Self-promotion key to boosting Yorkshire tech scene
Yorkshire’s tech start-ups must promote themselves as much as those in Manchester, according to a key figure at Tech North.
Kane Fulton is community engagement manager at the government-backed body formed three years ago to promote the digital ecosystem and attract investment and talent to the North of England.
“Yorkshire’s tech scene is more laid back than London’s,” he said.
“This is something of a double-edged sword – where founders in the capital can perhaps go overboard on the self-promotion front, driven by a need to stand out in a packed scene, Yorkshire’s start-ups tend to be somewhat introverted and reluctant to sell themselves.
“Many of them should be shouting from the rooftops about the brilliant work they’re doing – something that our friends across the Pennines [in Manchester] have mastered in recent years. But we’re getting better.
“Also, the more intimate nature of Yorkshire’s tech scene means that people are less guarded up here, which makes them more open to collaboration.
“I’ve seen tight bonds forged between start-up founders, and a particular willingness from corporates to engage.”
Tech North runs the Northern Stars pitch competition, which shines a light on the best early-stage start-ups in the region, and also raises the tech sector’s profile through the Tech Nation report.
The other areas of its focus are investment, through the Tech North Angel Network and a proposed co-investment fund; skills, through the Northern Voices programme for female event speakers and its UpSkill programme; ecosystem, through its Founders' Network events; identifying what is needed, such as co-working spaces and accelerators; and partnerships, securing private sector sponsorship for Tech North events and programmes.
“If start-ups are aeroplanes looking to take off, our job is to clear any obstacles on their metaphorical runway,” added Fulton.
“There are many problems that could keep a start-up founder up at night so the challenge is identifying where we can make the most impact through our programmes and initiatives.”
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