Tech City UK strengthens northern team

Tech North makes two appointments to drive digital economy in the north of England

Tech City UK has appointed Claire Braithwaite as the new head of TechNorth and Herb Kim as the executive chair of the TechNorth advisory board.

TechNorth is part of the Tech City network and aims to support startups in the north of England, in addition to developing the region’s digital economy through attracting more talent, entrepreneurs and investment to cities such as Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and Sunderland.

The newly formed TechNorth team will initially be co-located in Manchester and Newcastle. Braithwaite will start her role on 27 April 2015 and Kim will start his with immediate effect.

Braithwaite is currently the chief financial and operations officer at finance advisory firm Clearly So. Her new role will include leading the TechNorth initiative and recruiting a full team.

“Over 170,000 people are employed in digital businesses in the developing tech clusters of Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds, Hull, Newcastle and Sunderland alone. TechNorth will shine a light on digital businesses across this dynamic region of the UK and aims to help in creating an optimum set of conditions for digital businesses to thrive in," said Braithwaite.

“I’m looking forward to showing the world the great entrepreneurial talent and digital business expertise the north has to offer.”

Kim is the founder and CEO of Thinking Digital, based in Newcastle. He also serves as a non-executive board director for Tech City UK.

“I’m honoured and excited to have the opportunity to support the establishment and success of the TechNorth initiative," said Kim. "This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase and continue to grow our achievements in digital technology from Newcastle to Sheffield and Liverpool to Hull.

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“I look forward to working closely with Claire Braithwaite to make TechNorth a great asset for northern England.”

Tech City UK CEO Gerard Grech said he is “delighted to have strong leadership at the helm”.

“Claire’s digital business acumen and Herb’s strategic and international experience will create an effective team. Both will contribute to the success of the northern powerhouse and the understanding of the needs and opportunities for digital entrepreneurs across the region.”

Commenting on the two appointments, prime minister David Cameron said: “The Tech Nation report demonstrates the great innovation and thriving entrepreneurial spirit that is driving the sector forward across the country. Backing the industries of the future is a key part of our long-term economic plan to support business, create more jobs and build a more resilient economy. 

“The north is growing and by ensuring we foster the right conditions for digital business growth, we can go even further in solidifying the position of the entire UK as a global hub of technology excellence."

Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said TechNorth will help business boom in the north, while minister of state for the digital economy Ed Vaizey said the announcement is an “exciting opportunity to build on the successes of Tech City UK, and to continue to develop the north’s leading digital clusters”.

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