DYNAMO, the region’s tech network, has grown during recent months as the IT community pulls together to help fight COVID challenges.

Dynamo gives the tech sector a voice as well as organising regular conferences, awards, meet-ups and dinners. Twenty one new members have joined since lockdown was announced in March.

New members include Business Durham, the economic development arm of Durham County Council, global management consultancy Oliver Wyman and Kani Payments, a Newcastle-based fintech company.

Oliver Wyman has 5,000 people working in 60 cities across 29 countries and has specialised expertise in strategy, operations, risk management, and organisational transformation. The company has its second largest UK office in Newcastle.

Cate Kalson, Director at Oliver Wyman’s Newcastle office, said: “We’re excited to be new members of Dynamo. We established our Newcastle office in 2018 and have spent the past couple of years with our heads down building the business here, which is our European Data and Analytics hub serving our global client base. Now we have a great team of 30 people and it feels like the proper “start-up” phase is over, so recently we have had a bit more time to reflect on where we are headed and what we want to achieve.

“It’s great to have already met like-minded professionals via Dynamo, who like us, have a wealth of industry experience from outside the region and are now building businesses here and playing an active part in creating tech jobs in the North East. We are still growing quickly and want to work with Dynamo to collaborate on talent and skills initiatives. We have also started interesting discussions with other Dynamo members around the potential to collaborate on projects, specifically in the fintech and marketing analytics space.”

Melissa Beckett, Chief Marketing Officer for Kani Payments, added: “Dynamo helps to shine a light on the amazing talent and tech activity happening across the North East. The reason I wanted Kani Payments to join Dynamo is because they’re more than a membership organisation who just talk about tech – Dynamo and the individuals who work for them are key to many projects and events that help to shape the North East tech sector and the people within it. Their knowledge, collaboration and facilitation truly help to drive change, growth and skills within our region.”

Meanwhile, Dynamo has added two new members to its team to deliver specific projects.

Fareeha Usman becomes the network’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Innovation Manager. Fareeha, from Morpeth, founded the registered charity Being Woman which educates and empowers women with the skills and confidence to challenge prejudice and discrimination. Fareeha is also an ambassador for the TechUpWomen programme, which retrains women from BAME and under-represented communities so they can find work in the tech sector.

Shaun Allan, founder of virtual reality consultancy Vector76, has been appointed Dynamo’s new Innovation Hub Producer. He brings a wealth of experience in leading-edge tech, specifically in virtual and augmented reality software.

Charlie Hoult, Chair of Dynamo, said: “The increase in Dynamo membership reflects the buoyancy of the region’s tech sector. It was in good shape going into lockdown and continues to largely weather the storm well. New and existing members are telling us they’re ready for whatever the post-COVID-19 world looks like.

“Our great tech sector can lead the way out of the COVID-19 gloom and Dynamo is playing a key part in helping to enable and empower it to do so. That involves engaging, promoting, linking, prompting, but also being actively involved in the recovery.

“Our new members want to buy into this, and it’s satisfying to see the range and breadth of the companies and organisations joining us – from exciting start-ups to global corporations and from PR and marketing companies to regional development organisations.”

Other companies and organisations who’ve joined Dynamo since the end of July include: The Experience Bank; Bradley O’Mahoney Public Relations; C-Ways; Bedrock 42 and quantyr.

Because of COVID, Dynamo’s recent events have been held online. This year’s Dynamo conference was a virtual event, with 600 delegates attending online. #CyberFest, a month-long programme of ten events aimed at promoting and growing the region’s cybersecurity sector is online throughout this month, while Dynamites, Dynamo’s much-anticipated annual awards night will be online next month (October 14). Click here for further details of #CyberFest and here for Dynamites tickets and information.

Dynamo North East is a business-led organisation with the core mission of ‘Growing the North East tech economy through collaboration, innovation, skills and noise.’  It is made up of IT organisations, large corporate employers in the region, consultants, technology hubs, education providers, local government and suppliers to the industry.


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