Virtual Dynamites awards celebrate best of North East tech scene

Awards celebrating the North East’s best technology organisations have taken place virtually as the coronavirus continues to make physical events impossible.

The Dynamites celebrated a number of companies that have responded to the Covid pandemic, with winners including the NHS Business Services Authority and Newcastle University’s Get PPE NCL project, which brought together Newcastle, Northumbria and Sunderland universities to design and support production of protective equipment for the NHS.

Project of the Year (corporate) was won by Sage for its Job Retention Scheme (JRS) Module and Covid Response, while the Outstanding Achievement Award went to HMRC, for its work on the Covid self-employed Income Support project.

There was also moving acceptance speech from Fareeha Usman, winner of the Rising Star Award, who dedicated her award to all women in tech.

She said: “This is a reminder that tech is for women as much as men. The award is not for me but every woman in the sector, particularly those from a Black, Asian or minority background. You can be a woman in tech and this award is proof of that.”

Around 200 people logged in to the awards, which were hosted by actor Daymon Brittain.

Organisers sent packs of sweet and savoury treats from Food and Drink North East to ensure they could replicate the party spirit of previous events.

Charlie Hoult, chair of organisers Dynamo, said; “Our seventh annual awards were very different from previous events, but were great fun, and attracted more entries than ever before. Importantly, they recognised the innovation and endeavour of north east companies, teams and organisations on the frontline against Covid.”

He added: “It has been a brilliantly upbeat event, with some remarkable teams being rightly rewarded for amazing work. Much of this work will be of global significance for years to come. I’d like to thank all of our tech companies fighting on the frontline during the Covid crisis.”

The award winners were:

* Skills Developer: Baltic Apprenticeships;

* Growth Explosion: Everflow Group;

* International Success Story: VEO;

* Rising Star: Fareeha Usman, Being Woman;

* Project of the Year (corporate): Sage Payroll – Job Retention Scheme Module and COVID 19 Response;

* Project of the Year (not for profit/public sector): Newcastle University – Get PPE NCL;

* Tech for Good (sponsored by tombola): NHS Business Services Authority;

* Diversity & Inclusion: TechUPWomen;

* Best use of Data : Wordnerds/DWP;

* Outstanding Achievement: HMRC;

* People’s Choice: Northumbria University

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