TechNorth Aims To Repeat Tech City UK Success

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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The Deputy Prime Minister has launched TechNorth, an extension of Tech City UK that will aim to coordinate existing ICT expertise and promote tech investment in the region

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has launched TechNorth, an initiative aimed at building up an ICT hub in the North of England and doubling the number of technology-related jobs in the region.

The project, part of Tech City UK, will aim to have an effect in the North similar to what Tech City UK has had in London’s East End, bringing visibility to ICT startups and encouraging inward investment. TechNorth is intended to coordinate the existing digital technology expertise of Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool and the North East tech cluster of Newcastle, Sunderland and the Tees Valley.

TECH CITY Logo

International hub

“We’ve listened to local business leaders and there is a clear need for us to seize an opportunity to capitalise on existing tech talent by creating a northern tech hub to rival Berlin, New York, or Shanghai,” said Clegg, in Sheffield to announce the project last week.

He said TechNorth aims over time to double the North’s existing 200,000 ICT jobs. The government estimates that Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool and the North East tech cluster have over 20,000 businesses in the tech, media and telecoms industries.

The project is to work through UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) to help attract inward investors and to pool ideas and resources across boundaries, according to the government’s Department for Business, Innovation & Skills. TechNorth will run events and pitch sessions to help link start-ups to potential investors, with the aim of help the region reach a critical mass that would attract spin-off businesses and support supply chains, the government said.

Digital skills

Clegg said the government will invest in an organisation that promotes TechNorth internationally to encourage investment from abroad, and will look at the case for investment in digital skills in the region.

“This initiative builds on the phenomenal success of Tech City UK in London, helping extend this success into the North with the Tech Cluster Alliance, and will help us power the global success story for the whole of the UK,” said Tech City UK chair Baroness Shields, in a statement.

Earlier this month a report from London & Partners, the capital’s official promotions agency, found that technology companies in London have set an all-time record in attracting investment, with the 34,000 technology firms in the capital attracting more than $1 billion (£620m) in investment so far this year.

This is significantly more than the figure from the whole of last year, when $719 million in funding was raised for the city’s firms, and is ten times higher than the amount raised during 2010.

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