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Dynamo appoints new ‘super connector’ to drive collaboration and innovation

North East tech network Dynamo has appointed a new ‘super connector’ to help support their plans to grow the local tech economy and raise its national profile.

Paul Lancaster has taken a role as an Engagement Manager with the network, a job that will see him working to link firms from all over the North East in the hopes of driving innovation and encouraging the development of new products and services.

Mr Lancaster will join managers Dawn Dunn, Laura Kemp and Phil Jackman who work in high growth sub-sectors of the North East tech economy: fintech, service delivery centres, digital entertainment, cybersecurity, digital construction and health tech.

Dynamo is currently building on £100 million of initiatives to support the growth of innovation, collaboration, skills and publicity for the region’s rapidly expanding tech hubs.

Previous projects Dynamo has helped support include the establishment of North East Futures UTC, a science-specialist school that opened in 2017, and Newcastle University’s National Innovation Centre for Data, which opens this year.

Mr Lancaster commented: “My role will be to support Dynamo’s cluster managers and the exec team who are working to grow specific areas of the region’s tech economy, and to work with our membership to help grow their organisations.

“A big part of my role will be to encourage more collaboration and innovation across the region to develop new products and services — and what I’d particularly like to do is to get more of our larger firms working with SMEs and start-ups.”

Originally from Gateshead, Mr Lancaster was awarded a geography degree at the University of Leeds before starting work in Sage’s technical support team, and has also worked for British Airways, Generator North East, Project North East, Shell LiveWIRE, and Tech North.

In 2016, Mr Lancaster made the decision to strike out on his own and set up his own business, Plan Digital, an inbound marketing and community engagement specialist that has organised the annual Newcastle Startup Week festival since 2017.

Paul also went on to win Collaborator of the Year at the Dynamites Awards in both 2016 and 2017.
Speaking about how his career so far had prepared him for the role, Mr Lancaster added: “The work of Dynamo is very complimentary to what I’ve been doing over the last few years — bringing people and organisations together.”

Dynamo is part-funded by the ERDF and works to support the growth of the region’s rapidly expanding tech sector by promoting the region as a hub for the enterprise IT sector.

The network was established in 2013 by Charlie Hoult and Bob Paton, then Managing Director of Accenture, and is made up of IT organisations and employers, technology hubs, educational establishments, local government and employer support initiatives.

Since then, Dynamo has expanded to include more than 160 members.

Charlie Hoult, chair of Dynamo, added: “It’s a key appointment for us — Paul is an important influencer within the region’s tech sector, linking and connecting people and businesses on many different levels.

“He’s a great networker, winning Dynamo’s Collaborator of the Year award twice! So it’s a natural fit.”