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Idea for Richard and the TechNorth

Richard and some of his troops are already doing this.. But let’s get to the starting point.

TechNorth is about supporting digital businesses of which tech businesses are a part of. My interest is only on the latter.

If you are a tech startup, you hit the pinnacle when you get chosen as a Northern Star (within the TechNorth ecosystem). These companies get the maximum support, and rightly so.

northern-stars
What about those left behind? Could there be another two levels of companies, which could get defined support? Yes, we get invited to various events and programmes, but it’s difficult to sum up the benefit.

Lets explore this from another point view, that of supplier and customer. TechNorth is here to support us, so we must be their customer. But we do not pay them directly for the services they render. Ok, we do indirectly, if you consider taxes we pay. Whilst they get their budget from the UK Government through TechCityUK and responsible for delivery of agreed services, it’s difficult to treat UK Government as the real customer. Without us, there is no need for TechNorth. So let’s agree we are the customer.

So if we are the customer, then the customer relationship needs to be managed, just like in any business. You would need Account Managers to achieve this in a typical organisation. You would need to allocate time (few hours a month) to look after your customer, aka us. If so, there would be a service contract between TechNorth and the customer, so the customer knows what they can expect from TechNorth.

Now at this point, the whole game changes and gets exciting. I’ll let your imagination run wild now.

Published inNorthern Tech News
  • Comad IO

    There’s relatively little they can do for pre-seed level ‘companies’ on the budget they have, stretched across such a large geographic area, whoever the customer is. Though for extremes in comparison you can look to see what Ignite or DotForge do on small budgets vs the millions that BGH has.

    It’s good to have these discussions though. Clearly having TechNorth is of great benefit. Quantifying that benefit will continue to be tricky for the majority of companies who arn’t NorthernStars. FoundersNetwork is a good initiative, and gets startup founders in the room, without all the noise that the ‘scene’ generates. Perhaps an expansion of this into proactive mentorship could be sought.

    It’s important to keep an outward aspect & engage with companies across Europe and the World, and increase your addressable market.

    Cheers,
    Ian.

    http://comad.io – making life easier for location independent professionals.
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    • Richard Gregory

      Let’s catch-up soon. I’d love to see what more we can do in the pre-seed space. Plus, mentorship is a fascinating one. Manchester Digital has been investigating this and Digital Union (North-East) have a programme running that includes an element of mentorship.

      Richard

      • Comad IO

        Manchester Digital’s strength is in supporting agencies, though they’ve done great running a hackday for Public Health England (would be great to see one for devolved healthcare in Greater Manchester :), and also had success with the NUX conference.

        Understanding the needs of scalable startups is quite an undertaking, and one that even Business Growth Hub struggles with. I don’t see it as something for Manchester Digital tbh.

        I ran Founders’ Assembly in 2014 (for free/at cost to me) and helped 38 founders across 18 sessions. Mostly pre-seed, though some were post-accelerator. Have suggested it as a format to TN a few times but had relatively little feedback.

        I guess it’s important for everyone in the team, to not just be ‘busy’ but perhaps have their favourite startups they support. Perhaps a twitter list of the great startups in Newcastle, Sheffield, Liverpool, Leeds and Manchester, and more retweeting of startups needs from those lists; perhaps from a separate account if needed? (TNStartups?)

        Lots of good efforts going on, and long may TechNorth reign 🙂

        Hopefully see you soon,
        Ian.

  • Richard Gregory

    Hey Manoj, thanks for the suggestion.

    You’re exactly right – you, and all the founders/managers/owners of tech companies, are our customers and I’ve endeavoured to put that at the heart of our strategy.

    Given my agency background, the Account Management model is something I’m very comfortable with, but as Comad (Is that Ian?) points out geography and volume pose a significant challenge. I equally wouldn’t want to duplicate the efforts of great organisations such as Digital Union, Sheffield Digital and Manchester Digital. It’s about what we can add in addition to those groups. We’ll be unveiling some initiatives on that front shortly.

    Founders Network, which you’ve attended in the past, runs across the Northern region and provides support on a variety of topics, including funding, growth, leadership and creating your team.

    The team are working on more programmes, which I hope to share with you in the neat future.

    RIchard