An update from Raise:

Raise are delighted to have joined The Software Alliance Northern Ireland, who give a voice to local businesses in the industry.

We'd encourage all startups to take advantage of the opportunity to benefit from a wider collaborative voice, with membership free for firms with under 10 employees.

Since Momentum and Digital Circle folded in the mid 2000s, Northern Ireland has lacked a representative sector body for the local software industry. For the past few years some leading lights in software development from companies like Kainos, Instil and GCD Technologies have been working on plans to fill this void.

Angela McGowan, Director of the CBI Northern Ireland who were instrumental in helping to form the Software Alliance

The Northern Ireland Software Federation is a not-for-profit organisation formed to represent the interests of software makers in NI. It plans to push forward on an education, skills and investment agenda and to provide a much needed interface to government both in Northern Ireland but also further afield in the Republic of Ireland and the wider UK.

Importantly, unlike its predecessors at Momentum and Digital Circle, the body is independent of government funding and instead intends to fund itself via paid membership. For larger organisations the annual fees are around £10,000 while packages exist for companies of all sizes right down to a free tier for companies with 9 employees or less, perfect for most local startups and at around £500 per year scale-ups would be able to join also.

This independent approach will give it the rare ability to speak truth to power and means it will likely be much more powerful and effective in working with policy makers that anything proceeding it.

Jayne Brady head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service gave her own experience of leaving as a graduate in the belief that a good career wasn't possible locally only to return

At Raise we're excited to see an organisation grow from the local industry to tackle the problems within that industry. Whether that's accessibility and blockers for females entering the tech world, reversing the established brain drain of graduates leaving NI and never returning, pathways to STEM through education or startup investment we're heartened by this renewed focus and fully supportive of the people pushing it forward.

If you're involved in the software industry in Northern Ireland potential membership of the Software Alliance deserves your full attention. If you're a startup wanting to know more we'll be putting together a Raise event in the near future where you can meet the people behind it in person and get your questions answered. Join our mailing list for more information (click Join Our Community in the bottom right of your screen).

The panel answered questions from attendees including Tom Gray CTO of Kainos and Andrew Gough of GCD Technologies, both founders of the Software Alliance

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