Northern Ireland’s Digital/ICT Trade Association has closed its doors.
Momentum, the ICT Sector trade association for Northern Ireland has today announced it will cease to operate due to ongoing financial uncertainty. The organisation has been responsible for driving and delivering initiatives over the past two decades to help position Northern Ireland as a leader in Digital and ICT, a sector which now employs over 30,000 locally.
Since its formation, Momentum has been intrinsically involved in a wide range of collaborative initiatives encompassing access to skills, access to markets and access to funding with the purpose of growing the number of high value jobs in Northern Ireland’s Digital/ICT sector.
Today Momentum’s CEO Michael Noble said “the organisation has operated independently and not received core government financial support for a number of years. We have worked hard to transform our operating model to be self-supporting by exploiting new funding sources within Northern Ireland and across Europe.
However, the nature of project work, in particular with the European Union in Programmes such as Horizon 2020, has meant that for an organisation operating within exceptionally tight budget and cash flow limits the timing of payments impacts the cash flow of any organisation and in particular small not for profit organisations such as Momentum. This, coupled with relatively small levels of annual membership fees, means that the model has become unsustainable”.
Momentum has been at the heart of government, lobbying for a number of years and delivering a broad range of events from smaller workshops such as the recent ‘meet the buyer’ event to much larger events such as the Digital Summits in 2013 and 2014. Notably the result of these summits was the Digital Strategy, which remains a blueprint for how Northern Ireland as a region can take advantage of the growing global opportunity within the rapidly expanding digital market.
Momentum Chairman Rob McConnell said that “it is unfortunate that one of the strongest and fastest growing sectors in the region now has no single voice and this is especially disappointing following the extensive work we have undertaken to support businesses and employment here”.
McConnell continues that “the work of an industry association is very difficult and often goes unnoticed even by those who directly benefit from it. We have worked tirelessly, with many industry volunteers giving freely of their time over the decades, to signpost companies to business opportunities and sources of funding. We have worked with universities, FE colleges, schools and training organisations to help Northern Ireland take full advantage of the technology revolution and have lobbied hard to ensure government understands the challenges ahead. It is unfortunate that a viable funding model could not be found for the organisation”.
The voluntary Board of Directors of Momentum would like thank all the stakeholders of the organisation for their commitment and support throughout the 24 years the organisation has been working on behalf of the sector.