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Nick Clegg launches TechNorth to put northern startups on the map

Nick Clegg today launched TechNorth, a new initiative that hopes to do for the north what Tech City UK has done for London.

When it comes to British tech, much of the attention has always been focused on London and Tech City, but this new project hopes to put the north firmly on everyone’s map.

TechNorth will be part of Tech City UK and aims to promote and bring in foreign direct investment to the growing tech clusters around Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool, Newcastle, Sunderland and the Tees Valley.

‘Northern tech hub’

At the launch, Clegg emphasised that the new project is in response to the “clear need for us to seize an opportunity to capitalise on existing tech talent by creating a northern tech hub”.

He believes that the newly founded hub could rival those of Berlin, New York, or Shanghai.

Clegg revealed that the organisation will look into “the case for investment in digital skills to ensure these companies have a local pool of talented people and have access to the finance they need to grow”.

TechNorth also hopes to promote cooperation between businesses in the area so that the full potential of the north’s cluster can be unlocked.

The new Tech City

Baroness Joanna Shields, chair of Tech City UK, believes that the initiative can transform the whole of the UK into a “global success story”.

Clegg’s announcement comes four years after Tech City UK (then Tech City Investment Organisation) was founded to drive foreign investment into east London’s tech cluster.

Initially focused on London, the organisation now has a remit that covers all of the UK.

In the past few months, it has made a point of highlighting the tech clusters all across the UK through its Tech City Cluster Alliance initiative.