Last week I attended Thinking Digital Newcastle. Now in its tenth year, the conference brings together a large crowd and a stellar group of speakers; from company CEOs, entrepreneurs, scientists and artists, the conference draws on all things ’digital’ and how innovation and breaking boundaries is what we all should aspire to.
In a room with 500 delegates, I listened to the likes of Fintech Pioneer and CEO of Atom Bank, Mark Mullen and Digital Innovator Darren Jobling, CEO of Zerolight, as they shared their stories of setting up an innovative business. Both companies are North East based and are pioneers in their field; Atom Bank is the UK’s first digital-only bank whilst Zerolight uses Virtual Reality technology to enhance the customer experience of buying a car. It was a privilege to listen to North East based companies share their success stories and inspire the next generation of local digital entrepreneurs.
The North East has always been a leader in innovation – did you know Lucozade, windscreen wipers and the light bulb were all invented here?
And that trend is not changing. Also announced at the conference was Gateshead Council’s new Centre for Emerging Technologies, Proto. The centre will act as a platform for the North East’s most innovative businesses and will be a place where any company, from any industry, can access research and design facilities.
This centre plus existing pioneering facilities in the North East, such as National Innovation Centre for Data (NICD), VRTGO Labs, Sunderland Software Centre and NETPark, aim to put innovation at the heart of a company’s DNA and support collaborative working between education institutions and companies alike.
It’s an exciting time for innovation and digitalisation in the North East
As well as the infrastructure, wealth of skills and world class cluster of support, the North East continues to attract new innovative businesses to the region.
Just this week County Durham based BE Group announced it is investing in AI business, Synoptica, a company which provides data and artificial intelligence services allowing customers to profile, rank, track and forecast businesses they have interests in. This move will create a number of highly skilled tech jobs for the region and will draw expertise in big data and AI.
It is truly an exciting time to be in North East England. The Invest North East England team, alongside our Local Authority partners and the North East LEP, are working hard to support businesses to invest, grow and relocate to such an innovative-rich region.
Invest North East England