New drive to boost digital start-ups

Head of Tech North Claire Braithwaite launches Northern Stars with a competition to find the 10 best digital start-ups in the region.
Head of Tech North Claire Braithwaite launches Northern Stars with a competition to find the 10 best digital start-ups in the region.
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A drive to find the region’s brightest digital talent has been launched as part of a push to boost the North’s economy.

The Northern Stars initiative was unveiled by Tech North with a competition to find 10 of the most inspiring digital start-ups. The winners will receive mentoring and meet investors.

Northern Stars was announced in Leeds at an event that brought together companies, investors and local government to discuss opportunities and challenges.

It will also feature events, missions and networking for new firms.

Claire Braithwaite, head of Tech North, said it was clear a campaign on several fronts was needed.

“I’ve met hundreds of people including founders, investors and local government representatives and we’ve pulled together a strategy on how we can accelerate the growth of digital businesses.”

Northern Stars will run events across the North throughout autumn.

Former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced Tech North in Sheffield in October 2014.

It has £2m annual funding from government and aims to develop peer-to-peer networks across the region and showcase digital entrepreneurs.

Its goals include raising the profile of the North’s start-ups and presenting a strong proposition for investors.

Ms Braithwaite said the region already had strengths in e-commerce, data analytics, data management, health tech and gaming.

Bringing people together was the key to developing the digital economy further, she added.

“Angel networks are not terribly well developed and one of the main challenges investors have if they’re looking for businesses in the North is that they can’t see them.

“Northern Stars is part of that jigsaw puzzle on how we can start to develop our northern digital eco-system.

“It’s about how we start bringing together, and connecting, networks of tech founders.”

Details of how companies can enter Northern Stars are at www.technorthhq.com/northernstars#apply