OPPORTUNITIES for the region’s growing tech sector were the focus of the north east’s biggest tech conference.

The scale of those opportunities was laid bare on the second day of the two-day Dynamo 22 conference when Sage’s Product Manager Steve Watmore told delegates there was the potential of £232bn revenue growth from tech in the UK economy. He added 92 per cent of UK companies and organisations said technology was critical to their survival – and the region was a national leader with a worldwide reputation in tech.

Dynamo 22, supported by headline sponsor Sage, was held across two half days – a virtual event on Tuesday (June 21) and in-person gathering at Northumbria University yesterday (Wednesday, June 22).

Highlights across the two days included a keynote speech from Sir Jim Mackey, Chief Executive of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust; the presentation of findings from the Think North East survey into how the sector approaches equality, diversity and inclusion, and a well-attended session looking at recruitment in the sector and how companies and education providers need to work together to provide the next generation of talent.

Hebburn-born Sir Jim’s keynote speech came at the beginning of day two and he talked about tech opportunities in healthcare as well as his personal experiences leading an NHS Trust during the Covid pandemic. He said the importance of tech and data came to the fore as the NHS responded to the challenges of Covid. He praised local tech companies involved in the local and national response and said there had been a shift within the NHS to include more innovative SMEs in its work.

Earlier, event host Susan Bell had introduced Steve Watmore and then Dynamo Chair Charlie Hoult and Sunderland Software City CEO David Dunn. Charlie and David spoke about the recent merger between their respective organisations and how it has already given the sector a louder and more effective voice regionally and nationally.

Speaking after the conference, Charlie Hoult said: “What struck me listening to our speakers and the buzz while networking is the scale of opportunities our sector can embrace. It’s so exciting – there’s the potential for serious growth in every direction, in every area.

“This growth means bumper jobs for the region so it’s going to be important that parents and schools point their students to tech careers.

“Dynamo 22 was a reminder of the strength and ambition of our regional tech sector and the willingness to work together for the benefit of local companies and organisations, our sector as a whole and the wider region.

“Cate Kalson, Head of People at Opencast, put it beautifully when she was talking in our Helping Businesses Find the People They Need session: ‘We can all keep putting our individual fishing rods into the sea, or we can all work to build a big net.’

“Working together we can maximise the massive opportunities in front of us.”

Hundreds of delegates attended Dynamo 22 from the region’s leading and growing tech and software companies, local councils, specialist professional services, universities and colleges, and other related industries.

The conference comprised of plenary and breakout sessions, panel discussions, guest speakers, networking and an immersive tech showcase and was supported by Event Partners Mediaworks and tombola; Event Supporters, Nomad Digital and UK Tech Cluster Group; Regional Engagement Partners, Sunderland City Council and Gateshead Council, and lunch partner Blusky.

Some of the dozens of companies and organisations who presented included Sage, Mediaworks, Gateshead College, Newcastle College, Opencast Software, Serios Group, Nebula Labs, DWP, North of Tyne Combined Authority, Kielder Observatory and Northumbria University.

Themes explored across the two days included: health tech, GovTech, VR, digital construction, cyber security, FinTech, digital entertainment and gaming, digital infrastructure, tech for good, sustainability and automation.

Dynamo North East is a business-led organisation with the core mission of ‘Growing the North East tech economy through collaboration, innovation, skills and noise.’  With more than 160 members, it is made up of tech organisations, large corporate employers in the region, consultants, technology hubs, education providers, local government and suppliers to the industry.