Posted on Wednesday 11 September 2013 by Ulster Business

Digital Summit

Momentum's Rob McConnell with Summit sponsor Elvenna Graham of Ulster Bank.

Momentum has long been the voice of the Digital sector in Northern Ireland, but about 18 months ago we decided to up our profile, and to push harder for a more integrated government policy towards the growth of the sector.

The Digital Summit, sponsored by the Ulster Bank, which is due to take place on September 25, is the outworking of that decision, and if we get it right it will lead to the creation of 20,000 new jobs over the next five to ten years.

The Summit is an ambitious attempt to bring all of the main stakeholders in the digital sector, in government, in education and in the wider business community to discuss working together to create thousands of new and sustainable jobs in the near future.
That involves looking at the three main issues which Momentum has outlined as key throughout this initiative:

• Access to skills
• Access to funding
• Access to markets

Since the publication of our manifesto in January, which outlined a series of proposals to take these issues forward, we have met with a range of stakeholders, including leading FDIs, smaller indigenous companies, educational stakeholders, government departmental representatives and others to gauge their reaction to the manifesto and to take its work forward. We are in the process of a series of proposals which are cognisant of the excellent work already going on across all departments in Northern Ireland, and to bring them together into a new strategy proposition.

Some of the elements of that proposition were presented to representatives of all relevant departments recently, and will now be further developed as a result of feedback from that engagement. We will also have input from international IT consultants Gartner, all of which will then be presented as a 'Proto strategy paper' on the morning of the summit for discussion, feedback and refinement throughout the day.

A representative of each of the government departments present will be given the opportunity to speak at the plenary session, to react to the paper presented by the Momentum team, and to outline their approach to tackling the issues as they see them.

Further to that we will have a series of speeches from various Ministers who have kindly given us their time on the day, and a range of break-out sessions which will look at the areas of skills, funding and markets.

At the end of it all we hope to have a series of proposals which will lead to a new partnership between the Digital sector, government, and education which will drive forward a period of unprecedented growth in Northern Ireland. The Momentum Digital Summit is a major event in the business calendar, with the potential to yield a new dawn for the sector, for our society and for all our people.

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