Multinational IT services provider Version 1 is creating 180 new, high quality jobs in its Belfast office, Economy Minister Diane Dodds announced today.
Delivering IT consulting, solutions and managed services, Version 1 is investing more than £1million in its Belfast operations.
In addition, the Department for the Economy is funding a series of six Assured Skills Academies at Belfast Met, to the value of £821,000, with the aim of filling 120 of the jobs. The first Assured Skills Academy is open for applications now. Successful applicants will receive eight weeks of industry-relevant pre-employment training at Belfast Met.
Excellent News for The Local Economy
Speaking about the investment, the Minister said: “This announcement of 180 new jobs by Version 1 is excellent news for the local economy and a further endorsement of Northern Ireland as a rising global player in the digital industries and an attractive location for inward investors.
“Version 1 provides IT services for a wide range of global brands, and to do so the company needs people with specialist skills. My Department’s Assured Skills Academies have a track record of equipping participants with the skills employers need in order to flourish and grow, and this has been particularly true in the digital and tech fields.
“Furthermore, participants on these Assured Skills Academies who complete the training are guaranteed an interview for a role with Version 1 and will be strongly positioned for success. The jobs on offer are high quality, well paid roles and I urge anyone who is interested and eligible to apply for these Assured Skills Academies at Belfast Met.”
The Minister added: “In Northern Ireland’s centenary year, as we look ahead to our future economic and skills landscape, this investment by Version 1 typifies the innovation and growth in emerging industry sectors that is a cornerstone of my 10X Economic Vision. I wish the company every success as it consolidates its presence in Northern Ireland and contributes to our future prosperity.”
Kevin Holland, CEO Invest NI, said: “We’ve supported Version 1 since it established its Northern Ireland presence in 2012, and we’re pleased to have now worked with the Department to secure funding for these six Assured Skills academies.
“The importance of skills as a catalyst for growth is crucial to re-balancing the local economy. Today’s announcement contributes towards our economic recovery plans and wider ambition to create longer term economic prosperity with a highly skilled, agile workforce. The Assured Skills programme gives companies the confidence that the skills they need to be successful are available in Northern Ireland.”
Lorna McAdoo, Director of Operations Version 1 NI, said: “This is an exciting time for Version 1 in Northern Ireland as we continue to invest in local tech and IT talent who can help our customers accelerate their digital transformation. The Assured Skills Academies, which will run over the next three years, represent our ongoing commitment to Northern Ireland and our ambition to be one of the most successful IT companies here.”
Participants in the Version 1 Assured Skills Academies will study areas including Microsoft Azure Fundamentals, MTA Software Development Fundamentals in C# and .Net, Cyber Security, Software Testing and Design Thinking with Belfast Met.
Experience is not required but applicants must hold at least a 2:2 degree in any discipline, or a level 5 qualification in an ICT or STEM Subject.
Louise Warde Hunter, Principal and Chief Executive of Belfast Met, said: “Belfast Met is delighted to be delivering training for this new series of Assured Skills Academies in partnership with DfE and Version 1. Our learners receive the most up-to-date, industry-relevant training in this growing sector that provides participants with vital opportunities to gain employment after completing the course.
“This is a significant investment in future skills that will enable Academy graduates to gain high quality, well paid jobs, and we look forward to welcoming our first cohort of learners.”
Applications for the first Version 1 Assured Skills Academy are open now and close at noon on 30 June. Training for successful applicants will run from 9 August until 1 October.
Northern Ireland Construction Company Named Winner of Prestigious Responsible Business Award
Henry Brothers Ltd has been named NI Responsible Company of the Year at Business in the Community’s 2021 Responsible Business Awards.
A panel of independent judges awarded Henry Brothers with this prestigious top award for demonstrating the implementation of a wide range of successful corporate responsibility initiatives that strategically address key issues and challenges in a way that creates value for both society and the business.
Winners in all eleven responsible business categories were announced at a hybrid Awards event, hosted in-studio by TV and weather presenter and journalist Barra Best and broadcast live across Business in the Community’s digital platforms.
Northern Ireland’s leading responsible companies were recognised for outstanding contributions to their people, the planet and the places where they operate, with categories that cover all themes in responsible business, including wellbeing, diversity and inclusion, environment, community, digital innovation, and more.
The Awards, organised by responsible business network Business in the Community, take place annually and in 2021 the event was run in partnership with JP Corry, SPAR and Department for Communities, and in association with Ulster Business and U105.
The eleven 2021 winners were:
- Age-Friendly Business Award, sponsored by Age-Friendly Network – Bank of Ireland
- Diversity and Inclusion Award, sponsored by Belfast Harbour – AMS
- Education Partnership Award, sponsored by Allen & Overy – Heron Bros. Ltd
- Environmental Leadership Award, sponsored by Heron Bros – Danske Bank
- Innovation in Employability Award, sponsored by George Best Belfast City Airport – Translink
- Investing in Your Community Award, sponsored by Arthur Cox – PwC
- Responsible Digital Innovation Award, sponsored by Allstate NI – Sentireal Ltd
- One-to-Watch Award, sponsored by Ciena – Dowds Group
- Responsible Product / Service Award, sponsored by Translink – Huhtamaki
- Wellbeing at Work Award, sponsored by Larne Port – Northern Ireland Water
Kieran Harding, Managing Director, Business in the Community says: “Congratulations to each of the winning organisations for leading the way in responsible business. This year has been really challenging for a lot of businesses and people in Northern Ireland, so I want to thank our winning, highly commended, and shortlisted organisations for continuing to make responsible business action a priority.
“The judging process of the Awards is robust, and the standard of entries was phenomenally high this year. All winners demonstrated true leadership in the area of responsible business and their entries are sure to inspire others in their own responsible business journey.”
Online attendees of the event enjoyed a community digital showcase highlighting positive stories of business action for the benefit of communities during the past year. Entertainment pieces included a performance of uplifting original song ‘Calendar’ by Northern Ireland singer Daisie Conway, and a specially commissioned poem ‘Defining Hope’ screened at the event was written and performed by Belfast-based poet Niamh McNally.
Par Equity Seeks to Double Northern Ireland Funding to £20m
Edinburgh-based venture capital firm has already invested £10m in the region
Par Equity, an Edinburgh-based specialist in high-growth early-stage tech businesses, is increasing its support for cutting-edge companies in Northern Ireland to £20 million after a string of successful transactions.
Established in 2008, Par Equity has built a strong reputation for backing young, innovative companies in Northern Ireland, Scotland and England’s northeast and supporting them with its growing team of expert advisors.
The company, which has already invested £10 million in a range of successful early-stage companies including Datactics, Cumulus, Plotbox and TriVirum, said the additional funds would help ambitious local firms to develop new technologies and expand into new markets, unlock other forms of funding along the way.
Andrew Noble, partner at Par Equity, said:
“We’re hands-on investors at Par Equity and, together with our network of industry experts, we’re providing that much-needed business advice as well as the financial support. We’ve identified, and heavily backed, some excellent companies in Northern Ireland and we’re excited about unearthing new opportunities in the region over the next two or three years.”
Par Equity’s first major funding success in Northern Ireland was Belfast-based digital imaging analysis and software company PathXL in 2012. Since then, it has provided essential finance, direct support and management advice to some of the region’s most successful new companies.
In April 2021, Par Equity invested further in Trivirum, Plotbox and Datactics, leading investments rounds of up to £3.5 million. This included a £2 million investment round into data management specialist Datactics following on from its initial investment into the company in 2019. The Datactics investment round, which was supported by other existing investors, Kernel Capital and Clarendon, will see the company grow to beyond 50 employees and into profitability.
In addition to these three investments, Par Equity also provided a £1.1m bridging round in Belfast start-up Cumulus Neuroscience last year, leveraging a further £6 million of investment from the UK’s Dementia Discovery Fund.
The funds are being used to help Cumulus develop a new, industry-leading integrated physiological and biomarker platform that provides clinical trial data and AI-powered insights to accelerate the development of therapies for Alzheimer’s and other brain disorders.
Cumulus Neuroscience’s CEO, Ronan Cunningham, said:
“Great ideas can be the foundation of a great business, but without the necessary funding, the potential for growth will always be capped. We’re delighted that after just a few short years, we’ve secured the finance we need to accelerate our technology to market and address exciting new growth opportunities on the global stage.
Funding through Par Equity, the Dementia Discovery Fund, and other partners are helping us to scale-up quickly and establish ourselves as a market leader in our space.”
As one of the larger investors in Northern Ireland, Par Equity believes it can help fill a gap in the market and provide the scale of funding fast growth companies need to get to the next level, but which is not currently available through local financing options. In 2020, Par Equity appointed Ronnie Geddis as the chair of its investor network in Northern Ireland deepening its activity in the region.
“Like Scotland, we know that Northern Ireland businesses don’t always get their fair share of venture capital funding in the UK and that business often struggle to get that next level of funding they need to really scale up their operations,” said Ronnie Geddis.
As someone who has invested and been in receipt of investment in Northern Ireland, there is a clear role for Par Equity to bring its scale and expertise to Northern Ireland to help some of our most exciting businesses achieve the global success they deserve,” added Ronnie.
Par Equity has invested in more than 60 companies since it launched in 2008. Collectively, those companies have raised £266 million from investors.
Earlier this year, it secured three major awards at the UK Business Angel Investment Awards 2021, including Angel Group of the Year, Scale-up Team of the Year and Exit of the Year.
A panel of 37 judges reviewed the hundreds of nominations received across the 12 categories to select the leaders and trail blazers from the UK’s investment ecosystem.