Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is launching a TechNorth, a new scheme to co-ordinate the existing digital technology expertise of Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool and Newcastle.
The government will be investing in an organisation that will promote TechNorth internationally to encourage global businesses to invest in the North.
TechNorth is born out of the Northern Futures project - in which Nick Clegg is asking people in the North what our Northern cities need to do in order to work together to compete globally and to boost their economic growth.
Nick will officially launch TechNorth during a visit to Sheffield today (Thursday 23 October).
The scheme brings together the best in tech industries from across the North to create an internationally renowned virtual agency.
TechNorth will serve to do what Techcity had done for East London and put TechNorth on the international map.
It will help to attract tech inward investors to the North and support existing tech businesses to grow by pooling ideas and resources, across local boundaries. The aim is to position the North as a place where the digital tech industry thrives.
Nick Clegg said:
"We've listened to local business leaders and there is a clear need for us to seize an opportunity to capitalise on existing tech talent by creating a Northern Tech Hub to rival Berlin, New York, or Shanghai.
"My ambition, over time, is to double the number of tech jobs in the North, creating a stronger economy. To put this in context - it is estimated there are about 200,000 ICT jobs in the region currently.
"Time is of the essence, so I'm in Sheffield today to bring creative minds from across the North together so that we can grow this from an idea into reality.
"As a first step, I am announcing the creation of TechNorth, an agency tasked with promoting a world-class tech cluster spanning five cities in the North."