Member Event: The Rise of Tech

With Kimberley Turner, Imran Anwar and Dean Benson

14 November 2023, 17:00 - 19:30

Flok Co-working Space, 20 - 26 Albert Rd, Middlesbrough, TS1 1PR

A passion for the region and the tech industry is the driving force behind the continued transformation on Teesside which is seeing the area become a vibrant and successful technology hub.

In this member event we’ll hear from three leading tech entrepreneurs, Kimberley Turner (co-owner Double Eleven), Imran Anwar (founder Alt Labs) and Dean Benson (founder Visualsoft). Our panellists will discuss their own experiences, the lessons they have learnt and the challenges they have faced whilst growing and selling some of the region’s largest and fastest growing tech businesses. As well as how each of them are helping to regenerate Middlesbrough and the surrounding areas by choosing to grow their businesses in the town, and as a result bringing some of the world’s best coders and developers to the North East.

We will learn how they have grown so quickly, the challenges and advantages of building a tech business in Teesside, how they attract talent into one of the most deprived areas of the country and what drives them to keep going.

This event will be of interest to any business owner who wants to learn more about how to make an impact in their area and how creating hubs of businesses in similar industries can benefit the local economy and contribute to company growth. 

About Our Panellists 
Kimberley Turner
Kimberley is the Finance and Commercial Director of gaming giant Double Eleven, one of the most exciting tech companies in the North East. She joined forces with her brother, Lee Hutchinson, not long after incorporation at the end of 2009. Since then the company has grown into a multi-award winning games developer and publisher employing over 375 people across two continents with a turnover in excess of £50 million. They are one of the UK's key providers of development services to the video game industry, delivering full-service visual and development solutions for their partners Microsoft, Rockstar and Bethesda, to name a few. The company has some amazing announcements coming up, so watch this space on that! Kimberley also won Tees Businesswoman of the Year in 2022.

Imran Anwar
Founded in 2017 Imran has grown Alt Labs into an award-winning (FSB's 'Largest Small Business of the Year 2023) innovation company. With more than a decade of in-depth experience in Transport, Banking, Fintech, Retail, E-commerce and FMCG, his strategic leadership has transformed Alt Labs into the go-to provider for start-ups to FTSE 100 companies. Becoming an integral pillar of the global tech start-up community nurturing the growth of over 180 start-ups, guiding them in refining their technologies and securing over £23 million in contracts and VC funding. In 2023, Imran launched Flok Co-Working Space, a pioneering community of tech start-ups and established businesses looking at the future of office space and the home of the first TedX Women outside of London. In November 2023 Flok will host a number of global speakers and an audience of 150 people. Imran was named Tees Valley BME Leader of the Year in 2021.

Dean Benson 
A passion for innovation, entrepreneurship and pushing the boundaries led Dean Benson to establish multi-award-winning Visualsoft in 1998. Headquartered in Stockton-on-Tees, and with additional offices in Newcastle, Manchester and Dubai, Visualsoft offers a complete eCommerce ecosystem focused on growing retailers online. Committed to their client’s success, Visualsoft has one polarising objective: ‘to empower retailers to give their customers the ultimate online shopping experience’. It’s from this that Dean has been able to create a culture of exploration, excellence, and collaboration, where staff are empowered to make their own decisions and grow into their roles. As the leading eCommerce agency in the region, Dean ensures Visualsoft paves the way for tech in the North East, not only by being a responsible business but by investing in the next generation of tech entrepreneurs through his work with Northern Stable and Teesside University,.


The small print - Member Events are open to all members and partners of the Forum. Two guest places are available to ‘Ultimate’ and ‘Premium’ members. Please note guests must be from your own company.

If you are a ‘Core’ member and would like to upgrade your membership, or find out more please email or call one of the team on 0191 500 7780.

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