An IT firm which set up shop in Northern Ireland earlier this year has spoken of big plans for expansion in Belfast.
In May, Version 1 announced that it was to create 26 highly-paid, specialist jobs at an Oracle Competency Centre in the city, which will assist major clients in the pharmaceutical, government and utilities sectors.
The firm, which was founded just 15 years ago and employs 300 staff in Dublin headquarters and has another office in Cork, has already taken on its first 12 workers and is in the process of recruiting 14 more.
Version 1 and Microsoft recently helped the Assembly become the first UK government to transfer some of its data to the ‘Cloud’ computing system and the firm said it is growing aggressively — with several large Belfast-led contracts expected to be announced before the end of the year.
The company’s revenues increased by 40% in 2011 to €24.5m (£20m) and forecasted growth in 2012 stands at 25%.
Carmel Owens, Northern Ireland business director of Version 1, said that she expects staff levels in Northern Ireland to grow accordingly.
“We do have big plans for such a relatively young company,” she said.
“Basing ourselves in Northern Ireland means we have a foothold in the UK, while not being too far from Dublin, and we do plan to acquire in London in the medium to long term.
“We are already looking at expansion opportunities and we have already proven that we can compete with our biggest competition, huge firms like IBM and HP, and win, thanks to the quality of our people and the quality of our processes.”
Invest Northern Ireland offered £359,000 of support, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund to the company.
Ms Owens said: “The financial support from Invest NI was very helpful and welcome but was not the sole reason why we decided to open an office in Belfast.
“It has allowed some people with backgrounds in management and manufacturing to retrain, upskill and bring their other skills to the IT sector.
“We are seeing a mix of Northern Ireland based graduates, people applying from overseas and people from Northern Ireland who have been forced to go abroad for work, are tired with the commute and want to come back home and get more sustainable, stable employment.”