By Daniel Hunter

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has announced the launch of TechNorth, a new tech hub for the North of England.

TechNorth will be part of Tech City UK, set up to co-ordinate the existing digital technology expertise of Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool and the North East tech cluster (Newcastle, Sunderland and the Tees Valley) building on the work of Baroness Shields and the Tech City UK Cluster Alliance. It will do what Tech City UK has done for East London - put TechNorth on the international map.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:

“We’ve listened to local business leaders and there is a clear need for us to seize an opportunity to capitalise on existing tech talent by creating a northern tech hub to rival Berlin, New York, or Shanghai.

“My ambition, over time, is to double the number of tech jobs in the North, creating a stronger economy. To put this in context, it is estimated there are about 200,000 ICT jobs in the region currently.

“Time is of the essence, so I’m in Sheffield today to bring creative minds from across the North together so that we can grow this from an idea into reality.

“As a first step, I am announcing the creation of TechNorth, an extension of Tech City UK, tasked with promoting a world-class tech cluster spanning five cities in the North.”

TechNorth will co-ordinate the many pockets of excellence dotted around the region—including the existing digital technology expertise of Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool and the North East tech cluster. It will do what Tech City UK has done for East London - put it on the international map.

TechNorth will, working through UK Trade and Investment, help to attract inward investors in the tech industry to the North and support existing tech businesses to grow by pooling ideas and resources across local boundaries. Together we can position the North as a place where the digital tech industry thrives.

Plans will involve inspiring a tech-savvy workforce and working with start-ups to help them source the funding capital they need.

It is estimated that collectively, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool and the North East tech cluster have over 20,000 businesses in the tech, media, and telecoms industries. There’s a growing body of evidence which suggests that, to compete with San Francisco, Shanghai, Bangalore, Berlin and London, a cluster needs to reach a point of critical mass. This could be reached by attracting large inward investors which would have a magnetising effect to attract spin off businesses and support supply chains.

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