L to R: Doug Jones, Pete Daykin, Michael Dunn, Ruth Lopardo and Newcastle Startup Week leader Paul L

North East digital diary: Let’s talk about scaling and collaborating

Editor Jamie Hardesty recounts discussions of scaling a tech business explored on Day 4 of Newcastle Startup Week before considering the values of North East collaboration in the sector, in the latest North East digital diary.

After a one day hiatus from Newcastle Startup Week to attend Thinking Digital, I returned to the week long event which took place at a packed Live Theatre yesterday.

Growing & Scaling was the theme of the day, where none other than Live Theatre Chief Executive Jim Beirne was on hand to explain how the company itself had scaled to become an internationally-renowned writing production theatre.

A range of experts in marketing, sales, PR, recruitment, personal development, leadership and mindset followed Mr Beirne, a part of the week designed to help a business owner advance to the next level in growth after starting.

After studying the Scaleup Report for some time now and forever-keeping a close eye on the city’s digital community, Day 4 featured a session which I’d actually highlighted at the start of the week as an event I couldn’t miss.

A panel, hosted by the brilliant Doug Jones of Tech North, and made up of Michael Dunn (MD,Gospelware), Pete Daykin (MD, Daykin & Storey) and Ruth Lopardo (of LoveItLoveItLoveIt), explored opportunities & challenges which exist in North East digital - themes resonating with my own investigations currently.

Each panellist shared their own experiences, with much of the session being centred around the skills shortage faced by the North East and in turn, how growing digital companies recruit specialist talent.

Gospelware, for instance, have their own bespoke apprenticeship program effective in upskilling staff themselves whilst Michael shared the benefits of taking in second year undergraduates who, in the right situation, can really help to boost business.

‘Technology is now ahead of academia’, remarked Pete Daykin, when considering the issue. With tech advancements happening all the time, academia simply can’t keep up. Finding and training the right people befitting of your company culture is for the most part a lengthy process whereas cost and time efficient innovations in the industry happen every day.

Yet the panel didn’t say the region is without skilled workers, rather that there are a finite amount of them which leaves multiple firms fighting over the same talent - a situation which is actually helped a lot by ‘London returners’ coming back to the city to start families after building up their skills elsewhere.

Interestingly Pete mentioned collaboration amongst ‘the great things which we have embedded into our culture in the North East’. Collaboration in the industry is something which I’m currently working on.

Therefore, I ask of you dear reader, what your take is on the notion.

Get involved

What does collaboration in North East digital mean to you? I want to garner its values and people’s attitudes towards the term. Why should we collaborate? Do you believe collaboration betters your business or in fact, is the notion more of a fallacy than a practical tool to help you advance?

To contribute and feature in the series, feel free to comment on my latest LinkedIn post or email me, as ever, at jamie.hardesty@bdaily.co.uk.

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