More than 40 new jobs are to be created by three different companies in Derry thanks to Invest Northern Ireland's Jobs Fund.
Axa Insurance, Fresh Food Kitchen will create 16 posts between them and One Stop Data will create 24 posts in the city, thus creating a contact centre.
The announcement was made by Invest NI Chief Executive Alastair Hamilton during visits to Axa Insurance, Fresh Food Kitchen and One Stop Data, all based in Derry today.
The Jobs Fund, previously known as the Short Term Employment Scheme, was set up earlier this year to stimulate job creation in response to the challenges of the global economic downturn. The fund has a ring-fenced budget of £19 million and aims to create 4000 jobs by 2014.
Of the three investments, one is a new inward investment project by One Stop Data. The Surrey-based company which specialises in providing postal, telephone and email marketing lists to help businesses accurately target direct marketing and lead generation activities is to set up a contact centre operation in Derry creating 24 new jobs. The new operation is part of a drive by One Stop Data to significantly increase their marketing services.
Invest NI’s Jobs Fund is also helping to create 13 new customer service agent posts at Axa Insurance which will bring total employment at the Northland Road operation to 163. The customer service agents will support the company’s sales in the Republic of Ireland.
Locally owned company Fresh Food Kitchen, which produces a range of fresh food products such as salads, sandwich fillers, desserts and mayonnaise, also plans to employ an additional five people to work on the development of a new range of fresh soups.
Speaking during his visit to the area, Mr Hamilton said: “The north-west, like the rest of Northern Ireland, is still facing the challenges of the economic slowdown. Many companies are noting a considerable drop in demand for products and services and this is having a knock on impact on recruitment and investment plans.
“However, as One Stop Data, Axa Insurance and Fresh Food Kitchen show, there are still opportunities out there for businesses prepared to diversify and target new markets. The Jobs Fund is helping these companies, and many others across Northern Ireland, to put staff in place to help them play out new strategies to protect their viability and help them grow.
“I am committed to ensuring that Invest NI does all it can to help companies to succeed, particularly during these difficult economic times. Applying for support under the Jobs Fund is designed to be much easier and faster so that businesses can receive financial support for employment projects when they need it. I would encourage companies, large or small, that would benefit from the Jobs Fund to contact Invest NI immediately so we can help them to manage their way through the current challenges.”