THIS year’s Dynamites – the region’s tech awards – will go-ahead as a virtual event.

The awards, organised by north east tech network Dynamo and now in their seventh year, are open for entry. The Dynamites Awards shine a spotlight on successful regional tech companies, organisations and departments and recognise the talent within the north-east digital/IT sector.

This year’s awards ceremony will take place online on Wednesday, October 14, and the event will be free to attend.

Dynamo Chair, Charlie Hoult, said: “In the light of our tech sector’s remarkable regional and national contribution to the fight against COVID-19, this year’s awards are particularly important. Not only were several of our companies actively involved in the fight against the virus, as a sector we have weathered the storm so far very well, with many companies continuing to grow in terms of clients and employees throughout the crisis.

“The North East’s tech sector has really stepped up to the mark and we would love Dynamites to reflect that this year. If you have developed and delivered a new innovation, project or initiative in response to COVID-19 we would encourage you to enter into the relevant category and so your work receives the attention it truly deserves.

“So it’s more important than ever to celebrate the amazing success stories of the North East’s tech superstars. Despite it being a virtual event, there’ll be the usual fun and games, the same networking opportunities, and you can still wear black tie and formal wear!

“We’re hoping by mid October we’ll be able to gather in small groups, so it could be that people might want to gather in offices to participate in proceedings and have a series of mini-parties all over the region – that would be Dynamite!

“To help replicate the buzz of the annual awards, and to help the most vulnerable in our communities, we’ve worked with our friends at Food and Drink North East (FADNE) to put together Dynamites Celebration Packs, which will have all the ingredients you need for a magical evening,” he added.

The Celebration Packs, available for £40 plus VAT per pack, will be delivered to your address and include a selection of sweet and savoury treats – and a tipple or two. The price includes the party pack, a contribution to FADNE’s Local Heroes initiative, and a small contribution to Dynamo’s running costs.

FADNE’S Local Heroes project is an online food market that promotes, sells and delivers high-quality local food and drink across our region. Each Local Heroes order include a 10-15% ‘community premium’ which pays for free boxes and meals for the most vulnerable in our communities.

The categories for Dynamites 20 are:

·      Skills Developer (sponsored by NHS Business Service Authority)

·      Growth Explosion

·      International Success Story

·      Rising Star

·      Project of the Year (Corporate)

·      Project of the Year (Not for Profit / Public Sector)

·      Innovator of the Year

·      Tech for Good

·      Diversity & Inclusion

·      Best use of Data – NEW FOR 2020

·      Outstanding Achievement

Charlie added: “We like to keep the awards fresh and relevant so we’ve added the Best Use of Data category. Our new award will recognise innovation rooted in data-driven insight.”

Individuals and companies can enter themselves, nominate a client, partner, employee or supplier. Last year competition was fierce, so the more detail you can provide judges with, in terms of facts and figures, proof of impact or returns, the better.

This year’s prestigious judging panel will be led by Prof Alastair Irons, Academic Dean, University of Sunderland. Other judges include: Mark Thompson – Director, Consulting Services, CGI; Jon Ridley – Assistant Principal, Newcastle College; Alison Cowie – Editor, North East Times; Usman Shahid – Managing Consultant, Harvey Nash; Graham Jordan – Partnership Analyst, North Eastern ICT Partnership; Ian Brimer – Global Head of Business Systems, Nomad Digital and Michael Hall – CFO, Cognassit; Charlie MacDowall – Digital Client Relationship Manager, Northumbria University, and Melissa Beckett – Chief Marketing Office, Kani Payments.

Prof Irons said: “I am honoured and privileged to be invited to be Chair of the judging panel for Dynamites 2020. The Dynamites Awards have become a staple event in the north east calendar. The awards are highly regarded and highly sought after. The quality of the competition, and the difficulty in judging winners, reflects the tech sector in the North East.”

* For more information about the awards, or to book tickets, go to www.dynamonortheast.co.uk. There are sponsorship opportunities available, contact Claire Nicholson clare.nichols@dynamonortheast.co.uk / 07748 597837 for details.