Belfast Telegraph

Recognition for top tech firms

Northern Ireland's fast-growers can compete with best on the island

By David Elliot

Northern Ireland's technology sector proved it can compete with the best on the island last week with 14 local companies claiming a place in the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 awards.

The list, which ranks the fastest growing technology companies in Northern Ireland and the Republic, saw Londonderry-based Learning Pool take sixth place and become the highest ranking company north of the border.

It provides e-learning solutions for the public sector and has seen turnover grow by 1,100% over the last year, having scooped the Rising Star award at last year's Fast 50 which recognises younger companies with high turnover growth.

"We have spent a lot of time in the last five years recruiting and building our team of high performing people," Learning Pool's founder Paul McElvaney said. "They are the engine behind Learning Pool and the key reason for our continued growth and success now and into the future."

Novosco, Andor Technology plc and Texthelp Systems Ltd once again achieved a ranking this year and are the only three companies to have featured in the ranking since the beginning of the programme.

Taking this year's Rising Star award for Northern Ireland was Sixteen South, which develops, creates and produces children's television here.

The overall winner was Dublin-based Populis, one of Europe's fastest growing digital media companies and European leader in content demand. The company, which was established in 2004 as GoAdv and rebranded as Populis in October 2010, achieved an aggregate growth rate of 7,982% over the last five years to claim the top spot.

"In spite of the ongoing, challenging financial market conditions, the 2011 Deloitte Fast 50 proves that local technology companies are continuing to show impressive growth," Glenn Roberts, senior partner with Deloitte Belfast said.

Seven counties across Ireland are represented on this year's listing. Dublin leads the pack with 27 companies, followed by Antrim with 12 companies. There are four companies from Limerick on the list, three from Cork and two from Kerry. Down and Londonderry each have one company listed.