Representatives from the Department of International Trade (DIT) from countries across the world, including the USA, India, Denmark and Ireland, explored the North East for two days to learn more about the strengths of the region’s digital sector and the world-class inward investment opportunities available.
The visit, organised by Invest North East England (INEE), included trips to some of the region’s digital innovation assets, as well as meeting the region’s collaborative digital networks.
The delegates had a jam-packed itinerary which included visits to PROTO – the first digital production facility of its kind in Europe plus Newcastle Helix, home to the National Innovation Centre for Data (NICD) and National Innovation Centre for Ageing (NICA). The group also heard about the new national esports performance campus in Sunderland as well as Newcastle and Sunderland Smart Cities.
INEE also organised a networking session with local businesses and specialists for delegates to learn first-hand why the region is a unique location for tech and digital businesses.
Day two of the programme saw delegates attend the Thinking Digital Conference at The Sage, Gateshead, where the group heard from internationally renowned speakers from across the digital sector.
Rachel Burdis, Inward Investment Manager at INEE, said:
” It has been a great pleasure to host colleagues from the Department of International Trade and to be able to showcase the region and its finest. We have some real technology strengths and assets here, so welcomed the opportunity to promote them to our colleagues at DIT and to equip them with a clear understanding that the region is a key location for this sector in the UK. We’re confident this will lead to more enquiries and ultimately result in new inward investment activity and more quality jobs for our region.”
Thomas Webb, Deputy Director – Regions, Northern Powerhouse, Department for International Trade said:
“The visit has been a great opportunity for our overseas officers to see what’s happening in North East England. Tech is booming in the region, and as such, it is an attractive location for tech and digital businesses to expand and locate. Meeting local businesses and touring the centres of excellence has given them further understanding of the strengths and opportunities in this region and will enable them to have meaningful conversations with potential investors. We look forward to continuing to work with our colleagues at Invest North East England to support tech and digital businesses looking to expand into this part of the UK."
Herb Kim, Founder & CEO of Thinking Digital Limited said:
“From Day One we built the Thinking Digital Conference to be a beacon of light attracting tech talent and high-growth digital companies to the North East and become a real asset assisting our inward investment partners in helping make the case that the North East was a world leader in digital and tech and could support a conference as wildly ambitious as Thinking Digital.
“Fifteen years after our launch we’re incredibly proud to have seen the tech & digital community blossom around us and help fulfil the promise that the North East could become a true leader in this space. Mirroring the sector’s success we have seen the Thinking Digital Conference featured by Wired Magazine, the Guardian and Buzzfeed and become known as one the UK’s most highly regarded conferences covering technology & innovation.”
A main focus of the visit is the immersive tech sector in the North East, which was highlighted by DIT as of national significance due to its digital innovation in manufacturing, the potential for collaborations with SMEs and universities, R&D assets in the region, and the skilled workforce. It was selected as the focus for a High Potential Opportunity back in 2018 and will form part of a refreshed digital campaign by INEE to promote the opportunities for investors.
The North East has one of the most creative and exciting digital technology clusters outside of London. It is a leading location for world-class facilities, dynamic support networks and unique opportunities for the digital sector including specific strengths in immersive technology, data, AI, esports, and software development.
Following this successful visit, INEE is looking forward to welcoming an overseas delegation of digital businesses to the region in June 2022. Attendees will visit key
assets in the region and meet local tech businesses, as well as attend the Dynamo North East Tech Conference.