By Brigette Currin 5 minute read

TechEast is the premier support organisation for digital businesses in the East of England. As well as providing practical business support to our members, our mission also includes lobbying policymakers to implement positive changes for the region. Our manifesto aligns with the government’s Industrial Strategy, and progress is positive. The annual Tech Nation Report demonstrates year-on-year growth for the region, and new research this month indicates that the number of tech startups created in the region is up 46% from last year.

While positive, these changes aren’t enough for us. We want to place East Anglia among the UK’s top five tech hubs by 2020, with 5,000 additional jobs and an extra £650m of economic growth. To help make this goal possible, we’re constantly striving to do for more for the region, and our community of members.

Here are our plans for driving change in the region and helping our members to grow their businesses ….

Sign up to TechEast to join the Tech Community.  Totally free of charge, this option allows anyone and everyone to access some of the great TechEast benefits:

  • Monthly roundup of regional tech news, including our updates for UK Tech News, straight to your inbox
  • Early invitation to our regular programme of support events, focusing on education, up-skilling, and talent

Opportunities to Network with the region’s brightest tech businesses

Based on member feedback, we’ve increased the amount of business exposure we offer TechEast members.

We regularly feature TechEast members in our monthly news roundups for UKTN, sharing their developments with an audience of 60,000 readers. Members featured so far include ubisend and Step Into Tech.

We also profile our members on the TechEast blog and newsletter, promoting their businesses to our engaged community.

One TechEast member who recently took part in a member spotlight interview is Mark Donaldson, CEO of Cascade BI. Here’s what Mark had to say about the support TechEast has provided Cascade:

“TechEast has allowed us to both engage with the local tech sector, be a part of a community and help raise our profile amongst the tech, entrepreneur and investor clusters. We make use of the facilities in London and Cambridge as we bring together our Board and Advisors from all over the UK. TechEast is a great enabler and we look forward to working with the team as we grow.”

Of course, we haven’t completely changed our membership offers. TechEast members can still benefit from the ‘old favourites’, including discounts on business support from our Corporate Affinity Partners, one-on-one business advice surgeries, and opportunities for business development.

Forging tech connections 

We know that one of the most popular TechEast perks is our packed calendar of tech events. This year, we’re striving to outdo ourselves with even more member events planned already.

On 20 April, we’re hosting our rescheduled Innovate UK event at Adastral Park in Martlesham. This all-day event is co-hosted by BT, and will look at the digital future of business, as well as providing practical advice on attracting funding.

Another event at Adastral Park we’re proud to be supporting is the Google I/O livestream on . Hosted by TechEast member Coderus and sponsored by us, this event will feature demos and keynotes, streamed straight from Google’s Mountain View campus.

As usual, we’ll also be supporting this year’s Sync the City hackathon in November. Although details are not yet finalised, you can expect to see collaboration, startup pitch battles, and entrepreneurial spirit.

Here’s what Kris West of Added Intelligence had to say about our events:

“TechEast are at the heart of business networking across the eastern region and through their events and support we’ve rapidly made a number of key contacts with other firms, potential investors and angel networks. We look forward to more of the same!”

Going the extra mile

As well as all the usual perks you’d expect from a membership organisation, we’re also putting big plans in place this year to promote the region’s tech profile.

In November 2017, the New Anglia LEP created a plan to increase the region’s skills and talent pipeline to keep up with our growing tech sector. As the leading tech employer group in the region, our plans for this year include making sure this strategy is actioned.

In the next month, we’ll be leading a meeting of the Digital Skills Taskforce to implement next steps in our region’s talent plan. Watch this space for more details!

To ensure our board has the right talent to drive our mission, we have just recruited two new figures to TechEast. Hayley Johnson, COO of Epos Now, joined our board back in January. Hayley has over five years’ experience at Epos Now, but explains she isn’t a “natural techie”. She knows that a move into tech can seem daunting, so she wants to help make the region’s tech sector more accessible and diverse.

More recently, BT’s Lisa Perkins became the third woman to join the TechEast board of Directors. As Director of Strategic Research and Innovation at BT, Lisa is well-placed to bring drive and a goal-focused approach to TechEast. Like all of us, Lisa is incredibly passionate about East Anglia’s tech scene and helping our local businesses overcome challenges.