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Monday, 2 October, 2000, 13:01 GMT 14:01 UK
NI e-mail company announces jobs
Computer workstations
Gem employees will handle commercial e-mail inquiries
A Northern Ireland company started less than a year ago has said it will create nearly 900 jobs in Londonderry and Belfast.

Gem (the Global E-mail Company), handles e-mails for large companies around the world.

It said it was "creating a world class operation which will provide excellent employment opportunities".

The Industrial Development Board-backed investment was announced by trade and investment minister Sir Reg Empey and Gem chief executive Owen Lamont, at a news conference in Londonderry.

The company, which was started in December 1999, is being offered 6.47 million towards the 13.7 million costs of the project by IDB.

'World class e-response centre'

Mr Lamont said Gem intended to create 700 jobs in Derry and 195 in Belfast.

Sir Reg Empey: "Workers will gain valuable skills"
"We are creating a world class e-response centre, the first of its type, which will provide superb services to global industry leaders," he said.

"I am confident that this investment will help to establish Northern Ireland as an e-centre of excellence and encourage other internet technology businesses to explore opportunities here.

"We looked at other locations for this investment but Northern Ireland offered the best package of readily available and computer literate young people, excellent digital communications and a thoroughly business-friendly environment," he added.

'Exciting opportunity'

The trade minister praised the company for moving quickly to exploit the opportunity created by the worldwide use of e-mail as a primary means of communication.

"The investment is a perfect fit for the drive to promote the development of a knowledge-led economy," he said.

"The focus on the internet and the latest techniques, such as electronic customer relationship management, will enable people in both cities to gain worthwhile expertise and skills in a very dynamic and challenging business," he added.

Sir Reg said that virtually every Northern Ireland company was facing challenges posed by globalisation and technology.

"However, the opportunities that accompany these challenges for companies which embrace the latest technology, as Gem has discovered, are immense," he added.

Meanwhile, the High Street retailer Marks and Spencer has announced that it is to employ 100 more people at its store at Sprucefield in near Lisburn, as part of a 4m development.

M&S said that when it was completed in about six weeks' time, their state-of -the-art store would employ more than 500 permanent staff.

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02 Oct 00 | Northern Ireland
Millennium odyssey to employ 600
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