Something unexpected happened after the launch of TechNorthEast. There has been one question that has come up several times; “Who is behind TechNorthEast and what is the rationale for the platform?”
Whilst a lot of people have helped shape the platform and the content that was released in early December 2018, the main protagonist behind TechNorthEast is myself. Some of you may know me as the former Chief Product & Delivery Officer of Sage Group PLC and a passionate supporter of the North East’s Information Technology and Digital sector.
I’m a native of the North East and I’ve had the benefit of a wonderful career in technology spanning some 30 years. The time I spent with Sage allowed me to work with lots of excellent technology companies and individuals worldwide. I have always been interested in tech and in particular why some companies and some parts of the world were more successful than others and what might the North East copy to drive more success.
Not surprisingly, great people are always the number one asset of a successful tech company, but the tech ecosystem also has a massive part to play. What is the fabric of a region; who else is there; where do you get talent; where do you get finance; where do you get workspaces; where do you get access to knowledge; where do you get help from others that have been successful already, and more importantly what is the ambition and who is telling the story?
I’ve said this a number of times already and I want to say it again, there are many excellent groups and individuals who are actively developing and promoting our digital tech sector today; The North East LEP, Tees Valley LEP, Dynamo North East, Digital Union, Sunderland Software City, and all of the regional Invest organisations, to name just a few.
However, I feel the opportunity exists to complement the work of these groups to further promote the entire fabric and ambition of our region's digital tech sector. From my own experience, I found it incredibly difficult to navigate the region without knowing who the right people and organisations are to speak to and I have been told by many people that they shared my experience.
I have to admit for a long time I sat on the side lines commentating on this and hoping that someone else would sort it out. Until one day I decided to get off the bench and have a go at solving the problem myself.
I created TechNorthEast a digital platform that maps and categorises the region's technology ecosystem to inform and help people navigate our tech sector. A core website is complemented by social media channels (Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook), and it links to the excellent 'Tech Diary' service that already serves the North East tech scene very well.
The platform is not intended to duplicate or compete with any of the other regional network groups. That would be madness and only serve to create even more confusion. Instead the platform is intended to support and amplify the many great initiatives led by all the existing regional advocates.
TechNorthEast is for everyone across the North East's digital tech community, those looking to start a business here, grow a business here, move a business here, those looking to raise finance, develop a career, looking for other companies to work with, or those just wanting to find out what’s going on and how to get involved. TechNorthEast is a jumping off point and a door into the North East's Information Technology and Digital Ecosystem. It is, and always will be, fully inclusive. Any tech company or business serving tech companies can participate, and in time it will be completely self service and self serving.
This is not to benefit me personally, I’ve already had a great career in technology and I’m not in this for commercial gain. I simply want to use the experience that I have gained and do what I can to help develop our region as a major tech player, to create more opportunities for future generations, and to bring more prosperity to the North East.
I hope you will use, support and contribute to TechNorthEast and help shout from the rooftops about our great region.