening of full trading will bring.
Among the highlights in the five day programme are three Full Circle hosted workshops on Business Resilience, Social Media and Online Advertising.
You can register for all the events here, where the full programme is also available.
Free tickets are now available to be booked for individual sessions or for all.
Mayor Pleased to see Public Shopping Local on Visits to Businesses
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Brian Tierney, visited some local businesses across the district this week to speak with business owners and staff about moving forward from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mayor Tierney said he was happy to speak directly with the businesses in Strabane and Castlederg about the challenges they have faced and the pathway moving forward, as well as hearing about the stringent measures in place to prioritise customer confidence and safety.
“I was glad to meet with some of the local businesses across our district this week and hear more about the positive steps forward now that many of those businesses have reopened or are preparing for a scheduled reopening in the coming weeks.
“It was fantastic to see lots of people supporting those businesses while I was out and about and to see that all of the businesses have measures in place – such as social distancing, hand sanitizer, and limiting customer numbers at any given time – to instil confidence in all members of the public that they can support local and be assured that everything is in place to protect both themselves and staff,” said Mayor Tierney.
Business Revitalisation and Recovery
“I can fully appreciate how much of a challenge the past year has been for our businesses across a wide range of sectors, and I look forward to the weeks ahead when we hope to see more of those sectors reopening and returning to a more normal operation of business.
“Once again I would just like to encourage everyone to support local across the district as much as you can.”
Local businesses who have been negatively affected by COVID-19 are being invited to take part in Derry City and Strabane District Council’s recovery campaign which will focus on promoting the shop local message and supporting local businesses within the district.
Businesses who have faced challenges over the past year as a result of the pandemic can make contact via Council’s shop local website to express an interest in becoming part of the campaign by 14th May 2021.
The campaign is being organised by Derry City and Strabane District Council with funding through the Department of Communities’ Business Revitalisation and Recovery Programme.
Mural to Mark Farren Unveiled at Brandywell
Derry City and Strabane District Council have unveiled a mural to former Derry City player Mark Farren at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium.
The mural, which was painted by local company Peaball Creatives, was unveiled to Mark’s parents Michael and Kathleen, and his aunt Brigid. Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Cllr Brian Tierney was in attendance, alongside Derry City FC Chairman Philip O’Doherty and Manager Ruaidhrí Higgins.
The mural has been placed on the tunnel of the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium in the stand which has also been named after Mark, who played for Derry City from 2003 to 2012 and made 209 appearances for the Candystripes.
A Positive Legacy
Mark tragically passed away in 2016 aged 33 after a brave battle with cancer, and Mayor Brian Tierney said Council were happy to pay tribute to someone who had such a positive legacy in the city.
“I am truly honoured both as Mayor of this city and district and as a lifelong Derry City fan to attend the official unveiling of the mural of Mark which now forms part of the Mark Farren Stand.
“We know that Mark’s story and his legacy will be spoken about for many years to come, and we hope that this mural will be a fitting tribute to the role that he played in the football history of Derry and celebrate the joy that he gave to so many football fans here in the city.
“Mark’s family continue to be in the thoughts and prayers of us all.”
Philip O’Doherty, Derry City FC Chairman, added: “Mark will always be a huge part of the history of Derry City Football Club, and we are happy to join Council in celebrating his life.
“Mark was more than just a player here. He has left a real legacy at the club and it is fitting that his image will greet the players every time they take the field.
“We are delighted that Council have also kept Mark’s memory alive both with the stand named after him, and this fantastic mural.”