Virtual Company will Deliver Real Benefits

A new initiative to provide people in the Omagh and Londonderry areas with training and work-based software development skills was launched this week by Professor Fabian Monds, chairman of Invest Northern Ireland.

The Virtual Software Company project will be based at the Omagh Enterprise Company and the North West Institute of Further & Higher Education and will provide state of the art ICT equipment and facilities.

Trainees using the Virtual Software Company will receive software skills training and work placement experience with a range of leading ICT companies, including Torc Interactive, Gable NI and Andronics.

Speaking at the launch Prof Monds said: “The cornerstones of economic success today are knowledge, skills, innovation and enterprise, all of which are embodied in this project. It provides not just training opportunities, but incubation facilities in which innovative and knowledge based new businesses can start up and grow.

“The Virtual Software Company will help to raise the profile of the western area as a software development region and will stimulate more new ICT businesses and inward investment opportunities. It will also help to promote the use of ICT and e-business amongst existing businesses.”

The Virtual Software Company is the latest in a number of private-public-academic partnerships supported by Invest Northern Ireland.

The project involves Omagh Enterprise Company, the North West Institute of Further & Higher Education and Omagh College, with the support of Invest NI via the Leapfrog initiative and the EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation.

Nicholas O Shiel, Chief Executive of Omagh Enterprise Company commented: "We’re delighted with the support provided by Invest NI, as it has enabled us to develop links with a number of ICT companies located outside the Omagh Area. As a result many people from the Omagh District have been able to develop their software skills and in some cases start new businesses.”

Gerry McGuckin, Deputy Director, NWIFHE said: ”The Virtual Software Company is a forward looking project that is giving the North West Institute of Further and Higher Education the opportunity to work with small businesses across the North West region and enhance their ICT capability.”