There seems to be a growing movement of people across the North East’s tech sector that want to shout about its capabilities and ensure it continues to compete against other tech regions. In my opinion the best way we can do this is by demonstrating the amazing companies and talent we already have here - we need to give them a voice.
This currently lies on the shoulders of individual businesses and their abilities to market themselves effectively, rather than being a joined-up approach. This means we see the same faces again and again, which tend to be those who have a skill for marketing as well as running their business. These people are fantastic and many I would count as friends... but we need to ensure those who aren’t winning local awards also have a voice. Even hidden gems can contribute towards the North East tech story and the Newcastle Tech Trust is a fantastic way to start this!
Some companies - although they may be ‘tech’ and based in the North East - don’t feel like they are part of the tech scene here. This can be because they don’t have customers here so they concentrate elsewhere, they don’t know how to be heard or they are just busy getting on with the job. One company owner that sticks in my mind said to me that they could ‘sit and cry’ when they think about what they should be doing on social media etc!
So how do we combat this as a sector and ensure that organisations who are successful in their own right, contribute to the ongoing challenge of pushing the North East as THE tech sector second only to London? I think we need to ensure we push the companies who want to be pushed into the light. We can make sure they are mentored, nominated for competitions, encouraged to speak at events and written about in blogs!
In the interest of practicing what I’m preaching I want to highlight just a few examples of some of the companies I’m aware of that are kicking ass and should be recognised:
New World Designs: Bullet time photography and 360 photo booths. Never fails to create excitement among new visitors and are working with amazing brands!
Blue Cookie: Web and development studio, fantastic team few people know about.
FPP: The independent shopper marketing agency, working with global clients and have a fantastic story.
Try Life: Interactive film series reaches over 200,000,000 people per week on social media!
Perfected3D: Cloud service that automatically optimizes data ready for 3D printing.
The most valuable contribution I think I can make, is use some of my free time to take forward a couple of Tristan’s suggestions, namely representation and founder support— to ensure technology startups have a voice; and to ensure that entrepreneurs with potential can connect with experienced, informed peers and mentors.