Belfast Telegraph

Digital Summit: Size and location no barrier to global success for Northern Ireland firms

By Clare Weir

WHILE Northern Ireland is fast becoming recognised as a software development hub with homegrown firms like First Derivatives and foreign investors including Citi and Allstate, big opportunities in gaming and mobile applications were also in evidence at yesterday's Digital Summit.

Scottish developer Chris van der Kuyl, chairman of 4J, which created the record breaking game Minecraft for the XBox 360, jetted in to the summit from Hong Kong.

"Size and location is no barrier to huge global success. There are only psychological barriers," he said.

"You might not be in Silicon Valley, but being in Edinburgh or Belfast cannot hold you back. There is a lot of talent out there.

"People talk about access to finance and funding, but in reality there are a lot of funders out there and a lot of people willing to support a marketable opportunity.

"There has actually never been a better time to be in these sorts of technologies."

One of the speakers at the event was Aaron Gibson (20), founder of Yumpod, who has created a health-based online platform.

The Newry native is poised to launch his first game, You Vs The World, to schools and homes.

"The support for a young person like me making his way in the sector has been phenomenal. It would be great if there was less beauracracy in some government departments – I've found dealing with authorities in the UK and the USA a lot easier. This sector is great for people with a good idea and a marketing plan," he said.

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