This year’s Dynamites awards was a little easier for me in some ways than last. It was the fourth time that we have come together to celebrate the best of the tech industry across the North East region. Last year, as chair of the judges it was part of my job to stand up on stage to open and close the event. It was a great experience but I was happy this year to be an onlooker, hosting a table instead.
The awards ceremony is one of Dynamo North East’s flagship events, the other being the conference which is held in the spring. They are going from strength to strength. Last year was our best ever with just under 370 attendees yet this year we surpassed that number and filled the banqueting hall at Newcastle Civic Centre. Apparently we even had to turn people away.
Not only was the attendance up but so was the number of entries for the awards, with over sixty submissions received this year. Being on the judging panel I was amazed, as were my colleagues, at the quality and standard that was presented. The tech industry in the region is alive, well and thriving.
Yet it was a bittersweet evening when it came round to the presentations. Two projects that I had been closely involved in prior to my recent change in roles won awards. Digital Durham, which has seen the implementation of superfast broadband to over 97% of the population of ten local authorities, won the public sector / academic project of the year. It won the first ever Dynamite award back in 2014 and is one of two organisations to have won twice. (Paul Lancaster is the other.) The second award, a special Social Tech Project of the Year went to Northumbria University for its Executive Programme for Women in IT. This was set up when I was the chair of North Eastern ICT Managers group and I was a mentor to a couple of the delegates.
As the evening showed, the North East has a lot to be proud of when it comes to its tech industry, yet at times it is a well kept secret. We need to be far better at telling the world of our successes. As Stuart Lynn said, chair of this year’s judges and former Chief Technical Officer at Sage, all of us need to shout about it from the rooftops.
For tech, the North East is the place to be.