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How important are Northern Stars for the region?

Please read page 6 and 7 of:

NWDA 315 Degree Magazine: JUNE 2008 ISSUE 15 - Leading the Region

The headline is “leaders of the region’s £16 billion digital and creative industries are intensifying their efforts to establish the North West as one of the world’s most innovative production centre’s for digital entertainment and new media”.

As part of the initiative to grow regional output by £1bn from Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) by 2015, the North West Development Agency (NWDA) is in the process of establishing a number of Media Enterprise Centres (MECs) where production companies, broadcasters, small digital companies and universities can collaborate. Phase 1 includes opening of the MediaCityUK in Salford Quays and Liverpool Innovation Park later this year.

The article further states that the sector currently generates 16% of Gross Value Added (GVA) and 10.6% of the workforce. Clearly, some outstanding figures, and NWDA and others are to be congratulated for their vision and execution. Article also states that the creative industries cover 18 market segments from advertising and design to television and publishing. At the heart of this is £300 million a year GVA from computer games industry.

However, the article does not extend to mention any internet based companies such as our own Northern Stars. Does this mean that the NWDA do not see the potential upside that Northern Stars could create? Just imagine the birth of Bebo, Skype, YouTube and Last.FM in the North West. Companies such as those cannot be ignored. Problem is that at present, none of the Northern Stars have attracted significant opportunities to warrant the attention of NWDA. The number of startups has not reach the critical mass. At present, there are a small number of companies. The most successful digital product based businesses to emerge out of the region are Freeserve, and recently, all of which were setup during the era.

Instead of complaining, I believe it is our duty to create the next wave of giants. In this process, Northern StartUp 2.0 continues to serve those companies that are taking the initiative. And in this process, it is vital to understand the needs of Northern Stars beyond the need for capital injections. What help would you be needing?

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