Opportunity North East and ScotlandIS form partnership to support digital cluster growth

Private sector economic development body Opportunity North East (ONE) and digital industries trade body ScotlandIS are partnering to develop the digital company base and ecosystem in the north-east of Scotland.

Digital is a key theme in the long-term economic vision for the regional economy and there is an established base of tech companies in the region, primarily working within energy.

ONE-led action and investment in the sector includes bespoke support and infrastructure to create a dynamic, high-growth tech company cluster and drive digital transformation in the region’s key sectors to improve productivity and competitiveness, said the organisation in a statement.

ScotlandIS has members based in Aberdeen and the north east with digital technologies expertise from software to data, IT services to cyber security.

The new partnership between ONE and ScotlandIS will bring additional resource into the region to support growth in the established company cluster and increase the profile of the region’s tech capabilities with stakeholders, regionally and nationally, it said.

Jen Scott, former manager of public engagement with research at Aberdeen University, is joining in the newly created role of digital development manager. Previously, Scott worked for Axeon Technologies and Freescale Semiconductor and has a PhD in electrical and electronic engineering.

The new role will be based at the ONE Tech Hub on Schoolhill, where a £1.5m investment is creating a dedicated hub for digital and entrepreneurship activity in Aberdeen led by ONE in partnership with CodeBase, the UK’s leading digital tech incubator, and Robert Gordon University (RGU).

The ONE Tech Hub will open in May and will host a range of activity including ONE CodeBase and RGU’s startup accelerator. The ONE statement said will also be the “natural choice” for digitally-focussed alumni from accelerator programmes such as TechX and Elevator and for spin-outs from RGU, University of Aberdeen, and NESCol.

“Digital is one of the key transformational factors in our economy,” said Sir Ian Wood KT GBE, chair of ONE’s Digital & Entrepreneurship sector board, “and ScotlandIS shares our regional ambition to make North East Scotland a dynamic environment for new and established tech businesses with high-growth potential and enable digital transformation to deliver step changes in sector productivity. We are now co-investing to bring additional resource into the ecosystem to support company and cluster growth.”

Polly Purvis OBE, CEO ScotlandIS, added: “We’re delighted to be working in partnership with ONE Digital & Entrepreneurship.  Jen Scott’s appointment will enable us to provide additional support to tech companies in the region and working closely with the wider ONE team, help businesses across the north east exploit digital technologies to create new products and services and improve their productivity.”