The Mayor of Philadelphia, Jim Kenney, hosted an Ireland North West delegation as they spent a full day in Pennsylvania's largest city exploring opportunities for business and educational partnerships.

The delegation, led by Leas Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Cllr Noel Jordan, and Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Maolíosa McHugh, met Philadelphia's Mayor at City Hall.

Gifts were exchanged and officials showcased the Derry-Letterkenny city region as a prime location for investment.

Companies from Donegal participating in the delegation include Aniar Cumhacht Teoranta;  Algaran Teoranta; O'Donnell's Bakery; Silver Birch Gallery; Meastoiri Domhanda Teo;  Eilis Galbraith and DS Environmental Services Ltd while the companies from the Derry City and Strabane District Council area are AE Global (formerly Allpipe Engineering); The Clinical Translational Research and Innovation Centre (C-TRIC); ActionSense Ltd; Makematic; NeuroConcise; O'Neill's Irish International Sports Co Ltd; Troll Inc; and Type 40 Creative.

Companies from Donegal participating in the delegation.

 Mayor Kenney said: "We're pleased to welcome this delegation to Philadelphia. 

 "There are many strong ties between Philadelphia and Ireland: a new direct flight between PHL and Dublin on Aer Lingus will begin in late March, and the state led trade missions to Ireland to promote our Life Science Sector in both 2016 and 2017. 

"We're pleased to build on that partnership with this visit."

A Donegal County Council spokeswoman said: "Monday's itinerary included a morning meeting with officials from the Select Greater Philadelphia Council who received a presentation from Donegal County Council’s Director of Service Liam Ward and Derry City and Strabane District Council's Director of Business and Culture Stephen about the advantages of investing in the North West region.

"Meetings were also hosted with key partners in Philadelphia about ways of strengthening their existing links with the North West of Ireland.

"Representatives from the North West Regional College, University of Ulster and Letterkenny IT also explored Workforce Development and Apprenticeship Programme partnership opportunities with their counterparts in the area.

"The visit to Philadelphia is part of the councils’ wider role in promoting sustainable economic development and job creation while enhancing its reputation and capacity to attract investment, expand business opportunities, extend global reach of the region and attract educational and cultural ties.

"On Tuesday morning, the North West delegation will travel to Boston to link up with the 15 companies from the Donegal and the Derry City & Strabane District Council area for four days of meetings and networking events.

"The itinerary will include meetings with the President of the Worcester Chamber Tim Murray, members of the Massachusetts House of Representatives and the Irish Ambassador to the US.

"Several networking events have also been planned including an Ireland North West Showcase event and an Invest NI Breakfast event culminating in attendance at the Golden Bridges conference at the Seaport Hotel and World Trade Centre on Friday, November 17.

"The travelling delegation includes companies from the digital tech, education, agri-food sectors and creative industries who are aiming to source business in US export markets."

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