Research carried out by Generator confirms North East creative and digital sector is growing fast.

Member Article

North East Digital Sector Stands Up To Be Counted

Research carried out by Generator confirms the North East creative and digital sector is growing fast but is still scared of being left behind.

Generator, the development agency for the North East Creative and Digital industries, has released its findings from a recent survey of the sector.

Carried out by Northumbria University’s, Centre for Public Policy for Generator, the research exercise was commissioned to identify the state of the commercial and creative, digital industries in the North East and what issues they are facing in 2016.

The research supports the positive findings in this week’s Tech Nation report with more than two-thirds (67%) of respondents reporting either increased or considerably increased sales in the preceding year; while more than three-quarters (77%) of respondents anticipated growth in the year ahead.

Job creation is also firmly on the agenda with well over half (59%) of respondents, indicating that additional staff would be required in the coming financial year.

In addition, growing demand from new and emerging markets is a positive trend, with slightly less than half of those surveyed (49%) relying on sales being rooted in North East markets and with increasing international trade proving common.

However, attracting talent was cited as a big issue facing the sector, with the third most frequently cited barrier to growth and development over the next five years being limited ability to recruit and retain talented individuals (37%).

The research findings also highlighted digital companies still face barriers to growth and development. Limited access to finance or other investment, for example, was identified as the most significant barriers for creative digital businesses in the region to harness their potential.

One of the biggest challenges to the sector however is its voice - 45% of respondents to the Digital Union survey stated a limited recognition of commercial and creative, digital industries amongst policy makers. This concern was the second most frequently cited barrier to growth and development.

Jim Mawdsley, CEO of Generator and its network for the sector, Digital Union, said: “The abolition of the Regional Development Agencies in July 2010, in particular, was felt to have created something of a ‘strategic vacuum’ for the commercial creative industries.

“It’s clear as a region we need to put the creative digital sector right up there on our economic narrative or we face being overlooked, both with competition from other cities like Manchester, as well as from growing numbers of international competitors.

“Thankfully we have developed a collaborative approach in the region and along with Tech North, Sunderland Software City and other regional organisations we are harnessing that voice and doing something positive to put the sector on the UK map.

“Digital companies are the engine behind innovation in every single economic sector – creative thinking and digital knowledge make every business more innovative, and therefore competitive. That is our net worth as a community and what we need to shout about collectively as we set out our priorities for the region’s economic future.”

Generator is known for being the leading music development agency in the UK, with a first-class national reputation for excellence in innovative business and artist development.

It has recently expanded its remit into the wider commercial creative industries and in particular the Creative Digital sector with its takeover of the North East Digital network, Digital Union and is currently preparing a business case for a £1.7 million package of support to be delivered between January 2016 and December 2018 to make it the go-to support organisation for the Creative and Digital industries in the North East.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Jane Crosby .

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