Stream's Growth Praised by Invest NI Chief Executive

Londonderry-based Stream, the US-owned technical support centre, is growing strongly in an intensely competitive global market by adding value to its expert services and a continuous investment in the skills of its people, Leslie Morrison, Invest Northern Ireland chief executive, said today.

Mr Morrison was speaking during a visit to the company at the Ulster Science & Technology Park, Springtown. He was briefed by Sean Canning, Stream’s managing director, about the company’s growth. Stream is a contact centre providing technical support to major international corporations such US industry leaders Hewlett Packard and Dell Computer.  

The Invest NI chief executive visited Stream as part of a series of engagements in the North West that also included a presentation to senior representatives from councils in the area on the impact on the region of the organisation’s North West Action Plan, which has already generated total investments over £130 million in the past year.

Stream, acquired last year by ECE Holdings Inc, a Dallas-based provider of outsourced technical support and customer services, expanded its business last year and almost doubled its workforce from 380 to 600.  The Derry operation is now an integral part of a global business  trading under the Stream identity.

Derry has also been designated by the US company as its primary contact centre on the island of Ireland for callers using the Internet through the fast growing Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) technology.  It is handling VOIP calls from Europe and routing these when necessary to the company’s contact centre in Dublin.

Said Mr Morrison: “Stream is competing successfully in the global marketplace through a business strategy based on continuous investment that ensures customers everywhere experience excellent technical support from highly qualified staff using state-of-the-art technology.

“Since its establishment in 1995, the company has benefited from the availability of quality people in the North West and has enabled many to develop their skills and gain recognised qualifications through innovative initiatives such as the unique Stream University,” he added.

Mr Canning said: “The recent acquisition by ECE positions us within a company strongly focused on technical support and for continued growth through the further development of our dedication to exceptional customer service. Our reputation and achievements have already been recognised by ECE’s decision to enhance our role within the new organisation.”

At the meeting with North West council representatives at Limavady on the North West Action Plan, Mr Morrison said Invest NI had already committed £32 million of the planned £60 million earmarked for the region by 2006. This had levered total investment of more than £130 million by companies including Stream, DuPont, Northbrook Technology, Seagate Technology and Huco Lightronic.

“Solid progress has been made towards our goal of transforming the North West into a vibrant economy driven by higher levels of innovation and entrepreneurship in the 12 months since the launch of the plan that was developed in consultation with stakeholders throughout the region.

“Over 2,000 people are now engaged in business activity. Included in this are 28 new start-up companies with export potential and 1,066 participants successfully completing our ‘Start and Business Programme’ HML, a new inward investor last year, is already employing over 200 people in Derry.

“In addition, 660 investment projects have been negotiated with existing companies aiming to increase capability in key areas such as R&D, business improvement, e-commerce and trade,” he added.

A comprehensive programme of regional initiatives that ranged from business and enterprise weeks to best practice clubs and clinics to promote innovation had also been launched.