Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson addressing the Federation of Small Business conference in Derry on Friday praised the contribution of SME’s to the tremendous success of Derry’s City of Culture year and building a sound foundation for economic regeneration.
Martina Anderson said:
“Without doubt, there are massive opportunities for Derry and the North West that needs to be captured and taken forward and it is the Small to Medium Business (SME)people who are key to advancing them.
“Of course when going forward we should look back to learn from our past but not to live in it.
“Looking down the telescope of history we see that the decline of the traditional manufacturing industries in Derry, especially the shirt industry, coincided with the onset of the peace process twenty years ago.
“Whilst the retail, service and tourism industries have created welcome alternative employment opportunities for many, we have also witnessed the emergence of a new vibrant sector in the digital and creative industry. The digital industry incorporates everything from the manufacture of high end computer hardware – to the production of high quality film, television, sound and print media. Given the EU Digital Agenda, this is a sector where I will be able to provide assistance and information through my constituency office.
“The new NW Science Park to be developed at the Fort George site, which I was glad to have played a part in advancing as Junior Minister, will provide a platform not just for Research and Development but also for science companies to work in the same building as local digital entrepreneurs. They will have the advantage of the availability of the resilient broadband connection provided by Project Kelvin which links Derry right into the heart of Europe and North America.
“The digital revolution is having – and will continue to have – a dramatic impact on the economy. By 2020, it is estimated that 90% of jobs will need digital skills.
“Not only do we have companies using and developing digital solutions but the recent announcement that the Derry Children’s Media Company, ‘Dog Ears’ is to team up with Nickelodeon and be part of the team producing the animation series ‘Puffin Rock’ is an exciting development . Companies such as ‘Dog Ears’and SME’s in general is the key to sustainable regeneration of our local economy and I will help in whatever capacity I can to ensure the success and viability of local entrepreneurial endeavours.”