DigitalCity driver behind £174m tech economy

As it celebrates its 10th anniversary, DigitalCity has revealed that the digital economy is now worth £174m annually to the Tees Valley – and £62m to Middlesbrough alone.

DigitalCity, Teesside’s digital supercluster, has over the past decade made a massive impact on the regional economy rejuvenating business, buildings and stimulating employment.

DigitalCity was set up in 2004 to “to create a vibrant, successful and self-sustaining supercluster based on the digital technologies, digital media and creative sectors and their enabling capabilities”.

Today Middlesbrough and Stockton are ranked at number 16 in a list of the UK’s digital hotspots by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, the only hotspot north of Birmingham.

Long before boot camps became familiar in the tech world, DigitalCity launched its fellowships to support fledgling businesses offering support and access to the best mentors in the business and digital sphere.

Meanwhile the Boho One building in Middlesbrough was established to offer start-ups a social space, affordable rents and a package of support to aid their transition into the successful business world.

The result of this ‘Garages to Global’ philosophy has been the emergence of award-winning companies such as games studios Double Eleven and Coatsink Software and innovative digital companies such as Sound Training for Reading, that can improve a child’s reading age by two years in six weeks and Transfer Go, which last year had a £12m turnover.

Cutting edge companies such as Animmersion are making very real differences in the way in which we live our lives – its ‘Pain Garden’, developed together with Professor Denis Martin at Teesside University, and Arthritis UK, is giving sufferers of severe pain a new way of describing the impact of pain on their physical and emotional wellbeing.

David Jeffries, Head of DigitalCity, said: “DigitalCity was created to capitalise on Teesside University’s expertise in the technology sector 10 years ago by giving a framework of support for digital start-ups and entrepreneurs.

“We’ve got plans to grow even further though and hopefully the next 10 years will see DigitalCity’s reputation continue to grow. The first students involved with DigitalCity are already today’s digital leaders and that influence is continuing to spread out and grow globally.” 

Related reading