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South Yorkshire held its first Tech Summit in Barnsley, organised by The Seam (Barnsley’s Digital Campus) on Thursday (24 November), which saw South Yorkshire’s Mayor Oliver Coppard announcing the launch of a new grant designed to attract tech businesses, generating more digital jobs and boosting the local economy.

The Tech Welcome Grant*, funded by South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority, will provide grants of between £5k to £10k to businesses new to South Yorkshire and start-ups from outside the area to relocate here and create jobs in the region.

South Yorkshire’s Mayor Oliver Coppard said: “Thanks to our entrepreneurs, world-class research universities and talent pool, South Yorkshire is not just attracting, but creating high-quality tech companies and high-value jobs. Innovation is part of South Yorkshire's DNA, and we are going to make sure our region flourishes by working closely with stars of the sector to create an action plan for tech growth in our region. Digital and tech are the lifeblood of our economy; increasingly, every barrier is a digital or technology barrier, so it’s a vital sector for the whole of South Yorkshire.

Mayor Oliver Coppard adds: “The ecosystem we are building here, and the assets we already have in South Yorkshire, will mean those businesses and people who do relocate will thrive here – creating more value for them, the region, and the UK.”

Last week’s Tech Summit, which was attended by 188 digital & technology sector specialists and held at Cineworld in Barnsley, was a chance for businesses that work in the tech sector to network and showcase their expertise, build local, national and international relationships and share knowledge. The summit focused on the actions needed to ensure the right support, talent, finance, workspaces and culture are in place to help entrepreneurs and innovators from all backgrounds to achieve success.

Gary Stewart, Managing Director of Techstars NYC powered by J.P. Morgan who has spent the past 15 years investing in global start-ups, was keynote speaker at the event. He explains: “What I’ve learned over the years is that great ideas can come from anyone, anywhere. Entrepreneurs are the wealth creators and we need new start-ups to create wealth. Start-ups fail when companies run out of money and the US has a large proportion of Venture Capitalists willing to invest in early stage companies. Tech start ups therefore need to build bridges to places like London and the US, as the money is concentrated in a few global clusters.”

Gary also gave his top tips from his many years of working with Tech start-ups. This included advising that small markets can offer big opportunities, where a company can gain a niche over competitors. He discussed how important it is to get corporate companies involved as they offer big funding opportunities. He also recommended that start-ups should celebrate small wins and encouraged them to build a positive narrative around what they were doing through the press and social media.

Tracey Johnson, Digital Economy Lead in Barnsley presented on why South Yorkshire is a great place to locate a Tech business, with a rapidly developing eco system and why creating the right spaces for businesses to flourish is so important.

Tracey Johnson, Digital Economy Lead in Barnsley said: “The Summit was a huge success and celebrated what has been achieved so far by Tech businesses in South Yorkshire. The focus was on how we can build on this and move forward with the momentum we have built up. There are some exciting things happening in South Yorkshire and UK and global businesses are no longer asking, why should we move to South Yorkshire, but why not?”

The half day summit also featured discussions involving some of the region’s leading Tech entrepreneurs and support organisations, discussing subjects such as building regional ecosystems and why changing the face of Tech matters. Dr Sam Chapman, CEO of The Floow, discussed how Sheffield is ‘engine room’ of the business, as the company has ambitions to be truly global.

Delegates also heard from Darren Balcombe, Deputy CEO of TEAM SY, who discussed the impact that TEAM SY is already having in South Yorkshire and how the Tech Welcome Grant is set to boost the region’s popularity for all things Tech on a national and international basis.

For more information on South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority visit

For details of support for business growth available in South Yorkshire, visit the South Yorkshire Growth Hub

For more details of the Tech Welcome Grants visit

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