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  • The (truly awesome) TechTown Partners are: Barnsley / Basingstoke / Cēsis / Clermont Ferrand / Dubrovnik / Gävle / Limerick / LOOP City Nyíregyháza / San Sebastian / Siracusa

    With thanks to our URBACT experts and colleagues, our facilitators and our speakers who’ve all supported us and challenged us over the last two years.

  • Welcome to TechTown Digital Futures: Adapt or Die, the final event sharing the learning and action plans from the URBACT TechTown Action Planning Network. This event is an exciting culmination of two years of hard work, difficult conversations, open minds and innovative thinking. Led by the lead partner city, Barnsley, our 11 TechTown cities have worked together at a transnational level and also locally with their stakeholders to delve into the digital economy and explore its opportunities and challenges - not just for us, but for all cities in Europe. We’ve looked at everything through a lens of what can small and medium sized cities do to create more digital jobs and businesses?

    Throughout our process we’ve faced the challenge of venturing into the unknown. There isn’t a huge amount of policy and good practice out there about the digital economy; this is a sector that moves and shifts organically, that challenges the status quo through disruption and that changes rapidly. Despite our best intentions, cities are not universally known for our agility but actually we have found that smaller cities are perhaps better placed sometimes than larger ones to respond to such shifting sands with less hierarchy, less noise and more focus.

    Today is a day to share our future plans and our ambitions for our cities, answer the question of ‘what can cities do?’ and to mark this moment in our TechTown journey. This journey will continue with TechPlace.Online, a new community of practice and URBACT capitalisation project launching this summer that will connect anyone who wants to see cities grow more digital jobs and businesses.

    Enjoy, participate and watch our tech towns of the future in action!

    Tracey Johnson, Lead Partner Alison Partridge, Lead Expert

  • 09:00 Arrivals and Registrations

    09:30 Welcome and introductions Tracey Johnson, Barnsley (Lead Partner) and Alison Partridge (Lead Expert) Sally Kneeshaw, URBACT Programme Expert, VIP, Barnsley

    09:45 Setting the scene Tales fromTechTown, Tracey and Alison

    10:15 3-4 minute pitches from TechTown partners Barnsley, Clermont Ferrand, Dubrovnik, Siracusa, Gävle, Limerick pitch their Integrated Action Plans. Up to 2 questions following each pitch

    11:00 Break

    11:30 3-4 minute pitches from TechTown partners LOOP City, San Sebastian, Basingstoke, Nyíregyháza, Cesis, pitch their Integrated Action Plans. Up to 2 questions following each pitch

    12:15 Feedback from and panel discussion with digital and tech experts – What more could TeamTechTown do to grow digital jobs? Moderated by Alison Partridge

    Tanya Suarez (IoT Tribe), Rich Brett (WeLikeToday), Ola Wallberg (KickStart and Fiber Optik Valley), John Spindler (Capital Enterprise)

    13:00 Lunch and networking

    14:00 Feedback from and panel discussion with digital and tech experts – What more could TeamTechTown do to grow digital talent and skills? Moderated by Tracey Johnson

    Craig Burgess (Genius Division), Bela Kezy (Megakom), Dr Janice O’Connell (Mid West Tech Ambassador), Elina Ingelande, Find IT

    14:45 What is a TechTown? Presentation exploring the key elements of a successful Digital Ecosystem and focusing on the role of the city

    15:30 Break

    16:00 What next for TechTowns across the EU? Short fireside chat moderated by Sally Kneeshaw (URBACT Programme Expert)

    Tracey Johnson and Nuala Morgan (Capitalisation Manager, URBACT)

    16:30 Digital City Futures - Adapt or Die Tracey Johnson and Alison Partridge

    17:00 Close


  • Tracey Johnson Tracey is project director of the Digital Media Centre (DMC) in Barnsley, UK, which is a successful landmark hub for the digital and creative sector at the heart of a new and ambitious Digital Campus plan. As well as supporting digital and creative businesses to start and scale up, the DMC leads on supporting other sectors to digitalise and innovate through a range of programmes and initiatives, such as Connected Manufacturing and the IoT Tribe Accelerator (, currently being delivered in partnership with Rolls-Royce.

    Tracey leads the TechTown URBACT Action Planning network which is actively developing ways to support cities to engage with and benefit from increased digitalisation across jobs, businesses and public services. With Alison Partridge, Tracey also leads the TechPlace. Online platform, launching summer 2018, to connect digital economy enablers and supporters across Europe and capitalise on the work of the URBACT Action Planning Networks.

    [email protected] Digital Media Centre

  • Alison Partridge With a focus on economic development, entrepreneurship and enterprise, Alison has extensive experience of working with pan-European networks to co-create and implement integrated policies and programmes in response to complex ever-changing challenges. Since 2009, this has included being Lead Expert of 3 URBACT networks, most recently being TechTown. Alison led URBACT’s capitalisation work on ‘More Jobs Better Cities’ in 2012/3 and on ‘Job Generation for a Jobless Generation’ in 2015.

    Over the past 2 years Alison has led on Projects and Partnerships for Capital Enterprise - a membership organisation for those who nurture, advise, mentor, accommodate and invest in entrepreneurs in London. She has developed an innovation and knowledge exchange programme in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning and is currently developing an ambitious ‘Diversity in Tech’ programme which will increase the numbers of BAME and female founders in London’s tech start-up community. Alison is a member of the Mayor of London’s Workspace Providers’ Board which has affordable workspace as a key priority. [email protected] Aurora

  • Sally Kneeshaw Sally Kneeshaw is director of a knowledge management consultancy, specialising in innovation, sustainability and inclusion. Her career spans over 25 years in the public, private and non-profit sectors working for the European Commission, cities, interregional programmes, international networks and NGOs. Sally is currently an URBACT Programme Expert supporting exchange and capacity building on sustainable, integrated development for European cities. Sally’s interests include urban policy, diversity, gender equality and creative approaches to learning and leadership.

    [email protected] Kneeshaw Consulting

  • Nuala Morgan Nuala joined URBACT in February 2017 as Head of Unit for Capitalisation and Communication. She is responsible for developing and implementing the programme’s capitalisation strategy, as well as coordinating the work of the Cap’ & Com’ team. Graduated from Trinity College, Dublin with an honours degree in Business and Politics, Nuala has always had a European outlook. An Erasmus year in Strasbourg, France, saw her involved in the launch of, the online European magazine and for whom she later worked as Communication & Project manager. Before moving to URBACT, Nuala was responsible for communication at Interreg Europe and Interreg IVC, also dedicated to exchange and learning across Europe.

    [email protected] URBACT

  • Rich Brett Formally Creative Director of a large international architecture and design consultancy, Rich founded We Like Today in 2007, with the intent to, as with every project, liberate everyday life, through the creation of meaningful architecture, interior and environmental graphic design. Drawing people and inspiration together, to create a present worth remembering, as well as a differentiated and valuable social and cultural capital.

    Clients that Rich has worked with include Sea Lanes (National Open Water Swimming Centre, Brighton) U+I Group PLC (Office interiors/Placemaking, UK), Google (Worthwhile/Meanwhile, London), Kollider (Startup eco- system, Sheffield), YES. YES. YES (Co- Living/Working community, Hamburg), The Dartington Experiment (Retail/ Residential/ Craft destination, Devon) and KINGDOM (No waste-leisure destination, UK).

    [email protected] WeLikeToday

  • Béla Kézy Béla graduated in 1992 from the Faculty of International Relations at the Budapest University of Economics (MsC). He is the founder and managing director of MEGAKOM Development Consultants, Hungary, focusing on regional and urban development.

    Béla is an urban development specialist working with cities across Hungary. He is also an URBACT thematic expert. In his work he uses participative co-creation methods extensively. He has strong facilitation and presentation skills, and he believes that effective communication is the key to successful (urban) change processes.

    [email protected] MEGAKOM

  • John Spindler John Spindler is the CEO of Capital Enterprise, the founder and partner on the London Co-Investment Fund, the founder and partner of AI Seed and as such a leading member of the London’s world class start-up cluster. John is also an Associate of University College London and a mentor and advisor for Tech Stars London.

    John has an MBA from Leeds University Business School and a BA Hons in Philosophy & Politi