John Anderson CBE

Member Article

Connecting the NE through digital connectivity is crucial for business

I welcome last week’s call from the North East Chamber of Commerce (NECC) for improvements to be made to digital connections to and from the region to support private sector growth.

In 2011, it would be sheer insanity to attempt to operate a small business in the technology sector (and increasingly in any sector) without the availability of high-speed broadband. These networks are indeed as important as roads, airports and railways were during the 20th century.

Research by e-Skills has shown that technology use could increase the North East GVA by 3.8% over the next 5 years, yet (and I find this hard to believe) 25% of businesses in the region currently do not use the internet.

The NECC is calling for the implementation of policy at a local level to address this, which is positive. However, for a model of success they need look no further than the North East BIC.

We have provided an IT infrastructure which was way ahead of its time when we opened in 1994, and this has constantly evolved since then, putting our tenants one step ahead and plugging them into international networks since the early days of the world wide web. This has led to the development of many notable North East businesses, including Paul Callaghan’s Leighton Group.

In 2011 our commitment to connectivity is no more evident than in our new Jupiter Centre, built specifically to house growing software companies with state-of-the art IT and communications facilities.

Mark Stephenson, policy adviser at NECC says that businesses of all types rely on digital infrastructure, and we must ensure that we have the right level of investment in this to allow our businesses to develop and grow. He’s right: The North East BIC is a living, breathing example of this process and we’ve seen the successful results on site every day for the past seventeen years.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by John Anderson CBE .

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