Downing Street briefed on Sunderland’s software industry plans

Software City chief executive David Dunn

Software City chief executive David Dunn

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SUNDERLAND Software City’s ambitious plans to boost the North East software industry have been laid out in 10 Downing Street.

Chief executive David Dunn presented the organisation’s 2020 strategy at the first UK Tech and Business Cluster Summit, which brought together leaders and representatives from around the country to discuss the challenges facing the industry, and ways to encourage greater cooperation.

Chaired by Tech City chief executive Joanna Shields, the UK’s Business Ambassador for Digital Industries, and the Prime Minister’s business advisor Tim Luke, the seminar was attended by representatives from other key UK technology centres, including London, Bristol and Manchester.

Sunderland Software City aims to establish an internationally-recognised software industry centred on Wearside and benefitting the whole North East over the next seven years, making the region home to more than 2,000 software companies, employing more than 15,000 people.

“The North East already boasts an impressive reputation as a location of choice for international software businesses,” said David Dunn.

“Since 2009, Sunderland Software City has helped to grow the region’s software industry, providing support to help existing businesses grow and innovate and creating the right environment to help more businesses to start-up and trade across international markets.

“In order to build on these achievements, we believe it is vital to establish a clear, long-term vision for the region’s software sector which focuses on its key strengths and addresses the barriers which can inhibit growth.

“The 2020 strategy establishes the foundations of what we envisage will be a strategically important sector for the North East, attracting investment, generating growth and jobs and delivering vast economic benefits for years to come.”

The strategy aims to treble the number of software businesses in Sunderland, creating an additional 300 jobs.

City council leader Coun Paul Watson said: “Sunderland is right at the heart of a region that boasts the biggest cluster of technology companies outside of London, proof that businesses in the sector thrive here.

“The growth the city has seen in the sector to date is an encouraging sign that we’re delivering the right results. The work we have undertaken really is pioneering, and our presence at national showcase events such as this represents an excellent chance for us to share success, learn from others and hopefully build links with key industry players who can help further our vision of being a city that is right at the cutting edge.”

James Ramsbotham, chief executive of the North East Chamber of Commerce said: “Sunderland Software City has broken new ground in recent years and continues to help nurture and develop a sector that is becoming increasingly important to the North East economy.

“This strategy will help maximise its unique offer and hopefully benefit the North East enormously in years to come.”