At Tech Nation we’re creating a national network
connecting ambitious digital tech entrepreneurs across the UK.
Whether you’re a founder looking for connections or support, a stakeholder embedded in a local community or are simply interested in what’s going on in a region, our Entrepreneur Engagement Managers (or ‘EEMs’ for short) are on the ground in towns and cities and ready to help.
In this series of articles, we’re telling you more about our EEMs’ roles and views about tech in the country. Here we speak to Thea Goodluck, our East of England Entrepreneur Engagement Manager based in Cambridge.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I love meeting entrepreneurs, building long term relationships and seeing how I can help – whether it be providing introductions or signposting to relevant information. I’m really passionate about the East of England as a region where we have such exciting businesses with truly innovative technology and some amazing growth stories. I previously worked at Silicon Valley Bank on their Entrepreneur Banking team focused on seed to series A tech businesses. More recently I worked at Grant Thornton managing business development and marketing for East Anglia.
What wins have you had since starting? What impact have they made?
My primary focus is meeting ambitious and scaling founders within the tech ecosystem across the region, along with engaging closely with local ecosystem stakeholders and investors. A couple of ways I have supported founders to date is by encouraging relevant companies to apply for our growth programmes to help them scale, it was a big win for me to see in our latest Impact report that applications in the East increased significantly in 2019 through proactive outreach and marketing. I also spend a lot of time making introductions for founders to relevant investors, advisors and also signposting to corporate innovation challenges. It always feels like a win when I receive positive feedback and updates on next steps following these introductions.
What companies in the region have impressed you?
I feel so lucky to have met and continue to meet a broad range of companies across the whole region, all with super innovative technology and great ambitions. Without name dropping specific businesses; in Norwich, it has been a pleasure to meet companies focused on the sharing economy and insurtech, and there is a huge opportunity across both Norfolk and Suffolk in the agritech and cleantech sectors, which I think is really exciting! Colchester has an evolving tech scene centred around the Innovation Centre, and in Cambridge it is brilliant to work with companies that are very much on the scaling journey. The deep technology being developed in Cambridge blows my mind, particularly within the healthtech sector.
What challenges are founders facing in your region?
The various cities in the region face different challenges. Talent, for example, is a key challenge in Cambridge, a city competing against large tech corporates. Elsewhere in the region, it’s about competing for people with the right digital skills, as a lot of talent moves to London. I hear a lot that finding earlier stage funding is a challenge outside of Cambridge, along with the lack of a central hub or coworking space. However, on a positive note, there are initiatives underway to address these challenges led by passionate local stakeholders.