Business Leaders Welcome Return of Tech Festival for 2024

TechNExt, the North East’s premier technology festival, is set to make its much-anticipated return in 2024. Following the success of the inaugural event in 2023, the event has been welcomed back by businesses in the region. TechNExt 2024 was officially launched at a special event last week, at the Opencast offices in Newcastle Upon Tyne. 

TechNExt 2023 took place earlier this year, spanning 5 days in June. It drew over 3,000 attendees and featured a lineup of 52 community-led fringe events alongside its flagship events. The festival not only highlighted the burgeoning tech scene in the North East but also showcased the importance of collaboration to the region’s sector. 

TechNExt 2024 promises to build on the previous festival’s momentum, with four flagship events – the mainstage conference, industry dinner, Tech Talent Live and the festival party – set to return alongside a new programme of fringe events. 

New for 2024 is a schools’ challenge. This will see the festival partner with regional schools to inspire students about technology and showcase the fantastic opportunities technology offers them. TechNExt 2024 will also have a renewed focus on the Good Festival Ambition, which promotes sustainable, diverse and inclusive event practices. 

David Dunn, CEO of Sunderland Software City, said: “TechNExt 2023 set a new benchmark for tech events in our region. It has been instrumental in showcasing the North East as a hub of technology innovation and talent.

“The overwhelming response to last year’s TechNExt just shows what a vibrant tech community we have in the North East. Its return in 2024 is a testament to our thriving business ecosystem.”

Sarah Thackray, Director at Dynamo North East and BeaconHouse Events, said: “As we prepare for TechNExt 2024, we’re excited to build on this momentum, bringing together the brightest minds in technology and business. 

“TechNExt is not just a celebration of technology but also a platform for promoting sustainable and inclusive practices. Our Good Festival Ambition is at the heart of this vision, setting out our commitment to an even more inclusive, diverse, and sustainable event.”

The announcement was welcomed by Saqib Bhatti MP, Minister for Tech and the Digital Economy. He said: “The North East’s tech sector exemplifies the power of collaboration and innovation in driving regional development. Its remarkable growth and dynamic spirit are products of a collective dedication to technological progress and deserve to be celebrated by events like TechNExt. 

“The partnerships between North East technology companies, academic institutions, innovation agencies and the wider business and educational communities have created a thriving, diverse technology ecosystem. The region’s approach to building an inclusive, sustainable, and forward-thinking tech community aligns with our national ambitions to create a strong, well-equipped workforce that is able to meet the challenges of the future.”

The announcement has also been positively received by key partners and sponsors, including 2024 headline sponsors, Opencast and Leighton. 

Opencast chief executive Tom Lawson said: “We’re excited to be a headline sponsor of TechNExt for the second year running. This celebration of the North East’s technology sector is something we’re committed to supporting. Opencast is now one of the largest tech firms in the North East, and we take our role in contributing back to the sector very seriously.

“In 2023 we put on five fringe events, including an interview with Newcastle MP and shadow minister Chi Onwurah, as well as joint talks with client stakeholders like Jacqui Leggetter from DWP. I urge people from outside the North East to consider coming along in 2024, and for other companies in the region to think about what they can share to continue to fly the flag for what is a very vibrant tech sector.”

TechNExt is a festival that epitomises the vibrancy and diversity of the North East’s tech sector. Through both its curated and community-led events, TechNExt offers a unique space for tech experts, startups, students, and the wider business community to converge, share ideas, and foster growth. For more information about TechNExt 2024, including details about tickets and how to get involved in the fringe events, please visit technext.co.uk.

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