In this weekly series we introduce you to members of the Tech North team and let them tell you more about their roles and their views about tech in the North of England.
This week we hear from our Community Engagement Manager for the North East, Douglas Jones.
Tell us about your role at Tech North
As Community Engagement Manager, I engage with a variety of stakeholders to try and understand their biggest pain point and then work to resolve their issues. From startup founders to large corporates as well angel investors and coworking spaces, no day is ever the same!
I work across multiple North East locations at any given time between Newcastle, Sunderland, and Middlesbrough including smaller cities in-between.
What’s your background, and what attracted you to working at Tech North?
I have a mixed background that began first in hospitality as a manager, before moving into public policy as a civil servant in Washington DC.
I always had an interest in digital technology. One of the reasons for leaving government, was to pursue a postgraduate in innovation, creativity, & entrepreneurship from Newcastle University Business School. I leverage the course modules and my relatively small network (at the time) to better understand opportunities in the Creative & Digital sector. Ultimately, I landed a role with Tech North following my stint as a graduate entrepreneur from Newcastle Uni.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned about tech in the North since you joined Tech North?
To be honest, I knew absolutely nothing about the North when I joined Tech North. I was clueless to its prior innovations and industrial past. When I was an international student, I had a much different perspective about Tech in the North. Now, I enjoy being on the front lines to shout about the number of solid tech startups and companies we have.
Everyone obviously knows about Sage but who could say the same about Double Eleven, a UK leading games developer producing such hits like Lego Harry Potter from Middlesbrough?
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
When I receive emails from founders expressing their appreciation for an introduction I made on their behalf that led to a business ‘win’, that to me is most rewarding. When I am out in the community, I try to put myself in their shoes and emotionally become part of their journey.
It is really gratifying to see founders and their businesses evolve thanks to our various programmes such as Northern Stars and Founders Network.
If there’s one thing you’d like people to do after reading this interview, what would it be?
Two things. Sign up for Northern Stars if you haven’t already. But also, check out our Tech Nation Visa Scheme breakfast in October in Leeds.
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