THE Director General for Digital and Media Policy was among guest speakers at the region’s annual tech sector dinner.

Matthew Gould joined more than 100 chief executives, directors, MPs and leaders from industry and education at the dinner held at the River Terrace at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art last week.

In his role at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Mr Gould, a former Ambassador to Israel, is responsible for the Government’s digital and media policy, including telecoms, internet safety, digital skills, data protection, the creative industries, broadcasting and media.

He attended the Dynamo dinner as part of a visit to Newcastle during which he met with tech companies and education leaders, and also toured North East Futures UTC, a new school under construction in the city’s Stephenson Quarter.

Sandra Thompson, Office Managing Partner at EY Newcastle was keynote speaker at the dinner, which was hosted by Dynamo Chair Charlie Hoult.

Mr Hoult welcomed more than 100 guests and spoke of Dynamo’s key role in the North East Futures UTC and supporting Northumbria University’s vision to create International Centre for Connected Construction (IC3).

Mr Gould said he’d been aware of how dynamic the region’s tech sector was and had been keen to visit: “I’ve been really impressed by what I’ve seen here. There’s a really powerful and supportive eco system of established large firms and smaller companies. It’s clear that the work of Dynamo has been imperative to forming a voice for the cluster.”

“I’ll be telling the Secretary of State how exciting the tech sector is up here and we’re keen to help you and also celebrate what you’re doing here,” he added.

In the week of the Cambridge Analytica and Facebook relevations, he talked of the need for improved cyber security and clearer governance for tech platforms to reassure the public.

Speaking after the dinner, Mr Hoult said: “Dynamo’s imperative is to build the reputation of the tech sector in our region so it’s great we can leverage our network in Westminster to show policy-makers the successes – and signal the opportunities we can work on to grow the region’s IT economy.”

Keynote speaker Sandra Thompson described her own career journey from Blyth to working for a tech PLC as Finance Director with offices in US and Pakistan, then returning to the North East to head up the offices of EY in Newcastle employing 600 staff with aspirations to grow much bigger.

“I’ve had sessions with EY’s Europe, Middle East and Africa leaders in Newcastle and they are impressed by how tech-savvy we are here and coming back to see what they can learn about our data analytics capability,” she said.

Dynamo is the North East’s network for the tech sector, with more than 100 members including IT firms, major employers, technology hubs, academia, local government and employer support initiatives. Its mission is to grow the region’s IT economy through collaboration, innovation, skills and reputation..

The annual Dynamo dinner is for member directors, and companies present included Accenture, Sage, Ubisoft, Barclays, Leighton, Northstar Ventures and Northumbrian Water. This year’s dinner was sponsored by Mincoffs Solicitors and Teesside University.

* For more information on Dynamo, or on its forthcoming Dynamo 18 conference at Newcastle University on June 21, log on to

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