EE has announced it has switched on 5G in Middlesbrough, with eight places now connected across the North East on its network.

Middlesbrough is among 13 new towns announced by EE to receive the latest mobile network technology. EE has already brought 5G services to several towns and cities in Chester-le-Street, Jarrow, Washington, Newcastle, North Shields, South Shields and Sunderland.

EE launched the UK’s first 5G service in May 2019 and has now expanded to 125 towns and cities across the UK. The mobile network operator was also today named the UK’s no.1 network for gaming. According to the latest independent testing by RootMetrics, EE’s network recorded the fastest aggregate median download speed of any network, the lowest packet loss, and the lowest jitter** during Rootmetrics UK-wide testing.

Network insights from EE show increased appetite for mobile gaming. The launch of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S in November 2020 saw peak traffic for gaming services increase by more than 50 per cent compared to the same time the month before. Mobile traffic for PlayStation alone increased almost three-fold between October and November 2020.

Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s Consumer business, said: “Today’s recognition shows the continued investment we’re making to keep our customers connected to what matters most to them, whether that’s enjoying the latest gaming release, sharing video calls with loved ones, or online learning. Our award-winning 5G service is now available in 125 towns and cities across the UK, and our rollout continues so we can bring the best mobile experience to even more people and places.”

Liz Needleman, BT Group North of England, said: “I’m delighted that both consumers and businesses in Middlesbrough will now benefit from 5G technology during this unprecedented time when connectivity is more important than ever before.

“Middlesbrough joins seven other places in the North East that now have access to 5G to help connect them to faster broadband speeds and more reliable connections.

“As demand continues to rise for 5G technology, this announcement will help the people of Middlesbrough stay in touch with friends and family as well as allow businesses to take advantage of the fastest and most reliable connections.”

Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston said: “Digital tech and communication is central to all our lives, and never has that been more true than during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The drive for greater connectivity is only going to grow over the coming years, and it’s vital that Middlesbrough is at the cutting edge of this latest industrial revolution.

“The latest 5G technology will play a key role so it’s fantastic that EE has connected Middlesbrough to its network which will further enhance our reputation as the place to live, work and do business.”

In addition to Middlesbrough, the other new towns to receive EE 5G today are: Burton-upon-Trent, Cannock, Grimsby, Ipswich, Leamington Spa, Neath, Portishead, Tamworth, St Albans, Halifax, Stockport and Swinton.

EE named UK’s No.1 network for gaming comes as EE is also set to imminently launch an exciting new mobile focused gaming bundle. Further details on this, including availability and eligibility – will be announced very shortly.

Ambitious plans for the flagship development at the heart of Middlesbrough’s digital powerhouse have been submitted this week.

They outline new designs for the Boho X building which will act as a regional and national focal point for the burgeoning digital sector.

And striking new artist’s impressions show how the seven-storey building will fit in to the wider Boho masterplan already transforming Middlesbrough’s historic heart.

It’s already carved out a reputation as one of the best locations in the UK for up-and-coming talent and skills within the digital sector, acting as a base for new businesses and industry start-ups.
 

Boho X’s state-of-the-art spacious, modern working environments will act as a further catalyst for social, economic and environmental change across the Tees Valley and the wider region.

Key elements of the development include:

  • 60,000 sq  ft of high quality grade A office space for the digital and creative sector
  • Flexible office space for large or small organisations
  • Swimming pool and gym, café, roof top bar/event space, lecture theatre
  • High quality public realm

Subject to planning permission, Boho X will be delivered by global property developer and construction company BCEGI who will establish a town-wide apprenticeship scheme and offer work placements to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Work is due to start in August next year, with a completion date in December, 2022.

Middlesbrough mayor Andy Preston said: “Middlesbrough can compete with Leeds and Newcastle, and this building will bring the jobs and investment to make that happen.

“It’s the best office building for many miles and it will ignite more investment – tens of millions of pounds – that will start the process of reenergising central Middlesbrough. 

“From Berwick Hills to Stainton, everyone everywhere will benefit from this investment because it will boost our town’s financial security and help us to provide better council services.

“This building is a fantastic statement of confidence in a post-Covid Middlesbrough.

“As the pandemic struck and economic chaos arrived, we amended our initial plans for a much taller building and devised this stunning but less expensive alternative.

“For ambitious businesses, the facilities and atmosphere here will be a must: a rooftop bar and conferencing, gym, wellness suite and a magnificent cafe. Interest in this building is already huge.”

The project is being part-funded by £26.5 million from the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “It’s great to see this important project move a step closer.

“Growing our tech and digital sectors is an important part of my plan for jobs and Boho X will deliver the high-quality office space needed so that the amazing businesses we already have here can grow.

“It will also mean we have the space to attract other companies to the region creating even more well-paid jobs in an ever-growing sector.”

Dongwen Yu, Lead director at BCEGI, said: “We are delighted to be working alongside Middlesbrough Council to deliver this iconic digital hub.

“Our vision is to deliver a thriving, successful and attractive heart to Middlesbrough which will serve the needs of local people and businesses for decades to come. 

“This is an ambitious and carefully crafted proposal that expresses the confidence in Middlesbrough. 

“Boho X will deliver a best-in-class destination that meets the aspirations of existing and new occupiers and reinforces Boho as a fantastic location for digitally focused businesses.”

Award-winning games studio SockMonkey has relocated to Albert North to accommodate ambitious growth plans which will see them triple staff numbers by the end of 2021.

Albert Road, which has been transformed into Albert North has been through a period of significant regeneration, with many of the town’s iconic buildings renovated to create a bustling commercial district and digital tech hub.

SockMonkey joins a host of other rapidly expanding tech companies who have already moved to the area including Mabo, Salesfire, Big Bite, Appamondo, LouTom Media and iConvert.

Founded in 2013, the video games development studio has landed prestigious contracts to work on console and PC titles around the globe, including US-based indie game developer and publisher tinyBuild and Outfit7, one of the fastest-growing multinational family entertainment companies in the world.

Acquiring 5,000 sq ft of office space on the fifth floor within the prestigious 16/26 building is another exciting step for the company. It follows an announcement in the summer that it had secured £250k investment from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, to enable them to fund Fish Tanks, its first original title that will launch next year.

Bob Makin, SockMonkey’s CEO, said; “We’ve experienced tremendous growth recently and having almost doubled the team we had quickly outgrown our studio space in Boho Five.

“Keen to stay in Middlesbrough’s digital cluster, we needed a new office that would accommodate our future growth plans.

“When we visited 16/26 at Albert North, we immediately loved the location and the large, modern open plan space.

“The big plus for us was Jomast had listened to the needs of the digital sector and already created a vibrant community that met all our requirements”.

Despite the current backdrop of COVID-19, the company has continued to add to its existing headcount throughout the year, meaning its phased growth plan remains on track. Having created many successful games for other companies, SockMonkey is incredibly excited to be launching their own original title.

“This year has been challenging for so many businesses. We’ve been lucky that despite everything that is happening the gaming sector continues to grow rapidly, and our ambition to launch our own game will become a reality” added Bob.

“Albert North has fast become one of the area’s biggest tech clusters, and with its central location, the mix of ambitious digital and creative businesses combined with a variety of independents and food outlets make it easy to see why so many want to move here.”

It’s almost two years since Jomast transformed Albert Road into Albert North and with support from Middlesbrough Council the area has benefitted from significant regeneration.

With so many high-profile, ambitious tech businesses making a move here the area has become a natural extension of the Boho Zone resulting in an expanded digital cluster and bustling commercial district.

Mark Hill, commercial property director at Jomast, said: “The response to Albert North has been tremendous, and the area is becoming a real success story.

“We’re delighted to have been able to help a number of fast-growing businesses in the local tech sector make a move into larger office accommodation so they can continue to pursue their growth ambitions.

“With all the upper floor space at 16/26 fully occupied our focus early in the new year will be to refurbish the neighbouring property 28/32. This six-storey building will offer a further 24,000 sq ft of bespoke office space.

“We also have some ground-floor units available which are suitable for a variety of uses such as food and beverage operators, independent retailers as well as office space.”

“The growing tech sector is complemented by other independent businesses including King B, Cocoon & Bauer, Pie Jackers, Alkaline Kitchen and Ananda Wellbeing, which together provide a vibrant business community.”

Businesses wanting to relocate to Albert North can take advantage of an incentive scheme which includes perks such as high-speed broadband, rent and rate incentives, free public health initiatives for all staff and a town centre loyalty card with exclusive discounts. Anyone interested in leasing units should contact Jomast directly on 01642 666 936 or visit the Albert North website for more details.

Middlesbrough start-up company, Bubo.AI, announced this month that it has won the award for ‘Best Emerging Technology in AI’ in Computing’s second AI and Machine Learning Awards. The awards were launched last year to recognise the best companies, individuals and projects in the AI space.

The winner is chosen by a jury of leading experts within the technology field. Criteria for the award focuses specifically on companies who support and drive innovation in all areas of artificial intelligence. As a result of their most impressive new solution, the challenges they overcame and how they achieved it, Bubo.AI won this prestigious award with their solution for product pricing across a wide range of industries.

Computing Judges commented: “Bubo.AI’s unique and innovative approach in bringing modern, advanced data and a solution focused software to wholesalers and distributors is driving “breakthrough” changes to the industry.” It’s not easy to standout in the crowded field of AI technologies, but Bubo.AI impressed us and we are thrilled to recognize the company in our 2020 AI and Machine Learning Awards.”

Working with leading universities and academics enables Bubo.AI to develop forward-thinking pricing solutions and deliver leading-edge technology. Their machine learning algorithm finds the maximum a customer is willing to pay for a product to ensure companies maintain demand, without leaving money on the table. Bubo’s pricing optimisation software also supports sales staff to avoid giving unnecessary discounts.

“For the first time, our solution means companies can use customer value-based pricing which could be key for them to recover revenue and build a roadmap to profitability”, said Alan Timothy, CEO of Bubo.AI. “Being awarded ‘Best Emerging Technology in AI’ serves as a recognition of the value that the Bubo.AI team brings to our customers and the pricing industry.”

Andy Preston, Mayor of Middlesbrough added: “Middlesbrough is the home of digital technology start-up companies delivering cutting edge technology products and services for companies across the world. This award is a great testament to the excellent work Teesside University and Bubo.AI produce, and we’re proud to be the home for progressive innovations.”

Work on the latest phase of Middlesbrough’s cutting edge Boho campus is gaining momentum.

Construction on Boho 8 started earlier this year with the project on target for completion early in 2021.

And this week Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston donned a hard hat for a progress update and a tour of the site.

The £2.3 million project – backed by Local Growth Fund funding from the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority – is the latest element of the hugely successful Boho quarter, and is the first development within Middlesbrough’s Digital City project.

The bespoke modular units will provide additional space for rapidly expanding companies in Boho One and Boho 5, as well as attracting new digital and creative businesses to the area.

The four one- to three-storey bespoke designed modular cantilevered buildings range from 1,000 to 3,000 sq ft and will be delivered by main contractor M-AR Off Site, with completion due in winter.

The development to the rear of Boho One will be complemented by modern contemporary external communal space with a high street feel.

Foundations are now in place at the Sussex Street site to accommodate the development’s state-of-the-art modular buildings and steel ‘V’ columns.

Four individual office blocks have been erected consisting of 18 off-site constructed modules installed over a five-day period, with roof works nearing completion.

Staircases have been installed and cladding work is under way, with landscaping work due early in the new year.

Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston said: “The progress on site is amazing since our last visit – Boho 8 is literally taking shape before our eyes.

“It’s a key step in £250 million of investment that will propel Middlesbrough to become the UK’s number one digital city. 

“These are tough times, but in this digital and creative hotspot we can really see the sort of aspiration and ambition that will shape Middlesbrough’s future prosperity.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “It’s fantastic to see the progress being made on the new Boho 8.

“The creative and digital sectors are key growth sectors and both are playing a huge part in my plan for jobs – a plan that is delivering good-quality, well paid jobs for local people across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool.

“We already have some world-class creative businesses right here on our doorstep, from games studios working on the next blockbuster for the likes of Microsoft to firms developing ground-breaking fully immersive VR technologies.

“These hugely successful companies, and many more like them, need modern space in order to grown and create jobs, and that’s exactly what Boho 8 will provide.

“The impact of the coronavirus has been unprecedented, but we are still investing and doing all we can to support existing businesses and protect jobs across the region while also providing the essential infrastructure to grow our economy.”  

M-AR’s Partnerships & Business Development Director Amanda Grimbleby said: “We are proud to be able to deliver this exciting and prestigious project at Boho 8 in collaboration with Middlesbrough Council using ‘Modern Methods of Construction’.

“Whilst we commenced works on site in Middlesbrough in August this year, we also commenced the off-site construction process simultaneously in our lean manufacturing facility, with the 18 lorry loads of 49m2 individual modules completed and quality checked ready for delivery to the site only eight weeks later.

“With project completion targeted this winter, this just demonstrates the speed in which off-site construction can accelerate the delivery of such projects, and this has all been able to happen during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The innovative design created by Seymour Architecture will provide light, bright and inspiring office spaces for ambitious and creative digital businesses in the region and being part of making this happen is inspiring in itself.

“I would like to personally thank the forward thinking team at Middlesbrough Council for embracing modern methods of construction.”

Tony Maw, Technical Support Manager with framework provider Consortium Procurement Construction (CPC), said: “To me, it’s all about collaborative working and early engagement with the client and appointed company, to show what our Modular Buildings solution can achieve.

“I think Boho 8 is a great example of this achievement working alongside Middlesbrough Council.”

The steel industry undoubtedly played a fundamental role in forging the region’s global reputation, but it is the digital sector which is at the forefront of an exciting future.

That is the view of Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen and Professor Jane Turner OBE DL, Teesside University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Enterprise and Business Engagement), who are emphasising the impact the digital and tech sector has on the region – both in terms of job creation and economic value.

Mayor Houchen was speaking as Teesside University’s internationally renowned Animex Festival, now in its 21st year, got under way once again.

Things are a little different this year, with activities taking place online, but Animex has still attracted some of the biggest names in the games and animation industry to deliver a series of inspiring talks, workshops and screenings, which are all free to attend.

One of the highlights of this year’s Animex Festival is the Animex Industry Day, taking place on 30 September, which brings together key figures to discuss the impact of Covid-19 and how the games, animation and visual effects industry has responded. Dr Jo Twist OBE, Chief Executive of the Association for UK Interactive Entertainment, will chair the discussion, which is aimed at educators and people in the industry.  Sign up to the Animex Industry Day.

The Tees Valley digital sector accounted for an estimated 5,340 jobs in 2020, and a further 2,270 jobs across the supply chain.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “Our digital sector is home to some world-leading businesses doing some incredible things across the globe. It is one of our key sectors, responsible for employing thousands of people and delivering more than half a billion pounds into our economy each year.

“People know Teesside steel helped build the world in the past and now they are hearing more and more about how we are driving forward innovation and the technologies of the future.

“The sector will play a huge role as we recover our economy post-coronavirus. We need to be ready to capitalise on opportunities that the new normal brings as we see a further shift towards things like remote working, online learning and digitalisation.

“There are companies here in Teesside working on the next blockbuster for the likes of Microsoft and Animex shows that if you want to get into games design, animation or visual effects, you don’t have to move away from the area.”

Teesside University’s Animex Festival is one of the world’s largest and longest running festivals of animation and computer games and is always a highlight in the Teesside University Calendar. This year it has launched an exciting new partnership with the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority, working together to use Animex’s reputation and profile to continue to promote and  develop the Tees Valley’s burgeoning digital sector and establish the region as a hub for digital innovation, growth, enterprise and employability.

Teesside University is well-versed in this area. Since starting in 2001, its DigitalCity initiative has helped over 650 digital and creative businesses, creating 254 new companies and 518 jobs. In the last year, the University has worked with 43 separate digital organisations, completing 62 projects and, since 2016, its Launchpad scheme has launched 28 digital organisations, creating 57 jobs in the digital industry.

Professor Turner OBE DL, said: “The digital and technology sector is of huge significance to the region and Teesside University has, and continues to play, a leading role in its growth and success by providing the talent, research and business creating opportunities.”

“Animex showcases some of the games and animation industries’ brightest lights and future stars sharing their knowledge, ideas and experiences. We are delighted to be hosting Animex 2020 in partnership with the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority.”

Mayor Houchen added: “The creative side of this sector is hugely important and we are delighted to be working with Teesside University to bring Animex back for its 21st year. Brilliant guests who started their careers in Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool will inspire our up-and-coming talent, while experts in animation and gaming from around the world will pass on their knowledge and experience.

“Each year, Animex helps us increase our profile even more and highlight that we are leading the way for digital, while creating jobs and driving economic growth.”

Animex runs until 2 October. Find out more about the event and the various activities taking place.

World-leading digital business Big Bite has relocated to Albert North to accommodate its
future growth.

The enterprise WordPress agency, which counts Amnesty International, The Times and The Wall Street Journal as clients, is the only WordPress VIP Gold partner in the UK and one of only nine in the world.

The move is an essential milestone for the company as it will enable the team to fulfil ambitious growth plans by hiring in excess of 20 staff in the next three years from the local area.

Iain McPherson, CEO and founder of Big Bite, said; “We had been looking for office space for some time, and had explored a number of options to accommodate our planned growth.

“We knew we wanted to stay local, ideally within the town’s digital and creative cluster, and Albert North provided the perfect solution.”

Boasting floor space of over 6,000 sq ft, the new first-floor office has been designed to meet the company’s long-term needs. A range of spaces and meeting rooms have been included to encourage collaboration across the company. Inspiration for the interior has been drawn from the team’s experiences in the US, including offices in New York, San Francisco and Texas.

The space will also be used for networking and training events, which includes the company’s Engineer training program which launched earlier in the year to train aspiring developers.

Big Bite has been committed to working with as many local businesses and tradespeople throughout the office fit-out. They enlisted the help of interior design specialists Cocoon & Bauer to design the space, Hartlepool based Big Interiors for the furniture, and Fox Creative and Smooth Print for signage.

“Our business operates globally, but our roots are firmly in Middlesbrough,” added Iain.

“The fact Albert North has been designed to specifically attract ambitious digital and creative businesses working alongside smaller independents and food outlets made it even more appealing for us.

“Even with the current backdrop of Covid-19, we’re very lucky to be continuing with our recruitment plans thanks to a number of new projects. We’re always on the lookout for talented web developers, and a full list of vacancies are on our website, bigbite.net.”

The rebirth of the town’s historic quarter has gone from strength to strength since Albert Road was transformed by Jomast into Albert North almost two years ago. With support from Middlesbrough Council, the area has benefited from significant regeneration with many of the town’s iconic buildings renovated to expand the digital cluster and create a bustling commercial district.

Mark Hill, commercial property director at Jomast, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Big Bite to 16/26.

“The fact that this world-leading business has chosen Albert North as its new home is testament to the expanding digital and creative hub we have created.

“Since regeneration of the area started, we have welcomed numerous other high-profile businesses, including Mabo and Salesfire.

“All the upper floor space at 16/26 is now fully occupied, and our focus remains on letting the ground-floor units which are suitable for a variety of uses such as food and beverage operators, independent retailers as well as office space.

Bespoke male groomers, King B, are also a recent addition to one of our ground-floor units alongside Cocoon & Bauer, Pie Jackers, Alkaline Kitchen and Ananda Wellbeing
they are creating a vibrant business community.”

Businesses relocating to Albert North can take advantage of an incentive scheme which includes perks such as high-speed broadband, rent and rate incentives, free public health initiatives for all staff and a town centre loyalty card with exclusive discounts. Anyone interested in leasing units should contact Jomast directly on 01642 666 936 or visit the Albert North website for more details.

Pictured: (L-R) Big Bite’s chief engineering officer Mark Goodyear, agency lead Sarah McCormick, and chief executive officer Iain McPherson in the new premises on Albert Road.

The inaugural Tees Tech Awards were described as a “fantastic endorsement of the local digital sector” as Mabo won the big company gong, Salesfire won two categories while Dominic Lusardi and Lee Hutchinson received the big individual accolades in Thursday night’s long-awaited virtual event.

The Tees Tech Awards were streamed as live during a 90-minute show on YouTube – with ecstatic winners celebrating across 11 categories.

Organised by Tees Business magazine, in association with DigitalCity and Middlesbrough Digital, the awards were originally scheduled to be held in April in Wynyard Hall’s Grand Marquee but were postponed and rearranged due to the Covid pandemic.

Instead they were held virtually, with winners hearing the good news from award sponsors via a series of Zoom calls, hosted by former BBC Tees presenter John Foster.

More than 90 entries were received with five sponsors giving their scores across five categories each to ensure there were no kingmakers in the most democratic of “judging” systems.

Taking the coveted Company of the Year trophy – sponsored by headline sponsors DigitalCity and Middlesbrough Digital – was Middlesbrough-based pay-per-click specialists Mabo who impressed judges with their unique methods, flourishing worldwide reputation and increased workforce.

Mabo beat off stiff competition from fellow Middlesbrough firm, game development specialists SockMonkey Studios and Stockton-based Tascomp, experts in control and monitoring systems.

Mabo marketing director James Lees said: “As a very proud Teesside company, we’re humbled to be named the best company across the local digital industry.

“Our competitive edge maybe sealed the deal but we wouldn’t be where we are now without our loyal staff. They all care deeply about Mabo and we fight as a team for everything that we achieve. We’re all local and the directors are Boro-born and bred.”

He added: “It’s time for a collaborative voice. The Tech Awards have showcased the incredible talent our region has and it’s time to shout about our achievements. If Mabo, as Company of the Year, can be the figureheads for that voice, that would be amazing.”

The Business Leader accolade, sponsored by Punch Robson Solicitors, went to Lee Hutchinson who has led the growth of Middlesbrough’s Double Eleven into one of the region’s biggest game development studios, employing 85 people. Lee triumphed over fellow finalists Chloe Clover of Wander Films and Tom Howsam of Paid.

Dom Lusardi, of animators Animmersion, secured the Tech Ambassador title, sponsored by Cornerstone Business Solutions, thanks to his devotion to the region’s tech sector, constantly striving to support and raise its profile and support others within the industry. Worthy finalists were James Lees of Mabo and Darren Falcus of SockMonkey Studios.

Another Middlesbrough firm, Salesfire, triumphed in two categories – Innovation and Best Newcomer.

For the Innovation Award, sponsored by Tracerco, they held off fellow finalists Intasite and Everflow Group, while the Best Newcomer category – sponsored by Recognition PR – saw them win for a second time despite strong competition from Wander Films and Aero Commerce.

Calm Digital and Intasite were joint winners of the Tech Partnership trophy, sponsored by Communicate Technology PLC, ahead of bids from Sapere and Absolute Antibody and a second entry from Intasite, this time in partnership with PD Ports.

Other worthy winners included Code 4000 who won the Tech For Good category, sponsored by Domino’s Teesside, beating off competition from Stockton’s Adeo Group and Guisborough-based ItchyRobot. Working at Stockton’s HMP Holme House, Code 4000 teaches offenders coding skills to increase their chances of finding employment on release, reducing their risk of reoffending.

Appamondo claimed the Davies Tracey-sponsored Tech Exporter Award, triumphing over Nicander and Carbon.  

Wander Film’s Chloe Clover was “stoked” to be named Rising Star in the Middlesbrough College-sponsored category, pipping Ben Doherty of Tascomp and Ryan Jessop of Carbon to the post.

Everflow Water – based in Middlesbrough and Wynyard – took the top spot from Psyche and CPD Bodies in the Digital Transformation category, sponsored by Baldwin’s Group.

Kraken IM won the Small Business category, sponsored by Jacksons Law Firm, despite stiff competition from Wander Films and Calm Digital. Kraken have won contracts with global giants Boeing and Exxon-Mobil.

Martin Walker, of organisers Tees Business, described the awards as “a fantastic endorsement of the local digital sector”.

He said: “It was clear to see what the awards meant to the winners and finalists but this was really about celebrating all that’s good in a sector that’s blooming but too often under the radar. These awards have helped to change all that – and we aim to keep it going year after year.”

Fellow organiser Dave Allan said the awards represented “a victory for determination and creativity in the face of adversity”, with the awards having been rearranged several times to adapt to the changing challenges of Covid.

“It wasn’t the occasion we originally envisaged but we’re confident the awards will stay long in the memory and have absolutely delivered on all that we wanted to achieve.”

Work officially started today on the latest phase of Middlesbrough’s ambitious Boho campus.

Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston was joined on site by Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen and Partnerships and Business Development Director Amanda Grimbleby of M-AR Off Site to get construction on Boho 8 under way.

The £2.3 million project – backed by Local Growth Fund funding from the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority – builds on the hugely successful Boho quarter, and is the first development within Middlesbrough’s Digital City project.

The bespoke modular units will provide additional space for rapidly expanding companies in Boho 1 and Boho 5, as well as attracting new digital and creative businesses to the area.

The four one-to-three storey bespoke designed modular cantilevered buildings range from 1,000 to 3,000 sq ft and will be delivered by main contractor M-AR Off Site, with completion due in winter.

The development to the rear of Boho 1 will be complemented by modern contemporary external communal space with a high street feel.

Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston said: “Middlesbrough is firmly on track to becoming the digital city of the UK, and Boho 8 is another leap towards that ambition.

“It’s another step in a £250 million investment in this flourishing sector which is already putting Middlesbrough on the map nationally and internationally.

“Boho is a key digital and creative hotspot, and it symbolises the sort of aspiration and ambition that will deliver jobs and prosperity for many years to come.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “Our fantastic digital businesses are continuing to go from strength to strength. 

“As we start recovering from the unprecedented impact of the coronavirus this development will support my plan for jobs by bringing new, world-leading companies to the region and helping home-grown talent grow and thrive.  

“I’m delighted to be supporting Mayor Preston’s vision to see Middlesbrough become the UK’s digital powerhouse and there’s plenty more to come for this inspiring and important scheme.”

Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government Simon Clarke MP said: “I am delighted we have reached the latest milestone of this ambitious project which will cement Middlesbrough’s growing reputation as a thriving hub for the digital sector – backed by up to £2million in Government funding through the Local Growth Fund.

“This funding will give vital support to the Digital City project, attracting more jobs into the area, helping Middlesbrough’s digital and creative sectors to grow and ensuring the area continues to be a great place to live, work and study.”

M-AR Off Site Partnerships and Business Development Director Amanda Grimbleby said: “We are proud to be able to deliver this exciting and prestigious ‘Modern Methods of Construction’ project at Boho in collaboration with Middlesbrough Council.

“Whilst we start on site here today in Middlesbrough, we also commence the off site construction simultaneously in our factory in preparation to deliver 18 individual lorry loads of 49m2 modules to the site at the end of September with completion of the project in winter.

“This just demonstrates the speed in which off site construction can accelerate the delivery of such projects and this has all been able to happen during the COVID-19 pandemic. “The innovative design will provide light, bright and inspiring office spaces for ambitious and creative digital businesses in the region and being part of making this happen is inspiring in itself”.

Are you a business in the digital or technology sector which is looking to grow overseas?

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Join the ‘Doing Business in Indonesia with Digital Tech focus’ webinar which is being held on 15 July from 9am to 10am.

This webinar is the precursor to a Northern Power House Virtual Trade Mission to Indonesia scheduled for August and September which will allow businesses to meet face to face with potential suppliers, partners and buyers.

Following the webinar, businesses will be invited to apply for a place on the Virtual Trade Mission. If successful the businesses will then become part of an exciting DIT initiative which will give you the chance to attend seminars and briefings on how to pitch successfully online and ultimately meet to meet face to face via video link with potential buyers or partners on the ground in Indonesia.

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Find out more about the webinar.