Celebrating The Digital North

Announcing the launch of Disruption North in partnership with Bruntwood SciTech

For a variety of different reasons, the traditional focus for British technology businesses has overwhelmingly been placed on London. Yet whilst the capital plays host to some of the world’s largest, and most innovative tech companies, this doesn’t tell the whole story… Look outside of London and you’ll find a wealth of inspirational regional businesses changing the game in their respective fields.

It’s time to swivel the spotlight towards the cities in the North of England. In partnership with Bruntwood SciTech, D/SRUPTION is excited to announce the launch of Disruption North – a programme specifically designed to shine a light on the digital and technological talent in the North of England.

Bruntwood SciTech CEO, Phil Kemp, and D/SRUPTION CEO, Rob Prevett, spoke to us about their motivations for collaborating on Disruption North, and what they hope the programme will bring to the region.

Talking about tech

Bruntwood SciTech is the UK’s largest portfolio of science and technology property assets. Established in October 2018, it is a joint venture between property company Bruntwood and Legal & General, that is focused on creating a network of thriving innovation districts across the UK. The overarching aim? To help companies in the science and technology sector to form, scale and grow.

“Science and technology has been identified as one of the UK’s key strengths in the government’s Industrial Strategy,” says Phil Kemp. “Bruntwood SciTech offers science and technology companies high quality office and laboratory space, a range of scientific services and bespoke programmes of business support, providing access to the finance, talent, markets and mentorship they need to develop.”

With locations in Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds, SciTech supports over 600 companies across the North – introducing them to valuable communities and much-needed opportunities to collaborate.

“One of our particular strengths is helping startups and scale-ups to connect and collaborate with large corporates and vice versa,” says Kemp, “But it’s the connections that Bruntwood SciTech can make with the likes of city councils, universities and the NHS that truly sets us apart – there’s no other property provider able to do this on the same level and scale.”

Northern soul

Bruntwood SciTech is a northern operation with the North at its heart. Its mission is to create the jobs, talent and ecosystem that this area of the UK needs to grow, helping northern cities to thrive on a global stage.

This is an ambition shared by D/SRUPTION CEO Rob Prevett, who wants to redress the balance for northern businesses and ensure they get the recognition they deserve.

“After 5 years of running D/SRUPTION,” he says, “I’ve met hundreds of exciting individuals and companies working in digital innovation. But I’m always frustrated at how little exposure companies outside of London receive when there’s such an abundance of talent, particularly in the North. The reality is there’s so much going on here and it’s a really great environment for growing digital businesses.”

“With that in mind, we wanted to launch a programme to shine a light on the fantastic examples of digital innovation in the cities across the north of England.”

Disruption North

Disruption North has been designed to profile and celebrate innovation in Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle. Through a range of channels, Disruption North will explore the very best of digital business across these regions.

“Over the next year we will be meeting with, interviewing and inviting guest opinion from both startups and established businesses who have chosen to base themselves in the North,” says Prevett. “We’re looking to work with all the key stakeholders in the sector including universities, co-working spaces, investors, and the tech community.”

“The aim is to highlight not just the plethora of talent in the North, but to demonstrate the value for businesses that find a home in these cities. There’s collaboration, the huge talent coming out of the universities, a sense of community… Not to mention a real buzz and positivity around disruption and innovation.”

Disruption Summit Leeds

As part of this commitment to support businesses in the North, D/SRUPTION will bring Disruption Summit to Leeds on 24th March 2020.

“After three successful years in London we’re launching a second Disruption Summit, bringing together the very best of  northern disruption at one event,” says Prevett.

For Kemp, bringing an increased profile to the North in this way was a significant motivating factor behind SciTech’s participation in the Disruption North programme.

“We want to see the growth of the UK’s science and tech sector – with the UK being recognised internationally for its success,” he says. “Rebalancing the UK economy is not about migrating companies and talent out of London, it’s about growing the whole. We’re confident that together with Disruption North we can achieve this.”

For opinion, insights and features from the North of England’s leading disruptors and innovators, watch this space, as we profile the best the North has to offer.

Sign up to our free weekly newsletter to stay up to date with the latest news from Disruption North.