An ambitious project to develop, connect and promote Northamptonshire’s digital industries could play a major role in preventing the brain drain of tech graduates from the area.
Digital Northampton is a new independent organisation designed to support digital innovation in the area, and one of its aims is to keep the University of Northampton’s digitally savvy graduates from leaving the town to pursue a career elsewhere.
Digital talent cultivated at the University is all too often lured away to areas more commonly associated with digital innovation, meaning the town loses out on skilled workers and the potential to grow the local digital economy.
But Digital Northampton is looking to change that, by making graduates more aware of the opportunities on their doorstep, including jobs, industry placements and helping to forge a more connected digital community.
Iain Douglas, senior lecturer in Games Design at the university, said: “Northampton is a sleeping giant. It’s perfectly placed between the established digital cultures in Oxford, Leamington Spa, Cambridge and Birmingham and it’s on a direct line to London.
"For the most part it remains an affordable place to live and to start a business. Everyone involved in the Digital Northampton project recognises its massive potential and passionately wants to see the county take a position leading digital and social change.”
There are three proposed stages for Digital Northampton:
Stage 1 – digital connectivity
This has taken the form of a Twitter account and website, to promote what is happening in Northampton. The Twitter page has already connected more than 85 digital companies and there are plans to capitalise on this by holding a series of business breakfasts to help networking between all parties.
Stage 2 – symposium
The University of Northampton and partners will host a day long event in June, designed to bring digital creators together, establish connections, promote new technologies and their uses and establish interest in a regular series of larger events.
Stage 3 – physical hub
The creation of a digital hub for Northampton. This managed space would be a place for digital start-ups to use, a venue for events that promote local digital businesses and also the home of an incubator space. This space would be for students to use for their start-up companies and hold group projects which emulate the working environment.