Newcastle City Council, supported by Invest Newcastle (a service delivered by NewcastleGateshead Initiative on behalf of Newcastle to attract and secure new investment and jobs for the city), today [31 January 2017] consulted on a strategy which will support and boost the tech and digital sector in Newcastle.
The strategy follows a recent report by Auxin, a multi-disciplined business support service, and will bring together the public and private sectors in order to collectively address the challenges, needs and strengths of Newcastle’s tech and digital sector in order to drive forward growth.
Made up of three themes, people, place and profile, the strategy addresses funding, skills, the start-up and scale-up eco-system, civic data and open data, fit for purpose office space, cross-sector integration, advocacy and inward investment.
Jen Hartley, Head of Tech Sector Strategy at Invest Newcastle, is leading on the project and said: “We have a great tech and digital community in Newcastle. It is predicted to grow by 30% in the next 3 years – driven by the innovative and enterprising businesses in Newcastle and the wider region. However more needs to be done to support these organisations and ensure continued growth.
“We have strong foundations already with organisations including Dynamo, Digital Union and Campus North making great headway. The purpose of this strategy is to pull together and support these initiatives and to profile the sector nationally and internationally, helping to drive national policy and ensuring Newcastle continues to be recognised as a global hub for the sector.”
Jen has extensive experience in the tech and digital sector following her previous roles at Tech North as Deputy Head, and Trade and Investment Director. She has built strong networks within the tech and digital clusters both in the North of England and London. During her time at Tech North Jen was also part of the Senior Management Team delivering the key strategic themes and leading the team through periods of change. Jen is a board member of Dynamo and has been a mentor on the Ignite Accelerator programme.
Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle City Council, said: “The tech sector in the region has expanded rapidly over the past couple of years and is the fastest growing sector outside of London, now accounting for over 44,000 employees and nearly £2bn to the regional economy.
“Our vision is to ensure that Newcastle and the North East continues to be a hotbed for digital innovation that encourages business growth, attracts further investment, and helps to develop skills and create jobs of the future. We look forward to receiving feedback on the suggested approach from those at the heart of this thriving sector.”
Catherine Walker, Inward Investment Director at Invest Newcastle, said: “The tech strategy is a key strategic move which will enable us to build upon our current strengths in the sector and ensure Newcastle is a leading city for technology businesses – continuing to attract tech and digital business to the city, following on from mkodo, Ubisoft and Tidy, who has recently moved here.”