NETPark: The North-East’s answer to Silicon Valley

Read The Northern Echo Article from Tasmin Lockwood which takes a deep dive into what makes NETPark such a popular destination for science, engineering and technology businesses.

NORTH-EAST TECHNOLOGY PARK, or NETPark, has tens of high value, ambitious and innovative companies on site, specialising in medical technology, IT, software and electronics.

There are just three main sectors, according to the NETPark-based Gareth Taylor, CEO of Evince Technology: “IT, biotech and the rest”.

Evince manufacturers diamond computer chips, which, Mr Taylor predicts, will be more popular than silicon in a decade or two. Due to its fringe technology, the company has previously struggled to find the right case study and make meaningful inroads, but now is working with the European Space Agency.

“The rest I like to call non-conformist,” Mr Taylor says.

Like any businesses at the cutting-edge, it’s hard to gauge public opinion or blockages in the market due to a range of external factors, meaning scaling can be risky and problematic.

But NETPark, an internationally recognised science and technology hub, was built specifically with those companies in mind. Due to its range of facilities and room to grow on-site, as well as land for purpose-built facilities, the Sedgefield science park has gained significant influence in the North-East’s technology sector.

Mr Taylor’s comment is telling; he knows fellow tenants and what they are working on.

Run by Business Durham, the economic development arm of Durham County Council, NETPark embodies its parent organisation in its encouragement and support for business success in the region, and therefore the region’s success. So much so, that it has its own accelerator program.

Paul Mawson, CEO of US-based health tech company Kunasan, said it “kind of reminds me of the tech culture in Silicon Valley”.

The worth of this alternative Silicon Valley has not been undervalued, with it receiving significant investment from the Local Growth Fund via the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (North East LEP).

Grants have allowed for new buildings, a new road, and has opened up 26 acres of development land to build bespoke premises for companies looking to scale up and manufacture on site.

Read the full article on The Northern Echo website here.

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The North East Technology Park provides a dynamic and supportive environment to accelerate the growth of ambitious, innovative, high tech companies into global markets. NETPark encourages collaborative multidisciplinary links, driving innovation, enterprise and economic prosperity.
We provide companies with access to a focused and international community where talent flourishes, ideas are generated and businesses have the support and resources to compete with the best in the world.

NETPark North East Technology Park

NETPark, North East Technology Park,
Sedgefield, County Durham TS21 3FD

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We initially came because of the printable electronics centre but access to a highly skilled semi conductor workforce in the North East has been a key factor in us staying and growing here, as well as the value for money office space and the access to funding.

Ken Williamson, - COO, PragmatIC Printing

It fits perfectly for us that we’re surrounded by like-minded companies at NETPark. There are a number of highly skilled people in the area who can help us grow our business. The facilities and services offered by NETPark are first class, they make office life simple and engaging.

Stuart Wilson, - CEO, Ascarii

The proximity to the universities and the infrastructure are very important factors. Ultimately having a presence in Europe is very valuable to us and we intend to stay at NETPark for many years to come.

Dr Arnab Basu, - CEO, Kromek

Access to quality facilities was one of the main drivers for deciding to locate the business at the NETPark. We have been able to use this as a launch pad to link into support from CPI and world-class expertise from Durham University.

Steve Clements, - Managing Director, aXenic

CPI has developed a specialist offering to support SMEs looking to develop their printable electronics applications and our partnership with Business Durham has been instrumental in attracting several SMEs to locate here in the region.

Dr Jon Helliwell, - Director of Printable Electronics, CPI

The quality of the facilities at NETPark and the attitude of staff is first class. It has a really dynamic, innovative atmosphere.

Dr Neil Loxley, - Chief executive, IBEX
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