‘Sectors should work together with tech to level up the North-East’ says LEP boss

THE North-East tech scene has been urged to collaborate with different industries to level up the region as others adopt digital business models in response to coronavirus.

The Covid-19 pandemic has ‘”seen years worth of digital adoption compressed into a matter of weeks” which saw businesses look to tech firms for inspiration in agile working.

Helen Golightly, chief executive of the North East Local Enterprise Project, the economic development organisation for the region, speaking at Dynamo North East annual conference told her virtual audience on June 25 that while there are many challenges associated with the pandemic, there is “a myriad of opportunity too”.

She said: “Amongst this time of disruption, and as we move towards planning the long term recovery plan for the region, there’s an opportunity to build on the momentum generated by coronavirus where we have seen years worth of digital adoption compressed into a matter of weeks.

“The North-East tech sector is leading the way in adopting and adapting to new ways of working.

“As a region we host a creative and creative tech community that embodies the entrepreneurial mindset. We are watching our most innovative companies create new products and markets, which are influencing other sectors to do that same.”

Ms Golightly says that while firms have been reactive to challenges, this has been made possible thanks to technology from outside of the region. Moving forward, the North-East must “fulfil its potential and develop the next generation of applications that will be adopted across the globe”.

The executive added: “Key to all of this of course is partnership and collaboration. Together, we can create the conditions to enable the digital economy to flourish, to equip the region with resilience, to meet the challenges ahead and to lead the way in digital transformation across all sectors.

“The ecosystem is varied and vibrant, we know there are challenges ahead but we look forward to collaboration and, together, enabling the North-East digital economy to be greater than the sum of its parts.”

As the pandemic emerged, a North East Covid-19 Response group was established with leaders across the region representing to offer support and encourage innovative working while keeping people employed and planning for recovery which involves access to grants, support ad the creation of new generation of businesses driven by digital models to level up the North-East using technology to drive productivity.

The sentiment was echoed through Dynamo North East’s annual conference, where businesses leaders came together to discuss the likes of financial technology, medical technology, working from home and much more, all in a Covid-19 context.

The conference’s new flexibility and accessibility drew in over 500 attendees across the North-East, who may otherwise have been restrained by time and place.

Charlie Hoult, chair of Dynamo, said the organisation had a focus on the region in lockdown, sponsoring several virtual meetings of the Tees Valley Business Club, working with Andy Preston and Ben Houchen, and hoped the greater accessibility of the digital conference would help people from those area join in.

Read this story on www.thenorthernecho.co.uk

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