‘The North East is open for business’: Thousands attend TechNExt Festival 2023

Over 2,000 people took part in over 60 events at the TechNExt festival 2023 and the message was clear; the North East is ‘open for business’.

Thousands of people attended TechNExt festival events across the North East from June 19 to 23, with delegates travelling from as far afield as Singapore to discuss opportunities for the region’s economic development and future skills in tech.

The festival, organised by regional tech network Dynamo and its partner Sunderland Software City, hosted events from Teesside to Northumberland, discussing topics including AI, tech for good and workplace wellbeing while celebrating the businesses and individuals that make the North East a driving force in the tech sector world-wide.

One of those delegates in attendance was the Minister for Technology and Digital Innovation, Paul Scully. The Minister joined CEO of Sunderland Software City and Dynamo North East, Dr David Dunn, on Monday June 19 as part of an event focused on money, investment and business support for technology and digital start-ups in the region.

Speaking about the festival, Minister Scully commented: “The UK’s digital sector employs nearly 2 million people, having grown by a staggering 66 per cent between 2010 and 2019. At the TechNExt festival, I saw first-hand how much of that growth is being driven by some of the North East’s most dynamic tech businesses.”

While the focus of the week was on tech, ultimately the events were talking about people. Alongside fringe events, Tech Talent Live and No Code Arcade, TechNExt Festival Main Stage conference hosted a series of thought-provoking conference talks from leaders in technology and related industries at Sunderland City Hall.

The “world-class” line-up for the Main Stage included ‘Bionic’ Tilly Lockey; Dutch academic and author Paul Iske; computer scientist and founder of the Stemettes Anne-Marie Imafidon; ex-Microsoft executive Dave Coplin; emerging tech trailblazer Nell Watson and Mala Kumar, a global leader in tech for good.

Dr David Dunn, CEO and Sunderland Software City and Dynamo, added: “I think we have reached a tipping point in the North East where the tech sector can really blossom, historically we have always had pioneers, whether it’s the industrial revolution or the shipping revolution, and this is what we are seeing in the North East now with tech.

“We have some fantastic businesses who are selling globally and our digital economy sector now includes over 3,000 businesses, employing over 20,000 people and putting £2bn into the economy but we need to tell that story more.

“TechNExt Festival was created with the ambition to get our stories heard, to start conversations and celebrate the revolutionary businesses who call our region home; this is just the tip of the iceberg.”

By Matthew Neville – Senior Correspondent, Bdaily

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