In this new, weekly series we’ll introduce you to members of the Tech North team and let them tell you more about their roles and their views about tech in the North of England.
First up is our Community Engagement Manager for the North West, Jazz Hanley. Take it away, Jazz!
Tell us about your role at Tech North
My job is to be the man on the ground across the region, and meet with different stakeholders to understand their current digital priorities. I make the people I meet aware of current Tech North initiatives and how they can get involved, but bigger than that a lot of the time it’s joining the dots throughout the region.
Due to the sheer number of conversations and meetings i’m having it’s giving me a 360-degree viewpoint of the entire landscape, so impartial connections are easy to facilitate. It’s rare that as you grow your business you have time to explore different ecosystems. However, I get paid to do that and if I can make a connection it’s two potential problems solved.
What’s your background, and what attracted you to working at Tech North?
I used to run a property technology business down in London called Propteq. We would put on high level events with a unique format, no speakers, no panels and no presentations. Instead we would have informal discussions which would focus on a general topic which would in term help identify connections, essentially taking the randomness out of networking.
After six years in London I decided that it was the right time to move back to the motherland (I was born and raised in Chester). Tech North and the role itself was appealing as it gave me a chance to help shape an emerging tech scene as it’s growing.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned about tech in the North since you joined Tech North?
The amount of work we actually do. Upon first look it can be difficult to grasp just the different things Tech North does. I managed to get to the Northern Stars final before joining, and that was just a flavor of what was to come.
We have such a large geographical reach to cover it’s amazing we’re able to do what we do. Just in the last six months we have launched Northern Voices, UpSkill, The Investment Index and we have the angel development programme to come, with of course Northern Stars and Founders’ Network booting up again.
Now with all the Community Engagement Managers in place we have an open door policy where no one should be unable to speak with us which.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
When I joined Tech North I was excited to help shape emerging tech scenes outside of Manchester which is frankly booming currently!
I have spent a lot of time over in Liverpool in the past six months and feel a difference already in the tech landscape. You have great projects like Innovators Hub, Creative Kitchen, Liverpool Girl Geeks and BIMA which are all flying in the city creating a buzz which is noticeably different to January 2017. I feel part of the community and have sat in on digital council meetings to give my say on the future of the city.
A lot of people have told me that Liverpool needed some love, and I have definitely done that. My overall goal however is to better unify Liverpool and Manchester. They’re two global cities that need to have better communication, they can learn so much from each other and with the recent mayoral selections I feel we are on the cusp of something great.
If there’s one thing you’d like people to do after reading this interview, what would it be?
To get in touch if you don’t know me or if you do, feel free to reach out. My job is to try and make your life easier, as mentioned connecting the dots is a big part of that so the more conversations I have the more strands I can join in the region.
Also, become part of Northern Stars and Founders’ Network, if they’re applicable to you. They’re both free programmes that have massive benefits, you only have to look at their legacy. It won’t take you a lot of time to fill in the applications and they could give your business a boost, take advantage of them.
Follow Jazz on Twitter and look out for him across the North West.