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Business Grants Help Ebrington Businesses Look to Brighter Future

The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Graham Warke pictured on Wednesday morning at Ebrington Square viewing work completed on business premises as part of the Covid Recovery and Revitalisation Scheme. Five businesses in Ebrington received a £25,000 total grant as part of a collaborative group. Included from left are Louise Breslin, DCSDC, Carrie McCafferty Enterprise NW, Brian Williamson, Department for Communities, Jodie McCauley, Executive Office, Garry Harkin, Urban 3D, Julie Stewart, Atelier Hair, Marie McClean, The Stables Inn and James Huey, Walled City Brewery. Photo Credit: Jim McCafferty Photography

Five Ebrington businesses have been able to make the next step in the Covid-19 recovery process after receiving a combined £25,000 in grants.

The Stables Inn, Walled City Brewery, Enterprise North West, Urban 3D and Atelier, who are all based within the Ebrington site, applied as a collaborative group for the grant as part of Derry City & Strabane District Council’s Covid Recovery and Revitalisation Scheme which is funded by the Department for Communities, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Af​fairs and the Department for Infrastructure.

Through the grant, the Stables Inn installed a supplementary toilet area to provide the best possible hygiene conditions for helping reduce the potential spread of Covid-19, and the Walled City Brewery purchased a set of two commercial branded parasols for the outside front of their building, allowing them to maintain 70%+ of their normal clientele and provide shelter from the elements during inclement weather.

Enterprise North West used their grant to purchase two pods which allow clients and companies more flexibility, and for workers to exit their office and work independently in another area of the building with social distancing implemented.

Urban 3D installed an exterior paved meeting area for safe and Covid compliant open-air meetings and a lunch area for office staff, while Atelier installed a similar patio area and outdoor furniture for staff and customers to relax.

Minister for Communities, Deirdre Hargey said, “As businesses begin to open up again, I am delighted that the funding provided through my Department has been able to make a significant contribution to meeting the challenges we face.  As can be seen by the collaboration between local and central government and local businesses, we are all working together to improve the lives of our communities.”

In a joint statement from the five businesses involved, Stephen Doherty (The Stables Inn), James Huey (Walled City Brewery), Carrie McCafferty (Enterprise North West), Paul Doherty (Urban 3D), and Ronan Stewart (Atelier) said that the grant has gone a long way in promoting Covid-19 safety within their respective businesses, and in bringing the public back to Ebrington.

“This has been a challenging year across all sectors and navigating the recovery journey and the next steps has been something each of us have had to plan for.

“Receiving such substantial financial support took a lot of weight off our shoulders in terms of that process, and greatly assisted in speeding things up when making our respective businesses safer and more welcoming for both customers and staff through the installation of toilets, pods, and outdoor furniture and facilities.”

Jodie McAuley, The Executive Office’s Co-ordinator for the Collaborative Project, said,

“As a collaborative group we feel this assistance will go a long way in increasing footfall on Ebrington.  Our aim with the grant has been to instil confidence and give reassurance to customers and visitors to the site that all necessary measures have been put in place to comply with Covid-19 regulations and that it will be a welcoming space.

“We’d like to thank the Department for Communities, Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs and Department for Infrastructure for this funding supplied through the Covid-19 Recovery Revitalisation Programme, and our thanks to Derry City and Strabane District Council for assisting us in using this funding practically and efficiently.”

Kevin O’Connor, Council’s Head of Business, said: “It’s fantastic to see this grant being put to use by the collaborative businesses within Ebrington, which is a key site in the economic development of the city.

“As with so many businesses across our Council area, these five businesses have faced significant revenue losses and have had to furlough staff which, naturally, is not an easy thing for any business to do.

“They’ve all also incurred additional expenses, like many other businesses, in terms of Covid-19 safety measures such as signage, personal protective equipment and additional cleansing.

The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Graham Warke pictured on Wednesday morning at Ebrington Square using one of the new pods for business use in Enterprise NW with Carrie McCafferty, supplied using a grant from the Covid Recovery and Revitalisation Scheme.

Mr O’Connor added: “Hospitality businesses like the Walled City Brewery and The Stables Inn are key to the growth of the Ebrington site and this funding has allowed both to offer a Covid-19 safe outdoor area which meets all customer needs.  

“Enterprise North West’s business model is based on clients being able to use their office space, so this grant funding has allowed them to provide extra assurances to those clients and in turn to steadily increase revenues.

“Atelier and Urban 3D have both faced the extremely difficult task of opening their new Ebrington premises during the pandemic. That has presented understandable challenges for both, but with this business grant they can now take another positive step forward. “As a Council we are very pleased to work with all of the businesses in encouraging and supporting their recovery.”


Northern Ireland Construction Company Named Winner of Prestigious Responsible Business Award

Kieran Harding, Managing Director, Business in the Community NI, Ian Henry, Director, Henry Brothers Ltd and Jennifer Cruickshank, HR Manager, Henry Brothers Ltd)

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.

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Par Equity Seeks to Double Northern Ireland Funding to £20m

Pictured (l-r) are Andrew Noble, partner at Par Equity and Ronnie Geddis, Par Equity’s regional chairman for Northern Ireland.

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.

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