Ecosystem

An update on Tech North’s progress

21 Sep, 2017

Just over a year ago, I joined Tech North and embarked on a series of roadshows to get feedback as to what the challenges were for founders of tech companies in the North of England.

After a few weeks, this culminated in the following five areas of focus, that guide the programmes, content and initiatives that Tech North deliver:

  1. Raise the profile of the Northern tech sector and the companies within it by uniting the regions to tell one great story
  2. Create the central point of data on Northern tech to support our initiatives around funding and skills
  3. Support the creation of a leading ecosystem for founders and entrepreneurs through access to funding, networking, training and support for accelerators and co-working spaces.
  4. Reduce the skills and talent gap in digital and tech by collaborating with tech employers both large and small.
  5. Assure the sustainability of Tech North and its initiatives by making sure we secure funding for beyond 2018.

This summer we toured again, to update the community on what we’ve delivered over the last 12 months, and our plans for the next year.

Keeping to those five areas of focus:

Profile raising

  • Northern Stars – we delivered our second Northern Stars (applications are now open for the third) and the ten winners have seen a massive benefit. In fact the Northern Stars have received over £6 million of investment to date
  • At GP Bullhound’s Northern Tech Awards, we launched the first ever Northern Tech 100, shining a light on the fastest growing tech companies in the North.
  • We’ve produced 36+ hours of video content on founders and the tech ecosystem in the North of England, which has been watched 42,924 times for over 1,200 hours (that’s 50 days).
  • Every day we feature a new business and news from the community on our story-led website (you’re reading it right now).
  • 400+ companies have been profiled over a range of our work, including the Investment Index and our blog posts. This achieved over £900,000 worth of coverage.
Tech North Northern Stars
The Northern Stars 2016 winners

Research

  • In order to highlight the rate of growth in Northern tech investment, we created the Tech North Investment Index now on its third edition.
  • The Northern Tech 100 league table features data on the fastest-growing tech companies in the North of England along with the strongest sectors and other industry insights

Ecosystem and funding

  • At the recent showcase events, we demo’d the beta of the Tech North Ecosystem Map, initially to highlight the coworking spaces, incubators and accelerator programmes in the region, and later to highlight digital businesses across the region
  • We built Founders’ Network to a membership of more than 250 entrepreneurs, learning and sharing experiences with each other. Our Founders’ Network Summit in Sheffield this spring attracted more than 100 attendees and was warmly received.
  • We continue to push for a £30 million co-investment fund to support a more sustainable investment ecosystem
  • We’ve [just] launched the Tech North Angel Network and look forward to attracting more early-stage investors to support the region’s startups.
  • Tech North’s new Community Engagement Managers, have connected over 1,000 members of the community.

Talent and skills

  • The Digital Jobs Action Summit, took place in Leeds. More than 100 stakeholders in Northern tech skills came together to not just talk about problems but provided live input into a digital skills strategy for the North.
  • The inaugural Northern Voices programme saw 28 women from across the Northern tech sector, receive media and presentation training and promotion to secure conference speaking and media opportunities. So far the ‘voices’ have had had 121 event and 79 media opportunities.
  • Our Upskill programme helped train and raise the profile of 16 skills providers across the North, who can help train and re-skill individuals to fill the abundance of vacancies in the digtital and tech industry
Tech North Digital Jobs Action Summit
The Digital Jobs Action Summit

Sustainability

  • We’ve begun working with partners to secure extra investment that not only validates the importance of these projects, but allows us to deliver more. To date we have worked with Accelerate Places, Crowdcube, Evolution Recruitment, EY, Invesdor, Seedrs, Syndicate Room and Ward Hadaway.
  • Furthermore, we are now submitting our bid to secure funding from April 2018 onwards.

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  1. Thank you for what you and the team do, RIchard. Since I discovered Tech North at the summer showcase, it’s completely changed my perspectives on how to grow my startup software business – Founders’ Network, Northern Stars… brilliant initiatives. Keep up the great work!