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A Message From Jim Mawdsley: The Launch of One Region, One Sector, One Statement

Following 10 months of herding cats, crunching data and debating who, what, where and why, I was absolutely thrilled to release the One Region, One Sector, One Statement piece on Monday morning at the launch of the North East Digital Festival.

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Following 10 months of herding cats, crunching data and debating who, what, where and why, I was absolutely thrilled to release the One Region, One Sector, One Statement piece on Monday morning at the launch of the North East Digital Festival.

To be able to pull something together like this is one thing. For the partnership of all the key tech sector organisations to come together for the first time and make great contributions to the statement was another. This was a feat itself. You hear a lot of people saying that they find the landscape of organisations in the creative digital and tech sector of the North East difficult to understand or they can’t work out who to go to for what. What they should be thankful for is that we appear to have more support and business growth in the sectors here in the North East than any other region.

The real headline for me so far is how many people have given nothing but positive comments about the piece. I must admit, in the early stages I wondered if we’d pull it off. I always knew that it would be largely down to Digital Union / Generator to do the Lion’s share of the work but this was greatly alleviated firstly by Jamie Hardesty of Tech Nation who edited the piece and Lucy Batley at Jump who kindly lent us the services of Andrew Baxter who designed the thing gratis.

As to the piece itself, it’s not a manifesto, it’s not a list of demands, and it’s not a thorough, in-depth report detailing the sector in minute detail. What it is, is a document that describes the richness, diversity and rapidly growing sector that we have across the whole of the North East.

The business community that make up the Creative Digital and Tech sector here still very much see themselves as part of a region that encompasses the whole of the North East. In keeping to this thought, we produced a piece that recognises this and produces data sets for the entire Creative Digital and Tech Sector as a whole. To do this, we had to take standard sets, take out sic codes the group felt irrelevant and add ones in that we thought needed to be included. The data collation was greatly aided by both Victoria Sutherland at the NELEP and George Windsor at Tech Nation.

Apart from having one true set of data, there were other clear driving forces out there. Billy Weber of Sunderland Software City regaled a tale of a tech-related undergraduate who had been told by his university lecturer to call him to ask if he knew any companies in London as that is where he’s been told to look for a job as there were no businesses up here. All the inward investment teams tell a great but slightly different story about their part of the region and we wanted this to be a benchmark for them to use to demonstrate the strength of the cluster. We hear stories of those who have relocated to the region that at first, they were worried if their job didn’t work out as they wouldn’t have anywhere else to go. Then they get here, and they are stunned. We want HR Firms, businesses, Universities, inward investment teams, the media and many more to use this great piece of work and promote the region for whatever reason they want.

For those that had read it before the launch, they all said one thing – ‘I never knew all of this was going on within the North East’ and they all work in or for the sector!

If you haven’t seen it yet, download a copy here.

Enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed producing it.

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