Hello and welcome to my first ever blog, my name is Róisín – pronounced Row-sheen and I am a new member of the Enterprise Team here at Sunderland Software City.

I joined Sunderland Software City just over 2 weeks ago and I’ve got to say it’s been one of the best starts to a new job I’ve ever had. Here at SSC the vibe is just so different (yes, I am aware that I just said vibe, I can feel you cringing, apologies, this is who I am), The trust from day one has been so heart-warming and welcoming, and the independence that has been given to me to work flexibly has been a real eye opener. To go from working for a large organisation where you are one in a sea of many people to a place that has just expanded to over 30 staff for the first time, it’s hard to not feel like an integral part of it all. I find myself logging onto my laptop on a Sunday evening while I have had a brainstorm of ideas before a Monday meeting without feeling that I’m being taken advantage of. I’m not overworking, I can finish later or start earlier, and I am for the first time able to go at my own pace and not be limited by a 9-5 time window.


I took the plunge to change jobs during the pandemic and I am not embarrassed to admit, I was completely terrified. 2021 has been quite an insane time for me, and I know I’m not alone. I sadly lost my Dad this year and if you know me at all (which you probably don’t, hence I’m writing this blog) you’ll know that my Dad was my hero. He was a truly brilliant, intelligent and passionate person and a good man through and through, and I am so proud to be able to say that. He would have been genuinely happy to see me working at SSC and enjoying it. He would have described this job as ‘New Age’ and beyond him. My Dad spent over 50 years on building sites, conducting manual labour through all the weather elements of Tyneside. In all seriousness, he would have been excellent at my job, he was an engaging and confident man who brought a smile to the face of all who knew him.


So 2021 has really has been a period of adapting and taking risks for me, My world suddenly changed, like it has for so many the last couple of years, and has forced me to think about what matters. It was my happiness and my willingness to somehow make others happy at such a dire time, that became my primary focus. The only downside of starting a new job is fighting the constant “imposter syndrome” I’ve been experiencing. This is due to the fact that I am absolutely not from a tech background, so at times I have felt overwhelmed and out of place, but I feel that, as an organisation, Sunderland Software City couldn’t have done more to support me into this new role. They encourage me to learn more, branch out into interests (for example, I love writing and expressing myself, so here I am writing a blog, I’m no Shakespeare, but it’s a process). It feels quite surreal to be suddenly surrounded by all these brilliant minds and lovely people who just want to see you achieve and succeed. I would like to mention the sense of humour across the board is brilliant so it’s been a good laugh here too. It always calms me down when I am free to crack a few terrible Dad jokes (they’re my favourite, judge me as you like).


I’m making it sound great here, and it honestly is, but the reason it works is because everyone takes ownership and executes their work efficiently and with passion – it’s amazing to see. Previously I have never been given the flexibility to use my creative side to try new things. Since day one here I’ve been told to: “go forth, explore, try it, and if it doesn’t work, let’s try something else”.


I should have really started this blog with a wee bit of information about my role, I am an Engagement Specialist here at SSC – my professional, proper grown up job is to go out there, (Into Sunderland and north of the Tyne) and talk to people, to have the conversations surrounding SSC and to make the community aware of what it is we are doing when it comes to getting people into tech, especially tech prestart-ups, and making them aware of the joint effort across organisations in Tyne and Wear to get people there.


We are here to support, guide and provide (intentional rhyming couplet, somebody stop me!).We are here to help people get their ideas off the ground. I know that out there in our local community there could be a single parent, a shop worker or manager, a student nurse, a labourer with an amazing tech business idea, an in-house comms specialist, and more, who all have the same phrase going through their head, the same one that I did-

“I don’t have a tech background” –

and that’s the barrier we need to break down. It could even be someone with an amazing business idea who hasn’t explored the ways or means to take it digital. There is so much support, funding and guidance available to help people with their ideas. I hope to be able to help people, and I hope I do the job as well as is expected of me. But now, I’m over the moon to be working with some amazing people.


Róisín

Newly appointed Engagement Specialist

Enterprise Team, Sunderland Software City


About our Enterprise programme

At Sunderland Software City, we are supporting the creation and growth of start-up activity.

Our engagement specialists go out into communities to help raise awareness of the possibilities surrounding self-employment. Their role is to educate, inspire and inform individuals about trying out new ideas, with a focus on growing confidence.

Alongside our engagement specialists, our Enterprise programmes employ a range of experienced staff who can help start-ups validate and support their business ideas: from preparing for funding to getting the branding right and validating the core tech.