A team of digital leaders has been chosen to help put technology at the heart of Tees Valley’s industrial strategy.

Led by DigitalCity, the members of the newly-formed Tees Valley Digital Strategy Board will help to drive forward the region’s technology industries.

Each of the region’s five local authorities has one male and one female representative on the board which will work alongside the Tees Valley Combined Authority to develop policies and initiatives to push the digital agenda within the region.

The board will look at ways to strengthen the digital cluster within the region and develop digital skills.

The Tees Valley already has an outstanding reputation for its tech industries. Middlesbrough and Stockton are ranked at number 16 in a list of the UK’s digital hotspots by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, the only hotspot north of Birmingham.

DigitalCity, which is based at Teesside University, is acknowledged as a major catalyst for economic regeneration in the Tees Valley.

It has already helped create hundreds of new companies, as well as working with existing business to improve their digital skills.

Rob Earnshaw, Director of DigitalCity, said: “There is a fantastic array of talent on the board and I’m really looking forward to working with them all.

“One of the first things we’ll be doing is setting up a series of working groups across the region which will look at topics such as apprenticeships and infrastructure and then report back to the full board.

“We want to create a digital supercluster that is envied by other regions, this way we can drive more digital companies and talent to the area.”

The members of the board are:

  • John Adams, Director of BIM Strategy in Darlington
  • Mark South, Chief Operating Officer games company Double Eleven in Middlesbrough
  • Paul Sheperia, who runs software company Evil Technology in Middlesbrough
  • Niel Bushnell, an animation producer and technical consultant based in Hartlepool
  • Lisa Holt, managing director of Middlesbrough creative agency the Creative Alchemist
  • Helen Kerr, a digital marketer at Redcar-based Inner City Digital
  • Steve Cole, a freelance consultant, based in Billingham
  • Joanna Wake, managing director of RAW Digital in Stockton
  • Natalie Woods, a Teesside University business management student from Middlesbrough who sits on the DigitalCity Student Board
  • Janice Webster, founder of DigitalCity representing Darlington
  • Keith Wilson, Tees Valley combined authority
  • Simon Stobart, Teesside University, Dean of the School of Computing
  • Dan Watson, Digital City Cluster Manager
  • Rob Earnshaw, Director of DigitalCity.

Mark South said: “I want to see more businesses come to the area and ensure they get the necessary support.

“When I set up my first business in 2003, I learnt the hard way. I want to help people overcome those hurdles and be given the best chance to succeed.”

Joanna Wake added: “Here on Teesside we’ve got some amazing companies doing some fantastic things.

“I want to help raise our profile nationally and help attract investment and create more opportunities for young people.”