David Dixon, from DigitalCity, co-founders of the Tees Tech Awards, explains why he thinks local digital and tech firms should embrace the inaugural awards event…
For too long the digital, technology and creative businesses in our region have played in the shadow of other towns and cities across the UK and the world (yes, we should be comparing ourselves globally!).
The Tees Tech awards represent a real opportunity to showcase the brilliant products and services that you and your peers have created to what will be a national and potentially global audience.
Why is this important? And is it really worth your time in applying? These are legitimate questions to ask, and I would say yes!
In truth, if businesses don’t get involved, it is very likely that our sector will have to share forever the more generic award platforms that exist.
There is nothing wrong with this, but it does limit the exposure that the sector absolutely deserves.
I have worked with hundreds of digital, creative and tech companies over the last 18 years and probably as many in the wider sectors.
Nothing fails to surprise me when it comes to the brilliance and the quality that our companies deliver on a global basis.
We absolutely have market-leading, bleeding-edge companies within our borders that “just get on with the job”.
This psyche makes Teesside what it is, but we MUST get better at telling the world how great we are.
It will help all of us in many different ways (e.g. inward investments, attracting more young people to study and work here, attracting more investors and international collaborators to reach out to us).
The nominees and winners will have an excellent platform in which to sell their business to prospective clients and collaborators, but perhaps most importantly it’s your chance to sell your business to future employees.
Wages are and always will be a huge driver, but more and more people are looking for employers that are aligned to their personal values and provide a better work-life balance.
This is a great opportunity for our amazing companies to sell their values and attract a workforce that is more passionate and engaged in the work that you do.
We all owe it to each other to celebrate success and sell this wonderful region that we all live and work in.
Our Teesside, Hartlepool and Darlington region has always produced a healthy start-up ecosystem, but for a number of reasons we don’t have a large number of mid/large businesses.
I really believe that we lack inspiration and inspirational stories that go on to act as a push lever when it comes to taking risk and leaving the safety of the comfort zone.
It only takes around 30 minutes to complete the application. It is not onerous!
We need to build upon the community that we have in Middlesbrough. We are too small an area to not help each other and provide a leg up when needed.
The DigitalCity SCALE programme works not because of the content per se, it is the community spirit that is built.
These awards will afford us the opportunity to spot collaboration opportunities and will provide a platform for winners to ask for assistance in execution. There is no weakness in asking for help.
We don’t have many investments into our tech companies (I do grant you that this isn’t for all and you should always look at other avenues first).
I believe that this is down to a varying number of factors, but a primary one is we lack the currency and believability that other areas seem to have.
There is an element of truth in people looking down on us – the Tees Tech awards are our chance to push that opinion right back.
Why can’t we create another 20 Visualsofts or TransferGos?