BLOG: We’re all in this together

This week, we’ve had an excellent few days hosting a senior delegation from the Department of International Trade (DIT), responsible for the Tech and Digital sector.

The 14 visitors, from across the country, all have key roles in increasing the size of the sector in the UK, by attracting new investment and supporting existing businesses already here. Their visit was a great opportunity for the Invest North East England team to showcase the region and its fantastic assets and by doing so, make sure the North East is front of mind when they are working with new investors.

Whilst these types of visit always take a lot of planning, it never ceases to amaze me how supportive and accommodating the public and private sector are. Everyone we invited to join us over the two-day visit jumped at the chance and took the time out of their busy diaries to meet with the delegation. Those involved ranged from the hugely successful North East technology businesses Hedgehog Lab and Hammerhead VR, the industry support organisations, Sunderland Software City, Dynamo, Digital Union and VRTGO Labs and Newcastle University. We were also able to visit some of the excellent properties dedicated to this sector including The Core, Northern Design Centre, Campus North and Baltimore House. As you can see, it was a busy itinerary!

Our plan is to follow up this visit with further meetings as it is impossible to do the region justice in only two days. We’ve just got too much to show off!

The group was particularly interested in our outstanding strengths in the Virtual Reality/ Augmented Reality sector, which has grown from the expertise the North East has developed in the games industry.

On Monday evening, we had the opportunity to test some of the innovative products created right here in the North East. The range of applications on display was astounding, with many produced for household names from around the globe. In fact, the group, most of who have vast knowledge of the Digital and Tech sector, remarked that the work on display was some of the very best they have seen, and they have seen a lot. The North East really is leading the way in this sector nationally, which puts us in an excellent position as the sector grows. We’re looking forward to working with the team to invite a number of businesses to the region for the VRTGO Conference, held at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, later in the year.

We’re working hard to promote the region and attract new investment. Educating the Department of International Trade is only a small part of that role, but a very important element. We could not do this without the support network in the region. In fact, as I type this, I have just received an email from Jim Mawdsley, CEO of Generator and Digital Union, in response to my short note thanking him for meeting the delegation. Jim’s response was “Anytime, we’re all in this together”, which perfectly sums up the attitude to the North East’s collaborative approach. We genuinely all want to see this region succeed and I am proud to be a part of it.

David Pattison

Inward Investment Manager  

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