It’s time to talk tech, say digital leaders

Tees Business Digital Media Pack

The time is right to shout about Teesside’s tech sector. That’s the message put forward by three industry leaders who say shining a spotlight on the sphere will feedback into our region’s economy, especially in terms of job creation and opportunities.

The sector is thriving and yet many names in it fly under the radar – and that should not be the case.

“One of the biggest things we can do here is showcase locally,” said Middlesbrough Digital manager Dan Watson.

“The digital sector is a hidden gem. We really need to shine a spotlight on these industries locally, to show people the opportunities so they don’t have to move out of the region.”

Dan joined David Dixon, from DigitalCity and Teesside University’s digitalisation for growth manager, plus Bob Makin, managing director for Middlesbrough-based game development studio SockMonkey for our weekly Facebook Live Tees Business Leaders interview.

They discussed the issues facing the digital sector on Teesside, its growth and the world leading companies encompassed within it as well as plans to put Middlesbrough on the map as a digital force to be reckoned with.

Also under discussion were the upcoming inaugural Tees Tech Awards. Organised by Tees Business, the awards will take place virtually on the evening of August 20 after Covid-19 forced the postponement of the original ceremony planned for April.

The sector deserves to be in the spotlight, agreed the panel. The names of many tech firms remain unknown to the wider public and yet some of the projects they work on are of international significance – not least the likes of development work on the massive Minecraft gaming phenomenon.

“We all need to get smarter and shout about ourselves,” said David. “As an area we created the modern railways, the match and some of the best buildings in the world and yet we are little Teesside and we don’t shout about it. That needs to change.”

The Tees Tech Awards, he believes, will help raise the profile of the work that goes on to the wider world, not just Teesside.

“We need to understand who these businesses are and celebrate them,” he added.

The panel were asked to name some of the firms they believe are leading the way forward and mentions were given for the likes of Nicander, Ghost Innovations, iTCHYROBOT and Tascomp – type their names into an internet search engine and you will discover the kind of projects they work on, projects that keep our everyday lives and industry moving and help out in schools to name just a few.

SockMonkey Studios, based in the Boho 5 building in Middlesbrough, has worked on major titles in its sector.

“We could happily fly under the radar and keep going but I don’t see how that benefits us as a local area,” said founder Bob.

“We should be shouting about each other and that comes back to feeding the economy.”