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Business Engagement Officer – Sunderland Software City

Position: Business Engagement Officer
Location: Sunderland Software City
Salary: £28k - £34k

Start Date: TBC
Closing Date: 16 November 2016

Background:
Digital Catapult is one of eleven national catapults set up and funded by Innovate UK, focussed on developing the UK’s economy. Their key objective is to help SMEs to grow and scale faster, and help larger corporates in their digital transformation. It does this through programmes of collaboration and open innovation, aligned to a network of local centres.

As part of a network of four local Digital Catapult Centres, Sunderland Software City operates the North East and Tees Valley Digital Catapult. The focus for this local catapult centre is the data value chain and those technologies that underpin exploitation of data, including immersive technologies such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR).

The North East and Tees Valley Digital Catapult are working alongside Gateshead Council who are have established VRTGO Labs; a cluster growth programme and physical studio space located in Gateshead. The key objective of VRTGO Labs can be broken down into both supply and demand based activity. On the supply side, VRTGO Labs seeks to bring together the best of UK based VR/AR/MR companies, Universities and freelancers to collaborate on the development and commercial application of immersive technologies. On the demand side, VRTGO Labs seeks to educate the wider business community on the competitive advantage that can be gained from harnessing these new technologies.

The VRTGO Labs programme underpins development of a Northern Centre for Emerging Technologies which is expected to open in Gateshead early 2018. The Northern Centre for Emerging Technologies will comprise office accommodation, combined with a Research & Development testing facility, and access to specialist emerging technologies equipment. Emerging technologies have the capability to disrupt traditional industries, and bring forward new products, processes and services in major new industries. An innovation programme will encourage more businesses to start their innovation journey, and explore the potential for significant commercialisation of ideas and concepts.

Role Overview:
We are looking for someone to lead on business engagement activity, on behalf of both Sunderland Software City and Gateshead Council (50/50 allocation of time) to engage, understand and influence opportunities for collaboration between the region’s digital sector SMEs and the wider business community/corporates.

Through identification of these opportunities, you will lead on delivery of ‘challenge’ based project activity that brings together both supply and demand based companies to apply business and technology know-how to new commercial opportunities, through a collaborative process.

You will be innovative in your approach to exploring new ideas for opportunity centred projects that meet the key objectives of the North East Tees Valley Digital Catapult, Sunderland Software City and Gateshead Council (VRTGO Labs and Northern Centre for Emerging Technologies).

Duties and Responsibilities:
1. To develop and maintain strategic relationships with the region’s digital sector businesses, and the wider business community/corporates.

2. To develop and maintain strategic relationships with external stakeholders such as Universities, Government bodies, Local Enterprise Partnerships and business support organisations.

3. Work closely with the respective Digital Catapult, Sunderland Software City and Gateshead Council teams, to ensure an integrated and inclusive approach is taken to all project activity, in line with agreed strategic objectives.

4. Undertake research and analysis to maintain a comprehensive understanding of strategy and policy relating to business need & demand, and the performance of local markets.

5. Undertake research and analysis to enhance knowledge of the data value chain (and it’s components), and emerging technologies, including VR/AR/MR.

6. To develop and manage plans relating to opportunity centred projects, in partnership with Digital Catapult, Sunderland Software City and Gateshead Council.

7. Undertake monitoring and reporting requirements for both Sunderland Software City and Gateshead Council.

8. Generate case studies and PR, in conjunction with Sunderland Software City and Gateshead Council Communications Teams.

9. Deliver any other activity considered appropriate for the role, which promotes and benefits Digital Catapult, Sunderland Software City, Gateshead Council and their clients – including event attendance, partner liaison and networking.
Key Skills/Qualifications – Essential:
Knowledge of:
• Local business needs and demands, and the performance of local markets
• National and local strategies and policies relating to enterprise & industry
• National and regional business support structures, systems and services, including the role of public sector funding
• Specialist sector knowledge appropriate to the role, including supply-chain development

Experience of:
• Conducting research and analysis
• Developing, managing and delivering projects
• Working in partnership with key stakeholders and the private sector to deliver outcomes
• Using oral and written communication skills to influence people and present complex information clearly and concisely

Qualifications:
• Relevant degree or equivalent qualification
• Substantial and relevant experience may be acceptable as an alternative

Key Skills/Qualifications – Desirable:
• Previous experience of working in similar business development biased roles
• Understanding of the regional software sector
• Understanding of emerging technologies including VR/AR/MR
• Understanding of Digital Catapult strategic objectives
• Public sector experience, including knowledge of corporate procurement processes

If you have any questions please contact David Dunn on david.dunn@sunderlandsoftwarecity.com

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