Tees Tech Awards 2021 Programme - Page 19

FINALISTS
SPONSORED BY TEES VALLEY BUSINESS HUB

Tees Tech Unsung Hero

DARREN FALCUS
( SockMonkey Studios )
Director of business development at Middlesbrough ’ s SockMonkey Studios , Darren has been part of the Teesside tech scene since the early 1980s .
Working tirelessly for the region , and with a contact list that is practically the “ who ’ s who ?” of the games industry , it ’ s estimated that over the years , Darren has almost single-handedly contributed over $ 1 billion to the Teesside economy via gaming development contracts and job roles within his companies .
While he could have moved away from the area for much larger pay and impressive roles , Darren has stuck to his Teesside roots , remaining humble , keeping his head down and getting on with the job .
STEVE DOUGAN
( Teesside Launchpad , Teesside University )
As head of enterprise at Teesside University , Steve developed the Launchpad Fuel Accelerator Programme after securing funds from a private investor .
The investment money has afforded people who could easily fall through the funding / investment gaps the opportunity to become selfemployed .
The programme has changed lives , with many of our growth businesses ( Wander Films , Radical Forge , Foxbyte ) being as successful as they are because of Launchpad and Steve .
It is fair to say that Steve has had huge impact on business owner growth , business start-up rates , business survival rates and investment rates . His and his team ’ s legacy will last decades into the future .
PROFESSOR ZULFIQUR ALI
( Teesside University )
Professor at the Healthcare Innovation Centre , Centre for Digital Innovation and Centre for Rehabilitation , Zulf carries out research on state-of-the-art digital technologies and media for health , business , engineering , social science and education .
Zulf has co-ordinated a number of EU projects , including developing a point-of-care device for deep vein thrombosis . Most recently , he led the Teesside University activity in the Horizon 2020 GateOne project on smart system integration for SMEs , as well as a number of InnovateUK projects .
Behind the scenes , Zulf is designing and producing products and prototypes which will go into the marketplace and benefit the local area - and the world in some cases - without any recognition or publicity .
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