Representatives from Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development visited the North West region this week to forge links with local companies ahead of a trade visit to the US, scheduled to take place in November.
Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Cllr Nicholas Crossan believes that this cross-border regional approach is reaping dividends for the North West City Region.
He said: “They were very keen to further explore the existing trade and export relationships that exist with companies from the North West region and Philadelphia, as well as the wider State of Pennsylvania. The visit was hugely important and very timely in that it came just weeks ahead of a planned delegation from Derry, Strabane and Donegal that is set to travel to Boston and Philadelphia in November with a number of businesses and partners.”
The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Cllr Michaela Boyle welcoming the delegation to the City North West region said she was delighted to host this high-level grouping and to be given an opportunity to showcase our city and region for investment and collaborative working on a range of sectors including business, tourism and education.
She said: “It was a real privilege to host the delegation and to hear from them directly about their interest in our city and district and the wider North West city region. They were very impressed with our offering and how well placed we are in terms of offering cost-competitive business opportunities in a cross border location along with high-level digital connectivity with a skilled talented workforce pool.
During the trip, the delegation attended a number of site visits and meetings across the North West region including a site visit to Ulster University, LYIT and CoLab looking at the opportunities for partnership and relationship development between the university and education and business centres in the US.
The delegation also travelled to Burt in Donegal to meet with businesses interested in opportunities in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia and international investors.
Seamus Neely, Donegal County Council Chief Executive, speaking in advance of the trade delegation travelling to the US in November said there would be a very strong emphasis on promoting the region’s strategic cross border location to the US market.
“We will be actively promoting the fact that Donegal and Derry/Strabane is in a very unique geographical location post-Brexit with a cross border gateway to both the UK and EU marketplace and working to build on the already positive engagement we have with Massachusetts. We will also be showcasing our talent, skills and entrepreneurship along with our strong ICT strengths, well-established ecosystem and quality of life.”
He also highlighted the importance of the collaborative approach to engaging with the US.
“By working together with our partners in the education and business sectors we are successfully making connections, developing relationships and building trust and making a real and positive impact in strengthening cross border networks.”
John Kelpie, Chief Executive with Derry City and Strabane District Council said the work being done collaboratively by Derry City and Strabane District Council and Donegal County Council and its partners to promote the City Region for investment was beginning to show real and positive signs.
He said: “We are really seeing the benefits of this joined up and positive approach to establish strong economic development links and initiatives between the US and the North West region. Our relationship is very strong and there is a real eagerness to develop our relationship further. This collaborative approach for the development of the region’s civic, business and educational prospects is really positive and gaining momentum. The visit by this delegation puts us in a really positive position ahead of our trade mission planned for November,” he added.
The North West City region trade delegation will visit the US from November visiting both Philadelphia and Boston. It will build on the work done over the past number of years to build strong political, economic and cultural links and to reach out to the diaspora. Key to the visit is the inclusion of the local companies to promote the region as an attractive investment proposition and to develop new market and network opportunities.
The trade mission will be led by the Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council and the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane and Donegal and include Council officials with businesses from both Council areas and organised in conjunction with and supported by the Executive Office and the Irish Government. The aim of the visit is to build on the strong political, economic and cultural linkages already established in both cities with the North West City region.
This visit is part of the ongoing positive work being done by the two Councils to establish strong economic development links and initiatives in the US. It will build on the work done over the last number of years in promoting the North West region as an attractive investment proposition and on developing new market and network opportunities for businesses from Donegal, Derry and Strabane areas.