TechNExt, the North East’s premier technology festival, makes its return this week after a successful first edition in 2023.

TechNExt 2023, which took place last June, spanned five days and drew over 3,000 attendees. It featured a lineup of 52 community-led fringe events alongside its flagship events, highlighting the burgeoning tech scene in the North East and showcasing the importance of collaboration to the region’s sector.

TechNExt 2024 promises to build on the previous festival’s momentum, with four flagship events – the mainstage conference, industry dinner, Tech Talent Live, and the festival party – set to return alongside a new programme of fringe events.

New for 2024 is a schools’ challenge, which will see the festival partner with regional schools to inspire students about technology and showcase the fantastic opportunities technology offers them. TechNExt 2024 will also have a renewed focus on the Good Festival Ambition, promoting sustainable, diverse, and inclusive event practices.

“TechNExt 2023 set a new benchmark for tech events in our region,” said David Dunn, CEO of Sunderland Software City. “It has been instrumental in showcasing the North East as a hub of technology innovation and talent. 

“The overwhelming response to last year’s TechNExt just shows what a vibrant tech community we have in the North East. Its return in 2024 is a testament to our thriving business ecosystem.”

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Eleanor Harry, CEO & Founder of HACE, who will be speaking at the main stage conference on Thursday, said: “I’m really looking forward to attending and speaking at TechNext in Newcastle this year. 

“The North is becoming a powerhouse in the technology ecosystem. It is always a privilege to contribute by showing how we disrupt the current boundaries of technology by merging deep subject matter expertise with data and AI to tackle one of the biggest social issues of our time: child labour.”

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Sarah Thackray, director at Dynamo North East and BeaconHouse Events, said: “As we prepare for TechNExt 2024, we’re excited to build on this momentum, bringing together the brightest minds in technology and business. 

“TechNExt is not just a celebration of technology but also a platform for promoting sustainable and inclusive practices. Our Good Festival Ambition is at the heart of this vision, setting out our commitment to an even more inclusive, diverse, and sustainable event.”

The headline sponsors are Opencast, Leighton and Sage.

Opencast chief executive Tom Lawson said: “This celebration of the North East’s technology sector is something we’re committed to supporting. 

“Opencast is now one of the largest tech firms in the North East, and we take our role in contributing back to the sector very seriously. In 2023 we put on five fringe events, including an interview with Newcastle MP and shadow minister Chi Onwurah, as well as joint talks with client stakeholders like Jacqui Leggetter from DWP. 

“I urge people from outside the North East to consider coming along in 2024, and for other companies in the region to think about what they can share to continue to fly the flag for what is a very vibrant tech sector.”

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