Foster and McGuinness reveal US publisher to invest £6m and create 74 jobs in Belfast venture
The annual St Patrick's week trip to the US by the First and Deputy First Ministers ended yesterday in California with the announcement of a £6m investment, creating 74 jobs in Belfast.
HighWire Press Inc, a digital publishing company, is setting up a technical team in the city.
Well-known in the academic sector, HighWire is a spin-out from Stanford University and specialises in scientific and scholarly journals, books and reference works.
Almost £1m of public money is going towards the investment, including £739,220 from Invest NI towards job creation, and £222,000 from the Department of Employment and Learning, which is setting up pre-employment training academies to prepare staff for jobs at HighWire.
Employment Minister Stephen Farry flew out to meet the company at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, in January to discuss the support package for training initiatives.
Dan Filby, chief executive of HighWire, said: "We are very excited about Belfast.
"As well as providing us with a dedicated technology development centre, it will also provide us with a focal point on which to build our continued presence in Europe.
"An outstanding, abundant talent pool was our highest priority when evaluating expansion locations."
First Minister Arlene Foster said that the announcement was "a great boost to Belfast's reputation as number one in Europe for new software development projects".
And Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness added: "HighWire choosing to locate in the north of Ireland signals the potential of our existing and future IT professionals.
"The 74 new jobs created will contribute £3m in annual salaries to our local economy. With an average salary of £34,000, they will provide a wide range of opportunities for software developers, quality assurance, professional services and support engineers."
Mrs Foster and Mr McGuinness yesterday ended a four-day, coast-to-coast quest for investment, which started in New York on Monday at a breakfast with business leaders.
Their key message has centred on the planned cut in corporation tax to 12.5% in 2018, and there has been a particular focus on the financial and digital technology sectors.
They were at the centre of the multi-billion dollar US tech industry yesterday as guests of honour at the Irish Technology Leaders Group lunch in Silicon Valley.