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£550,000 investment boost set for Strabane.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

AFTER a four-year wait, Strabane's Business Park is finally in business after securing its first tenant.

Opened in March 2013 following an investment of £6 million, the Melmount Road site was designed to address the shortage of industrial land available across the district and play an important role in supporting economic development in the local area.

Last year, it emerged that a planning application had been lodged with the council to build a factory unit on the site but, until now, the name of the applicant had not been disclosed.

The identity of that first business to locate to the 15-acre site is Strabane-based food manufacturer, Dragon Brand Foods.

The company, currently based at the Orchard Industrial Estate in the town, is investing over half a million in jobs, innovation and a new factory with the support of Invest Northern Ireland.

Dragon brand Foods is making a total investment of £550,000 which will see them building a 7,500 square feet manufacturing space.

Invest NI has offered the company support of £153,563 towards creating four new roles, researching and developing a new range of Free From' sauces, dips and condiments for the more health conscious consumer.

The ambitious company is also planning to expand the company further and drive growth into the Republic of Ireland market.

Commenting on the investment, Paul McGuigan, director of Dragon Brand Foods said: "Our strategy is to pursue growth through investing in new products and innovation. Invest NI is providing us with invaluable support which is helping to safeguard our future and accelerate the future growth of our business.

"Building work for our new factory has already commenced and we look forward to growing our workforce to help us deliver valuable new contracts, particularly in the UK and ROI markets." Elsewhere, Des Gartland, Invest NI's North West regional manager said he hopes the news that the site has secured its first tenant will entice others to set up shop in the site.

'Ambitious' "Dragon Brand Foods is a highly ambitious and export focused business with innovation at its core. The company is using a range of Invest NI support to drive efficiencies which will enhance its competitiveness in the global marketplace.

"The company's decision to build a new factory at Strabane Business Park is a significant commitment and has involved a lot of preparatory work. I am pleased we have been able to help the company through this process and I look forward to seeing their plans come to fruition." Mr Gartland added: "This investment marks the next step in the company's journey to achieving faster export growth and reaffirms its continuing commitment to the Strabane area. I hope that this announcement will act as a catalyst for further investment into the Strabane area." News of the investment has been heralded locally. West Tyrone Sinn Féin MLA., Michaela Boyle, says the development is "long-awaited".

"First and foremost, I would like to commend Dragon Brand Food's for their long-standing commitment to Strabane further evidenced by this fantastic investment announcement and also Invest NI for the financial support it is providing to assist the further expansion of the business," she said.

"This long-awaited announcement is exactly what has needed for the Business Park.

In Sinn Féin's last meeting with Invest NI chief executive, Alasdair Hamilton, in which we were lobbying to ensure everything possible was being done to attract investment to the site, he spoke of the initial difficulty in attracting the first tenant but said that the experience of similar Business Parks in other areas is that when the 'ice is broken' others quickly follow.

"So, given at that meeting he confirmed other 'expressions of interest' hopefully this is the first of the many tenants that are in the process of setting up a business at the park."

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