(L - R): Professor Chrisina Jayne, Dean of Teesside University’s School of Computing & Digital Technologies; Professor Paul Croney, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Teesside University; Dean Benson, Founder of Visualsoft.
Matthew Neville

Teesside University receives funding programme from local tech leader

Dean Benson, the founder of e-commerce platform Visualsoft and a Teesside University graduate and governor has made a personal gift of £50k to support future undergraduate students studying Computer Science.

The gift will be used to establish the new Dean Benson Scholarship programme, which will support talented students from across the Tees Valley in taking up a computer science related degree. The first two scholarships will be made available in autumn 2022.

After graduating from Teesside in 1997, Dean Benson went on to found Visualsoft, a market-leading e-commerce platform company based in Stockton-on-Tees with a workforce of 360 and ambitious expansion plans for the next year.

With a company motto to ‘Think Bigger’, Visualsoft has become well known in the region for its entrepreneurial drive and forward-thinking approach to corporate culture and flexible working, with additional offices now located further afield in Newcastle and Manchester, along with an active presence in Dubai.

Despite the company’s geographic expansion, Dean’s personal passion remains focused on his roots in Teesside, where he has already made efforts to tackle ‘digital inequality’ within the region through a £20k contribution to a campaign providing IT equipment for local children during the pandemic.

Dean said: “I’m delighted to have the opportunity to work closely with the amazing team at Teesside University to help bring this initiative and scholarship to fruition. My life has been spent in Teesside and in Tech, so I’m excited to have the opportunity to do something really tangible to support our next generation of tech leaders - our future.”

The Dean Benson Scholarship marks the first to be launched within the Teesside Transformation Fund, the University’s flagship initiative designed to break down barriers and to empower more individuals to access education, seize opportunities, and to reach their full potential.

With an existing investment of £2m per year in scholarship support from the University itself, the ambition now is to grow this fund with further support from alumni, foundations, and corporate partners to leverage higher impact for the region in the years to come.

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