BT Dynamites

The cream of the North East’s tech talent was celebrated at the BT Dynamites – the region’s technology awards

Held last October in Newcastle Civic Centre’s Banqueting Hall, the BT Dynamites 17 were contested by many of the region’s most successful IT and tech companies.
Nearly 400 people attended the awards dinner which was hosted by North East TV actor Daymon Britton.
Chair of the awards panel Stuart Lynn, chief product delivery officer for Sage, said: “the awards gave recognition to some of the great work going on in the thriving tech industry in the North East.

There were 12 awards presented, across nine core categories, and the winners were:

• Innovator of the Year: Winner – Datatrial. A software company specialising in clinical data analytics, Datatrial has developed a new software solution, Nucleus, which provides clients with a cost-effective platform for clinical information that links documents, communication and technologies.

• Collaborator of the Year: Winner – Paul Lancaster, Plan Digital; Highly commended Northumberland County Council and Campus North. Paul is an award-winning social media and business development expert who set up his own businesses after helping others become established. Plan Digital focuses on growing the region’s tech sector, and Paul is the founder and event producer of Newcastle Startup Week and Newcastle Scale-up Summit.

• New Business of the Year: Winner: HiveHR. Established in January 2016, HiveHR helps organisations measure, understand and improve employee engagement.

• Growth Explosion (established): Winner – Aspire Technology Solutions. Aspire is a managed services company specialising in hosted services, data centre solutions, communications and IT support. The company projected a £15m turnover for 2017-2018.

• Growth Explosion (High Growth): Winner – Trench Networks. The Blyth-based company delivers construction site connectivity on building sites across the UK and within the international rail industry.

• International Success: Winner – BIM Academy; Highly commended hedgehog lab. BIM Academy offers consultancy and training in Building Information Management underpinned by leading-edge research. Commissions include Sydney Opera House, M+ Museum in Hong Kong; and Forest City, a $100bn offshore city near Singapore.

• Project of the year (Corporate): Winner – Sage. The software giant’s award-winning project involved transforming the world’s leading desktop accounts software to a connected, cloud-enabled solution – Sage 50c.

• Project of the Year (Public sector, Academic): Winner – Digital Durham. Durham County Council led a project involving ten North East councils aiming to transform broadband speeds for businesses and residents across the region.

• Social Tech Award: Winner – Northumbria University.

• Rising Star: Winner – Carl Cheel, Sage; Highly commended George Willcox, Student; Bridget Hamilton, NBS; Farida Mustafazade, Orchard Information Systems and Jack Tattersall, Opencast Software. Carl joined Sage’s Product Engineering team in October 2016 and has outperformed all expectations on every level of his role. He also mentors peers and apprentices.

• Skills developer: Winner – Tech for Life. The organisation is at the heart of the region’s thriving tech scene, and won the Skills Developer category for its Makers and Creators programme for 8-16 year olds. The week-long programme, hosted at Campus North, aimed to upskill young people in coding and electronics and was delivered by Sage staff.

• Outstanding achievement: Winner – Atom Bank. This category is aimed at an organisation or individual who has been instrumental in driving the region forward. Atom Bank, established in 2016, is the UK’s first bank built exclusively for smartphones or tablets – and is recognized as one of the fastest growing start-up banks in Europe.

Emma Banks, CEO of Innovator of the Year, Datatrial, said she was thrilled at the award: “We’re all delighted – we know we have an exciting, winning product in Nucleus and this award is recognition that we have created something unique for our industry, and something that will help change the way we use technology in clinical research.”

Michael Errington, sales director at Growth Explosion (Established) winner Aspire, said: “We were delighted to win our category. The awards are very much recognized within the tech sector and to win really means something.”

Stu Lynn adds: “The Dynamites have become a major event in the region’s IT calendar and it was hugely satisfying to see us filling the room. I’ve lost count of the number of hidden gems Dynamo activity has uncovered and the connections that we’ve helped to cement – and Dynamites plays a huge part in our ability to continue promoting the sector.

“It’s fantastic to get recognition for people in the far-flung corners of the industry and this event gives a sense to people across the spectrum of how successful the industry is – it’s not just chief executives who come to Dynamites but whole teams and departments – and it can deliver life-changing motivation for people who can see what a cool, exciting, successful industry they’re working in.”

Mr Lynn was joined on the judging panel by the following leading IT players: Sage executive, Graeme Fletcher, director of product engineering (payroll and shared services); Simon Roberson, regional partnership director of dynamites 17 sponsors BT; IT consultant Phil Jackman; Alan English of Wherewithal Consulting; Anthony McMenzie, client services director at Forfusion; Deni Chambers, director of creative and digital industries Newcastle College and Prof Becky Strachan, of Northumbria University.

The awards are now in their fourth year.