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ENTERPRISE WEEK. . . . .The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Brian Tierney pictured at Ebrington on Friday morning for the launch of the ‘Level Up Initiative (part of this year’s Enterprise Week 2021) with Alastair Cameron, founder, Startacus. Back from left are Jade Bradley, Restore Nutrition, Laverne O’Donnell, Business Officer, DCSDC and Emily McCorkell, Lo and Slo. This year’s Derry-Strabane Enterprise Week will run from 19-23 April. (Photo: Jim McCafferty Photography)

LEVELUP 2021 innovation & inspiration for a post pandemic future

Photo – The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Brian Tierney pictured at Ebrington on Friday morning for the launch of the ‘Level Up Initiative (part of this year’s Enterprise Week 2021) with Alastair Cameron, founder, Startacus. Back from left are Emily McCorkell, Lo and Slo. Laverne O’Donnell, Business Officer, DCSDC and Jade Bradley, Restore Nutrition. (Photo: Jim McCafferty Photography).

LEVELUP 2021 is a two day blended digital & in-person event taking place on the 21st and 22nd April 2021. The event will be looking at innovation & inspiration from around the world. Exploring how people, both locally & internationally, have created opportunity, economic growth & initiated real change. Delivered by Startacus in partnership with Derry City and Strabane District Council.

LEVELUP 2021 will cover Six themes during its two day event such as:

  • Smart Places and Rural Innovation.
  • Future of Retail and the High St.
  • Entrepreneurship & Innovation. Health and Wellness.
  • Social Change.
  • Inclusion and Diversity.

Key speakers, panelists and sponsors announced 

Details of the key speakers, panelists and sponsors for the LEVELUP event that is being delivered by Startacus and taking place during Derry and Strabane Enterprise Week have just been announced!


Following on from last year’s LineUP event and the subsequent impact which the pandemic has had on us all, the 2-day hybrid LEVELUP event will draw on and look at innovation and best practice locally and from around the world and focus on what we can do now – the changes that we can make and the opportunities that exist if we’re to thrive in our new economy – whether that is as individuals, organisations or regions.

LEVELUP will take place on 21st and 22nd April and will feature a series of inspirational sessions on 6 core themes with People and the Economy being the overarching theme throughout; Smart Cities, Places and Rural Innovation, Retail and High Street, Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Health & Wellness,  Social Change and Diversity & Inclusion.

Key speakers and panelists confirmed so far include:

Key speakers and panelists confirmed so far include:

  • Izzy Obeng – Entrepreneur, business coach and professional speaker leading Foundervine
  • Ben Scott Robinson, Co-founder of Small Robot Company
  • Devika Wood, Leading UK entrepreneur and founder of I am Arla
  • Philip McLaughlin, Client Manager, ESRI Ireland
  • John Hoyle, Founder of Sook, a company that reactivates empty spaces
  • Liz Choonara, Head of Entrepreneurship at leading UK Charity CRISIS
  • Joe Richardson and Venetia Hulse from Corporate Innovation Consultancy L Marks
  • Christine White, Head of Business, Diversity Mark NI


The event will also feature the NI startup pitch competition, LEVELUP 2021 where up to 14 early-stage innovative digital / tech startups will compete for a £2k cash prize. Applications for this remain open until 10th April. The winner of the virtual pitch competition will be decided by a fantastic panel of judges which includes:


  • Dave Graham, Dell Technologies 
  • Naomi Timperley, Tech North Advocates
  • Audrey Osborne, Techstart VC
  • Beth Glenfield, Scout for Ada Ventures 
  • Shaun Sharkey, Equity Fundraising Manager, Crowdcube
  • Nico Albanese, Ascension Ventures 
  • Anne Lawlor, CEO of Journey Protector, the winner of “The 20” pitch competition at last year’s LineUP event will also be back to chat about the last 12 months and what she and her business have achieved.

Additional Features 

LEVELUP will also feature an early-evening Speed Networking event on 21st April. The virtual event, taking place on Zoom, is being powered by NetMinds, and will provide opportunities for attendees to engage, build valuable connections, inspire others and be inspired. 


It will follow a similar format to the recent speed networking event which Startacus had facilitated for female founders as part of International Women’s Day. Further details and opportunities to book tickets for the speed networking event will be announced shortly.


In addition to Derry City and Strabane District Council as strategic partners, LEVELUP organisers and facilitators Startacus are delighted to announce that the Council will be joined as Major Sponsors of the event by North West Regional College and Ulster University. 


In addition, Allstate NI, ESRI Ireland, RAISE Ventures and RealTime Recruitment will be sponsoring individual sessions over the course of the 2-day event, with Allstate NI also sponsoring a speed networking session.

Free tickets are now available to be booked for individual sessions or for all!

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