DigitalCity, a relatively unknown tech cluster in North East England, today claimed that it has been one of the main drivers behind Teeside’s growing digital econonmy, which is now valued at £174 million.
The DigitalCity initiative, established in 2004, was set up to in a bid to capitalise on the talents of Teeside University computing students and create a supercluster based on digital technologies, digital media and other creative sectors.
Today it claims to have helped 250 graduates to establish 216 companies and create 389 new jobs.
Those behind the iniative also believe they’ve played a key role in rejuvenating businesses, buildings and stimulating employment over the past decade.
Indeed, the Middlesbrough and Stockton area is now ranked at number 16 on the National Institute of Economic and Social Research’s digital hotspots list, ahead of the likes of Manchester.
David Jeffries, head of DigitalCity, said: “DigitalCity was created to capitalise on Teesside University’s expertise in the technology sector 10 years ago by giving a framework of support for digital start-ups and entrepreneurs.
“Long before boot camps and accelerators were well-known DigitalCity fellowships gave enterprising graduates access to world-class mentors and facilities.
“We’ve seen over the past 10 years DigitalCity grow from an idea into a project that is making a massive difference to the economy of the Tees Valley and the North East region as a whole."
Jeffries claims that DigitalCity companies are developing cutting edge technologies in everything from medicine to gaming.
Indeed, the region is home to award-winning companies such as games studios Double Eleven and Coatsink Software and digital companies such as Sound Training for Reading, that can improve a child’s reading age by two years in six weeks and Transfer Go, which last year had a £12m turnover.
Other companies such as Spearhead Interactive are using gaming technology and virtual reality equipment to help train off shore engineers and soldiers.
DigitalCity also attributes some of the success of the area to a co-working space in Middlesborough, called Boho One, which was established to offer start-ups a social space, affordable rents and a package of support to aid their transition into the business world.