First speakers announced as tickets go on sale for TechNExt

The first speakers have been announced for the Main Stage conference of TechNExt24, the North East’s leading technology festival. Avril Chester and David Grey are the first to be announced in a line-up of some of the most exciting voices in the sector when the festival conference returns on Thursday 20th June.


Avril is a multi-award winning Technology Entrepreneur, experienced CTO, author, and podcast host. A cancer thriver, Avril founded Cancer Central, created with an incredible 70,000 hours of donated time. Avril is currently Chief Technology Officer at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and has been featured in Computer Weekly’s most influential Women in UK Tech long list four years in a row.


Avril is joined by David Grey, the founder of a virtual care companion powered by Amazon Alexa. David founded GG Care after becoming the primary carer for his grandmother due to her dementia. Backed by organisations including Innovate UK, UnLtd and Ebay, GG Care now operates across the UK, USA, Canada and Australia. Last year, David attended the Smart City World Expo in Barcelona as a member of the UK trade delegation with the Foreign Development and Commonwealth Office.


TechNExt24 promises to build on the inaugural festival’s momentum, with four flagship events – the main stage conference, industry dinner, Tech Talent Live and the festival party – set to return alongside a new programme of fringe events throughout the week 17-21 June. 2024 also sees a new schools’ challenge, designed to inspire school children and engage them in finding solutions to real-life challenges using technology. 


The festival’s return was welcomed earlier this year 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 festival already has the support of key partners and sponsors, including 2024 headline sponsors Leighton, Opencast and Sage.


Tickets are now on sale for TechNExt. For more details and to register, please visit 

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