Five years ago today I featured in the North East Times magazine when I worked as Chief Technology and Information Officer at Sage.
I rediscovered this article yesterday when I was cleaning up my PC and spent a little time reflecting on some of the comments:
“In five years’ time I would like to look back and see how North East businesses have continued to grow, prosper and create jobs for our young people.”
So how have we done? Over the past 5 years the North East + Tees Valley digital tech sector has grown by around 800 new companies and we’ve seen some notable growth in scaleup businesses. As a result somewhere in the region of 4000-5000 new jobs have been created. The majority of these jobs will have been filled by people new to the digital tech sector, and a good proportion of these by young people. This is excellent progress that’s further reinforced by the much quoted statistic that the North East has the fastest growing digital tech sector outside of London. All in all great progress and news for our region.
The other comment that jumped out was:
“I’d tell my 18 year old self that nothing is impossible, so set your sights high, work hard, look for opportunities and grab hold of them. Also listen to what people tell you, and learn from every opportunity that is given to you.”
All of this still holds true with one addition, I’d also tell myself not to let anyone tell you you’re not good enough, with the right ambition, personal development and confidence, you can successfully apply yourself to anything.
And looking forwards to the next 5 years, I’m still as passionate about this statement:
“I would like to see the region recognised as a centre of excellence for Information Technology”
We’re not there yet, but momentum is clearly visible and it’s well within our gift. If we continue to be ambitious, develop the best digital tech ecosystem, train enough people with the right skills, unlock capital investment, and unilaterally collaborate like never before, then we will significantly accelerate growth of the sector, create more new digital tech companies, and see the ones we already have flourish to create sustainable and prosperous careers for future generations. This will further enhance our credentials as a digital technology centre of excellence and put our region on the global map.
Oh, and I still would have liked to be an Astronaut … but didn’t every young person inspired by watching Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon?