Leading Ladies of Tech front Dynamo 16

Dame Stephanie Shirley

LEADING figures from the UK’s technology sector will descend on Tyneside in June for a major conference.

A host of big names from the IT world will join academics, business leaders and politicians for the third annual Dynamo conference.

The event has become a hotly-anticipated event in the IT calendar and this year is being hosted by Northumbria University. The conference is a key project of Dynamo, an industry-led initiative to promote and grow the region’s tech sector.

Dynamo was set up in 2013 by Opencast Software Chair Charlie Hoult and Accenture’s Bob Paton, and is made up of IT organisations and employers, technology hubs, universities, colleges and local government. It provides a focal point for the sector, promoting it within the region and nationally.

This year’s event is on Thursday, June 23, and its theme will be North East Tech: Strength in Depth, with a special focus on women in the sector.

IT entrepreneur turned philanthropist Dame Stephanie Shirley will be the headline speaker. Dame Stephanie arrived in the UK in 1939 as a Kindertransport child refugee from Germany. She started what became Xansa plc on her dining room table with £6 in 1962 and developed it into a leading technology group, pioneering new work practices and furthering the cause of professional women in the IT industry.

“Whenever we see the Angel of the North, my husband reminds me that he’s a Geordie. I am so looking forward to being part of Dynamo 16. Its success over the past two years confirms the European Investment Bank’s confidence in North East IT and technology businesses,” said Dame Stephanie.

“Would that there had been such dynamic support when I started my software house back in 1962,” she added.

Other speakers will include Alex Depledge, CEO and co-founder of online cleaning marketplace HASSLE.com, and Giselle Stewart OBE, Director of Corporate Affairs at interactive entertainment business Ubisoft. Giselle is also a vice-chair at Dynamo.

More speakers and discussion panelists will be confirmed closer to the event, and broadcaster Wendy Gibson will compere the conference.

A pre-conference Dynamo careers event – Get Into IT – for careers advisers and teachers will also be hosted at Northumbria University on Wednesday, June 22.

And the following week, June 27 and 28, Dynamo North East will be part of the Big Bang North East Fair, a free programme of events designed to get young people aged 7-19 excited about science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) in the world of work.

Charlie Hoult, who as well as chairing Dynamo is the owner of Hoults Yard business centre, said the conference was now an event of real significance:

“It’s about more than just promoting and celebrating what we’ve achieved in the IT sector in the north east. It’s about pushing forward, thinking about how much more we can do

“We’re known as a hotspot for software development, but we have so many terrific businesses and talented individuals who have created a platform to further expand the sector.

“Dynamo’s initiatives like the Northern Institute for Technology and Business Exchange (NIT) would dramatically grow the sector further, electrifying our quality jobs market and boosting our standing within the Northern Powerhouse.

“As well as our speakers and panel sessions, we’ll also be exploring the opportunities presented within Dynamo’s workstreams: skills, future workforce, cyber resilience, build, data and intelligence.

“We had 300 people attend our first Dynamo conference and 450 overall at our second – this year we’re hoping thousands will attend the conference, our careers fair and the Big Bang event.

“I’d like to sincerely thank our headline sponsors Sage and Accenture for their continued support for such an important conference.”

Stuart Lynn, Sage’s Executive Vice President for Product Delivery in Europe, said:

“We’re delighted to support Dynamo 16 in spearheading the campaign to put the North East on the IT map and we’re thrilled to see the women in tech in the spotlight.”

“Diversity across all aspects of business and IT is something that we champion and we’re passionate about promoting this to drive a thriving IT industry.”

Mark Larsen, Managing Director for Accenture’s Newcastle Delivery Centre, said:

“Dynamo 16 brings together the best and brightest of the North East IT sector. It is initiatives like this that focus on diversity and innovation in IT that will help us create jobs for the future and close the skills gap in the North East.”

The conference is being organised by BeaconHouse events on behalf of Dynamo.

Dynamo 16 is open to anyone interested in IT and technology, whether from the public or private sectors, with early bird tickets now available at www.dynamonortheast.co.uk