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Business & Economy

Major new festival celebrates the region’s tech sector

TechNExt, a major new festival to promote and celebrate the North East’s growing tech sector will take over the region from June 19 – 23 2023.

Organised by regional tech network Dynamo and its partner Sunderland Software City, TechNExt Festival will host events across the North East, with a ‘BIONIC woman’ and a ‘Chief Failure Officer’ among the speakers at the centrepiece conference, and over 40 fringe events taking place from Teesside to Tyneside.

On Wednesday June 21st the festival Main Stage will host a series of thought-provoking conference talks from leaders in technology and related industries at Sunderland City Hall. The day is being designed to include a range of speakers and disciplines centred on the theme; technology, the future and us. The programme line-up also covers three key sub themes – innovation and humans, technology and ethics, and business, society and people: Getting the balance right.

The world-class line-up for the Main Stage includes ‘Bionic’ Tilly Lockey; Dutch academic and author Paul Iske; computer scientist and founder of the Stemettes Anne-Marie Imafidon; ex-Microsoft executive Dave Coplin; emerging tech trailblazer Nell Watson and Mala Kumar, a global leader in tech for good.

Speaking about the event Dr David Dunn, CEO of both Dynamo and Sunderland Software City said, “Our aim is to bring at least 3,000 attendees together to showcase the vibrancy, excellence and ambition of the north east tech sector. Other areas of the UK already have tech festivals, so it’s about time we had a similar platform to show just how good we are!” he added.

Dynamo Director Sarah Thackray explained: “We’ve had a huge amount of interest in TechNExt since we announced that the festival was taking place and we are looking forward to bringing together people from a wide range of backgrounds to create conversations and discuss the world-class work that is being delivered in the region.

“Our industry dinner in Durham on Tuesday, June 20 has been designed to give attendees a chance to connect with peers, tech entrepreneurs and business leaders across the region. It’ll be a fantastic opportunity to mix and network with leading figures from the regional sector.

“Then on June 21 we will be at City Hall in Sunderland for the TechNExt Main Stage, bringing some brilliant international speakers together. The big social of the festival, the party, will also take place on June 22 also in Newcastle at Revolucion de Cuba, and tickets are available on the website for anyone who would like to come along to any of the events throughout the week.”

As well as the curated key events, TechNExt will feature a vibrant showcase programme of over 40 fringe events, many of which are free to attend. Tech companies and organisations have submitted ideas for the programme which will see them throw their doors open to engage the wider community, and shine a light on the amazing tech we have in this region.

Tech Talent Live, a free, drop in careers event is for anyone keen to learn more about tech careers and the employers in the North East will take place on Thursday 22 June. The aim of this event is to inspire, motivate and inform the next generation of tech and digital talent, as well as showcase our North East employers to anyone looking for a role in the sector. Tech Talent Live offers students, recent graduates, career changers or those new to the tech sector the chance to hear short talks on career options in the region and take part in CV workshops.

Headline sponsors for TechNExt are Digital Catapult, Newcastle Strategic Solutions, Opencast and Sage.

TechNExt is being planned as a Good Festival, with ‘for good’ being a core value of every element of the programme.

Sarah explained: “Delivering a Good Festival means we’re focusing on quality, inclusivity, diversity, accessibility and sustainability. It also means delivering a diverse programme and we aim to make our core events truly accessible, considering those with different protected characteristics and ensuring we meet their needs and make them as welcome as possible.

“We’ve had such a positive response to the Festival, and we’re looking forward to bringing the region’s tech sector together through a week of fantastic events.”

To book tickets, or for more information about TechNExt, go to