Startups deliver £174m boost to Teesside's digital economy

The Tees Valley area of the UK now has an annual digital economy worth £174m, with £62m from Middlesbrough alone

The Tees Valley area of the UK now has an annual digital economy worth £174m, with £62m from Middlesbrough alone.

The North East area of England has seen regeneration over the past 10 years, since DigitalCity was launched on 8 May 2004.

DigitalCity was launched as Teesside’s digital supercluster of startups, with the aim of creating a “vibrant, successful and self-sustaining supercluster based on the digital technologies, digital media and creative sectors and their enabling capabilities”.

Over the past decade, Tees Valley has made a large impact on the regional economy by rejuvenating business and buildings, as well as stimulating employment.

Both Middlesbrough and Stockton are ranked at number 16 in a list of the UK’s digital hotspots by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, and it is the only hotspot north of Birmingham.

Tees Valley startup companies

Startups such as Animmersion developed a Pain Garden, with Teesside University professor Denis Martin and Arthritis UK. The product provides sufferers of severe pain a new way of describing the impact of pain on their physical and emotional wellbeing.

Other companies such as Spearhead Interactive are using gaming technology and virtual reality equipment to help train offshore engineers and soldiers.

The DigitalCity initiative was led by Teesside University, which has a world-class reputation for computing and digital skills. The Boho One building in Middlesbrough was established to offer affordable working and social spaces for startup companies.

“DigitalCity was created 10 years ago to capitalise on Teesside University’s expertise in the technology sector by giving a framework of support for digital startups and entrepreneurs,” said David Jeffries, head of DigitalCity. “Long before boot camps and accelerators were well-known, DigitalCity fellowships gave enterprising graduates access to world-class mentors and facilities.

“DigitalCity companies are developing cutting-edge technologies used in medicine to save lives; they are creating independent games studios with an international reputation and supporting hundreds of jobs regionally."

Jeffries said DigitalCity has plans to grow even further. 

“Hopefully the next 10 years will see DigitalCity’s reputation continue to grow. The first students involved with DigitalCity are already today’s digital leaders, and that influence is continuing to spread out and grow globally,” he said.

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