FIRST Minister Arlene Foster and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness have announced a £6 million investment by Stanford University spin-out HighWire Press Inc. creating 74 new jobs in Northern Ireland.
HighWire Press is the leading digital publishing platform, disseminating more than 3,000 journals, books and reference works. It uses cutting-edge technologies like Angular, Hadoop, Drupal, Cassandra and AWS and the Belfast centre will house a dedicated technical team trained to specialise in these latest technologies.
Ministers met with Dan Filby, HighWire’s Chief Executive Officer in San Francisco as part of an investment programme to both the East and West coasts of the United States of America.
Speaking at the announcement First Minister, Arlene Foster said: “I welcome the £6million HighWire investment creating 74 new jobs.
“It was a great pleasure to meet with Dan Filby and some of his team to announce this new investment by Silicon Valley based HighWire.
“The total investment as a result of this project, supported by Invest Northern Ireland, equates to nearly £6million and is a great boost to Belfast’s reputation as number one in Europe for new software development projects.”
The deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness said: “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 £3 million 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.
“This will offer staff the opportunity for training, including a 90 day programme covering everything from company culture to specific technical and systems training.”
The company plans to create the new jobs in Belfast by 2019.
Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry said: “The Assured Skills support from my Department will contribute to this substantial new investment in Northern Ireland by HighWire.
“I met with HighWire at Stanford University in Palo Alto in January, and I am encouraged that the high quality skills and talent available in Northern Ireland is attracting innovative and rapidly expanding companies, such as HighWire.
“A highly skilled labour force is essential to support business growth and expansion, and the funding will ensure that HighWire has the support necessary for training initiatives to develop the skills required for these new roles.”
Invest Northern Ireland has offered the company £739,220 of support towards job creation and implementation of a skills growth post-employment training program. DEL has contributed £222,000 under the Assured Skills Programme for pre-employment training academies.
DETI Minister Jonathan Bell added: “The decision by HighWire to select Belfast as their international location is a vote of confidence for both the city and Northern Ireland.
“Over 100 global technology leaders have already established business operations in Northern Ireland and we are fast growing a reputation as the ideal location to develop products and be based.
“Companies are attracted by the strong technology focus of our universities, leading-edge R&D, availability of talented graduates and a competitive cost base.”
Dan Filby, CEO of HighWire said: “We are very excited about our investment in 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 potential expansion locations. We are looking for talented and enthusiastic technical and service professionals that can help drive the development of our industry leading software solutions and deliver an outstanding customer experience.
“As an industry leader, HighWire is dedicated to the development of our technical community and is committed to providing opportunities to engage in this effort in Belfast. We will be hosting a Drupal Community Meet Up event at our Belfast offices next week as part of our commitment to develop a culture and support the creation of new talent in this area.”