Skip to content

Northern Stars welcomed Tom Watson, Minister for the Cabinet Office


On 24th September 2008, Northern StartUp 2.0 community welcomed Tom Watson, Minister for Cabinet Office and his private secretary Sarah Gouldbourne to Manchester.  This was the first time we welcomed a Government Minister. Since my first meeting with Tom, I have changed my viewpoints about Government Ministers. I always had the thought that Government Ministers are untouchable and quite full of themselves. Tom is quite the opposite. A down to earth individual. In fact he is an exceptional individual. 

Tom has been in Manchester for number of days with his young family, the latest addition been only five months old. Having ended the 2008 Labour party conference, he should have gone home straight given how tired he and his family were. Yet he turned up as promised to meet a bunch of Northern Stars and their friends. What a guy! On behalf of the Northern StartUp 2.0 community, thank you Tom. And special thanks to your family for putting up with a bunch of Northerners. And thanks Sarah for helping me to organise the event.

Tom is the first to accept that the Government has a long way to go in adopting new technologies. Yet he has been blogging for longer than I have known what blogging was about. He is an avid Twitterer and an outspoken individual, taking the remit to transform the government in terms of communication internally, engagement with the citizens and residents of the UK and use of technology to aid improve productivity. He is also on a mission to publicise and make available government data and information.

Tom Watson, without a doubt is a champion for digital technologies.

Without further embarassing Tom, here is the video I put together. Do enjoy and leave comments as you wish. Copy was also available on Facebook. You can download few pictures from Flickr. 

What do you think of Nathan Smith’s smile? Priceless!


The event kickstarted with my banter about how and why Northern StartUp 2.0 was setup almost two years ago. We then had the privileage to listen to Roy Shelton about his investment in to and running Next2Friends. Roy’s slide pack can be accessed by clicking the thumbnail.

Next2Friends - a Presentation by Roy Shelton

We then had the opportunity to showcase 12 Northern Stars, these being Tiyga, CompetitiveUrge, Yuuguu, Treasuremytext, BeLocal, PressRoom, Ideas-For-My-Council, phonefromhere, S3CRM, Talent on View and Sanoodi. So was it a good night? Was it value for money and time? Here is what some of the comments from the attendees.

Paul Fabretti (KMP) – Just a quick note of thanks for helping get us sorted for last night. I had a great time and it was a truly inspiring event. I think it did Tom (and you) a lot of credit that we were there and were testimony to what he is trying to do for digital. It gives proof that perhaps, government is changing.

Mark Strefford (Entrepreneur) – Thank you for an excellent NWStartups 2.0 meeting last night!

Lisa Scales (Entepreneur) – I just wanted to say thank you very much for last night – really good experience and made some really interesting connections.

Steven Livingston (Service Provider) – Congratulations on another fine evening! Apologies for not staying for the duration.

Published inOther