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HIE Press Release - 2002-11-07

by Highlands & Islands Enterprise

London to Lewis for IT firm

A high-tech computer consultancy business is trading the big city for island life. Enterprise Management Consulting (EMC) Ltd already has a London office but is setting up a base on Lewis with a view to creating at least five new jobs in the first instance.

EMC has taken the lease on an advance office building at South Dell, Ness where staff will provide back-up support and maintenance for 'Linux' users - an alternative computer software system to Microsoft.

The new location for EMC will also be the company's main Eboxit sales office. Eboxit is a complete Linux based network server, which allows customers and engineers to configure the network, and provides all the usual office functions such as email and diaries in one affordable package.

EMC was established by Malcolm and Pam Macsween in 1995. The business currently employs five full-time staff in south east London. They envisage that within the next two years they will be employing up to 20 staff in Ness.

EMC already has an excellent reputation within the industry and clients range from a well known financial institution to a major regulatory authority within the European Union.

A funding package worth 25,000 from Western Isles Enterprise (WIE) is helping the MacSweens expand the business and establish a base in the Western Isles where they recently bought a home.

Malcolm Macsween is originally from Lewis but left the island as a teenager, moving to the USA with his family. However, Malcolm and Pam took a holiday on Lewis years later where they picked up on information that WIE and partner organisations were trying to attract high quality IT jobs to the area.

Donnie Morrison of the Work Global ICT Business Development Programme (part funded by the Highlands and Islands Special Transitional Programme) followed this up with a visit to EMC in London. He has continued working with EMC over the last year, developing plans to locate the new business in the Western Isles.

Commenting on his new venture, Malcolm MacSween said: "Family connections prompted us to visit Lewis and we were really impressed by what we saw. After much consideration we decided to locate part of our business here.

"There is nothing to stop us taking these IT development jobs to an island location in this day and age of modern communications technology.

"Another attraction of course is the high standard of graduates in the area. It is difficult to retain good staff in London so generally, the Western Isles is a smarter place to do business."

Donnie Morrison of Work Global commented: "EMC's Linux Centre in Ness has the potential to deliver services in the rapidly expanding open systems market to customers all over Europe. An increasing number of Government and Public Sector agencies are now actively considering Linux as an alternative to more costly licensing arrangements for software from other vendors.

"This centre will be among the first independent sources of telephone support for Linux in the UK and we will continue working with EMC to capitalise on their visionary development here in the islands."

Chief executive at WIE, Donnie Macaulay said: "This is great news for the Western Isles. As a direct result of having the building and facilities already in place we have been able to attract new, high quality jobs to Lewis.

"EMC is a company with a good reputation and we fully expect to see the business expand further in the future bringing much needed jobs to the Ness area.

"Growing businesses and making global connections are priorities for WIE and the arrival of this type of business to Lewis is proof that location need not be a barrier to success on a global playing field but can actually be beneficial with reduced overheads and improved quality of life."