THE new digital industry centre expected to help create thousands of jobs is up and running in Sunderland.
The Digital Catapult Centre North East & Tees Valley, which has opened at Sunderland Software Centre, will allow creative and technology start-ups and small businesses to develop and show off their ideas and products, as well as build links with larger businesses, universities and the public sector.
Run by a consortium including Sunderland Software City, the North East and Tees Valley Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and Newcastle, Durham, Sunderland and Teesside Universities, it is one of three regional bases which will support the work of the national Digital Catapult, opened in London last year.
Sunderland Software City chief executive David Dunn, said: “Our digital economy is already one of the strongest in the UK.
“Developing a niche specialism around the controlled delivery and security of data for commercial exploration, will open up vast economic opportunities for the digital sector and business as a whole.
“We are delighted to be launching the Digital Catapult Centre North East & Tees Valley, which will provide a thriving, state-of-the-art hub for some of the country’s most innovative digital companies and entrepreneurs, and an exciting programme of projects and innovation calls, events, business development support and corporate supporter opportunities, for businesses from all backgrounds.”
It is expected the centre will help to create at least 40 new software businesses in the region over the next three years, creating 150 new jobs.
North East LEP chairman Paul Woolston, said: “The Digital Catapult Centre North East & Tees Valley is a ground-breaking partnership bringing together, and sharing, expertise between regional LEPs, our region’s five universities and Sunderland Software City, to be at the national and international leading edge in this rapidly-growing sector.
“This centre will provide a hub for innovative problem solving, draw in partnerships, develop networks and build skills.”