TechNExt Festival set to bring industry speakers to the region

A host of tech innovators from businesses spanning the healthcare sector to food production are set to take to the stage at this year’s TechNExt Festival.

The week-long programme, which this year is centred around a main event in Newcastle, runs from June 17 to 21 and follow’s last year inaugural festival. It features a mainstage conference, industry dinner and festival party, alongside an expanded programme of fringe events.

This year’s theme is “tech for purpose” with speakers including CEO of dementia assistive tech firm GG Care, David Grey; founder of food packing robotics firm Wootzano, Atif Syed; chief technology officer at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and multi-award-winning entrepreneur Avril Chester. Also on the line up is Tracey Follows, a consultant ‘futurist’ who is CEO of Futuremade; prototyping expert Jude Pullen, who is known for his work on BBC2’s Big Life Fix; Eleanor Harry, the CEO of anti-child labour organisation HACE; and sports optometrist Patrícia Rodrigues, who leads the sports vision department at SC Braga in Portugal and is optometrist for Tottenham Hotspur.

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This year TechNExt has launched its schools’ challenge, which will see the festival, co-organised by Sunderland Software City and Dynamo, partner with regional schools to inspire students about technology and showcase the opportunities technology offers them. Organisers say TechNExt 2024 will also have a renewed focus on the Good Festival Ambition, which promotes sustainable, diverse and inclusive event practices.

Among the wider programme is a session delivered by law firm Ward Hadaway on maximising the UK’s immigration system in tech recruitment; exploring the Gen AI phenomenon with Accenture, and an ‘Esports 101’ event at the National Esports Performance Campus in Sunderland.

David Dunn, CEO of Sunderland Software City and Dynamo, said: “TechNExt 2024 is set to showcase the best of the North East tech sector, highlighting the strength of our community and the bright future we have ahead. The festival continues to be a cornerstone for innovation and collaboration in our region, and it is a testimony to the region’s reputation that we’ve been able to attract such a talented line up of speakers to the main stage conference.”

Eleanor Harry, CEO and founder of HACE, 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.”

Meanwhile the Dynamites awards for the North East tech sector have been launched. Now in their 11th year, the Dynamites will take place at Newcastle Civic Centre on November 21.

More details can be found at