When I was asked if I would be interested in meeting with some representatives from the Department for International Trade, I had to give it a bit of thought. My focus with CyberNorth has been on supporting sector growth regionally and nationally. Internationally has been a step too far for me. In the end though I thought why not?
Earlier in the month Invest Newcastle and Newcastle City Council hosted a visit to the city from Department for International Trade representatives based in Denmark and Sweden. The visit was part of a Smart City showcase, in which the DIT representatives are visiting the UK’s smartest cities to learn about leading activity in this space and gauge opportunities for both trade and investment between the cities and the Scandinavian markets. That’s what they said at least.
Part of the visit was also to assess opportunities for engagement in a ‘Future Cities’ event being held in Scandinavia in the Autumn. What made my ears pricked up was that the DIT representatives were particularly interested in the Cyber opportunity from both the trade and investment angle.
We need more of this in the region and it was great that the DIT were making the effort. It was also nice to be asked and so I invited a couple for businesses to join me, both innovators yet at different ends of the spectrum. One is working in security in quantum computing while the other is developing tools to make compliance much easier.
I must admit I as expecting a more formal event, with presentations and an opportunity to ask questions. Instead it was a gathering around lunch with the opportunity to meet the representatives, ask questions and make sure that they went away with a great impression of what is happening up here.
Will we hear any more about the event in the autumn? I hope so but either way, at least the department knows who we are and we have a lot to offer.