A NEW Government agency to market the North as global centre for digital businesses will be launched by Nick Clegg today.
TechNorth will aim to help digital businesses in Leeds, Sheffield and other northern cities work together and promote the North as place where hi-tech businesses across the world should invest.
The Deputy Prime Minister is set to the launch the agency at an event in Yorkshire later today.
The Sheffield Hallam MP said: “We’ve listened to local business leaders and there is a clear need for us to seize an opportunity to capitalise on existing tech talent by creating a Northern Tech Hub to rival Berlin, New York, or Shanghai.
“My ambition, over time, is to double the number of tech jobs in the North, creating a stronger economy.
“To put this in context – it is estimated there are about 200,000 ICT jobs in the region currently.
“Time is of the essence, so I’m in Sheffield today to bring creative minds from across the North together so that we can grow this from an idea into reality.”
Mr Clegg will say that it is difficult for small clusters of digital businesses in the North to make themselves heard on the global stage but by building links they could have an international impact.
He hopes that TechNorth will have a similar impact TechCity has had on promoting East London as a centre for digital businesses.
It is estimated there are around 6,000 digital and creative businesses employing more than 35,000 people in Leeds while in Sheffield it is thought around two in every five jobs are in digital technology firms.
TechNorth is the first idea to be developed from Mr Clegg’s Northern Futures initiative asking people for ideas on how cities in the North can work better together to compete globally.
A Northern Futures conference will be held in Leeds next month.