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Posted on Fri 17th Jun, 2016 in: Industry Comment, Influence, Marketing, Public Relations by Emma Lister

On Wednesday, I attended the Tech North Advocates launch event at Entrepreneurial Spark. I was keen to hear more about Tech North's plans to accelerate growth in the North and champion tech via the non-profit private sector-led organisation. Tech London already has a community of tech leaders, experts and entrepreneurs which has come together with the aim of influencing the future of the industry in the region, so I wanted to know how the North planned to do the same. I have to say I was quite sceptical before I arrived because I was conscious that a lot of industry events like these take place and, whilst there is a lot of talk and excitement, there is rarely a lot of action. I found myself in the same room as a number of new and thriving tech businesses and professionals in the region, who all wanted to hear more about how they could be involved and what is required of them as an Advocate. We were told that to be an Advocate we must:
  • Be on message about northern tech
  • Introduce a new Advocate
  • Help another for the greater good
They also told us about their plans to host specific working groups focused on different themes and issues such as immigration, education and property. It was great to hear about these plans and to start the discussion with tech leaders and start-ups to see what they thought a tech community in the North could look like. I think what the tech industry really needs is not just a way of supporting and encouraging tech start-ups, but a collaboration of the Northern Digital Powerhouse to drive the industry and share different ideas and approaches to tech. It's also key that, as a region, we encourage new talent to join the tech sector and to stay in the North. It will be interesting to see how the group progresses over the coming months and what kind of insights come out of it. The key challenge will be ensuring all of the members are on the same page and have the same aims for the organisation. There will always be people who don't agree with its proposition or the idea of the group, so it will take patience and co-operation from Advocates, as well as the organisers, to get it right. Watch this space!

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