Conference calls on East Anglian businesses to back Norwich’s technology sector
PUBLISHED: 11:56 19 November 2014 | UPDATED: 11:56 19 November 2014
Copyright Archant Norfolk 2014
Businesses and software companies must forge closer ties to help the region’s technology sector reach its full potential.
• Jon Skeet, Google software engineer, will deliver a keynote speech on how he achieves the balance between his passion for technology and day to day work.
• Peter White, a software commissioner, will provide insight into why software developers must always show deep understanding of the user experience.
• Burkhard Kloss, former investment banker at Lehmans and Barclays Capital, will explore how technology fits into the way investment banks are structured.
• Ali Clabburn (pictured), managing director of Norwich-based Liftshare, will speak about ‘how to get the best from developers when you haven’t got a clue’ – an exploration of what his business needs in order to survive and thrive.
That is the message underpinning the Norfolk Developers Conference (nor(DEV):con) – an event showcasing the important role tech firms can play within the East Anglian economy.
Spearheaded by organiser Paul Grenyer, the conference will feature keynote speakers from Google and Liftshare, while bringing together local businesses with more than 180 software experts.
It comes amid renewed calls to champion Norwich as a centre for technological excellence to help attract the skilled workers needed for tech companies to grow.
“We are proud to be leading the way with another conference which is the first of its kind in Norfolk,” Mr Grenyer said. “nor(DEV):con acknowledges that the technology industry needs to reach out to the wider business community to show how the latest technological advances can add value for businesses.
Paul Grenyer was born and raised in Norwich. He graduated from Leeds University with a degree in electronic and computer engineering in 2000 and has since worked for a number of software companies and big corporations, including Lehman Brothers, Barclays Capital and Aviva.
In 2012, he helped form the tech community group SyncNorwich and ran SyncConf, Norfolk’s first Agile and Tech conference. He went on to create Norfolk Developers, before re-branding the winter conference to NorDevCon in February this year.
Mr Grenyer formed Naked Element with Matthew Wells in 2012 – a start up building enterprise software and cross-platform mobile apps for start-ups, SMEs and larger corporations.
They are currently developing a web-based ordering system for Norwich-based glass specialists ID Systems.
“It has become increasingly apparent that the worlds of technology and business cannot stand alone, and our speakers from both industries will highlight how technology is necessary for a thriving and growing local economy.
“This progress helps cement Norfolk reputation as a burgeoning centre of technical excellence.”
The conference – being held at the King’s Centre, King Street, Norwich, on February 27 – will feature a series of presentations exploring the challenges facing software development and the tech industry.
In addition, firms will be able to attend interactive sessions demonstrating how technological advances can add efficiency and value to a company’s business model.
Mr Grenyer, who held the first conference three years ago with tech community group Sync Norwich, hopes the business theme will lead to enterprise and collaboration with Norfolk and Suffolk companies.
“James Duez (chairman of Norwich-based software company Rainbird) suggested getting a more business focus to get developers and business leaders in the same place,” he said.
“We talked about having a second day, but we came to the conclusion that we had to have it all in one place to get the two sides together, but at the same time we wanted to grow the conference.”
Mr Grenyer believes the event will boost the profile of Norwich’s technology sector and help bring in the talented workers it needs for growth.
“There are companies turning up to technology community groups looking for developers, but are struggling to find them.
“And it is not just good developers, but developers as a whole. We have hundreds of successful start-ups, and Norwich is a great place to live, but we need more people.”
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