Dynamites 2023

Dynamites Awards 2023 Finalists

We are thrilled to announce the exceptional finalists of the Dynamites Awards 2023 in association with Nigel Wright Recruitment! These remarkable individuals and organisations have demonstrated unparalleled dedication, innovation, and excellence in their respective fields, earning their well-deserved spot among the elite finalists.

The Dynamites Awards have consistently illuminated the tech industry’s path forward, recognising those who have pushed the boundaries of innovation and made a profound impact. Each finalist stands as a paragon of technological dynamism, showcasing their relentless pursuit of the cutting-edge, and leaving an indelible mark on the tech sector.

As we eagerly await the awards ceremony, we extend our heartfelt congratulations to all the finalists. Your accomplishments inspire us, and your determination motivates us to reach for the stars. Together, we celebrate innovation, leadership, and the pursuit of greatness.

Congratulations once again to the finalists of the Dynamites Awards 2023!

Sponsored by Invest Newcastle

Wordnerds – WINNER

Wordnerds is an AI-and-linguistics-led SaaS product, finding actionable insight in customer feedback. 
This year, they created a new AI specifically to help passengers in vulnerable situations in public transport. By training neural networks specifically on British Passenger Feedback, and eliminating bias which previously made use of AI on this kind of project impossible, they will ultimately make people safer as they travel around the country, and improve passenger’s lives.

NHS Business Services Authority  – HIGHLY COMMENDED

People living in our most deprived areas face some of the worst healthcare inequalities in relation to healthcare access, experiences and outcomes. In this project the NHSBSA Data Science team harnessed the power of NHSBSA data and the Core20PLUS5 approach to reducing healthcare inequalities. Working with the National Healthcare Inequalities Improvement Team at NHS England, they identified inequalities and actionable insights in the uptake of NHS prescribing and exemption schemes in England for decision makers.

Newcastle Strategic Solutions

In summary, what makes this nomination stand out is its portrayal of a comprehensive, innovative, and impactful data-driven transformation in the face of complex cybersecurity challenges. The balance between technology, human empowerment, proactive strategy, and tangible outcomes adds depth and dimension to our achievements.

Newcastle Strategic Solutions transformed its cybersecurity approach by strategically leveraging data. Facing complex cyber threats across multiple financial platforms, they centralized data integration, employed Microsoft Azure for vast data analytics, and utilized AI

Seriös Group

Our Unified Smart Buildings Data Analytics Platform for Corporate Real-Estate and Facilities Management, addresses the following use cases:

  1. Building-Occupancy
  2. Air-Quality
  3. Engineering-Optimisation
  4. Dynamic-Cleaning
  5. Energy & Sustainability

The platform contributes to providing safe and comfortable working conditions for tens of thousands of employees worldwide, ensuring optimal use of space across property-portfolios, whilst streamlining operational-efficiencies and addressing energy and sustainability targets as organisations strive towards net zero.


Sponsored by Gateshead College

Opencast – WINNER

Equality, diversity and inclusion is an absolute priority at Opencast. We work tirelessly to help achieve an equitable inclusive tech sector and open opportunities for all communities in the North East. We hope that our work shows others what can be done. Opencast has 39% women and now employs people from more than 30 nationalities. With support for all to thrive, our people rate our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion 8.6 out of 10.

Gateshead Council

The Gateshead Digital Inclusion Group has been working for over two years through a cross-sector partnership that brings together Gateshead Council, NHS, VCSEs, researchers, and businesses. Their work stands out for their commitment to meaningfully improving digital inclusion with tailored, strategic, and holistic approaches, and a focus on making life more liveable for different Gateshead communities.


Marra is a tech consultancy with a unique message and mission. Marra’s mission is to take people with no previous background in IT, and upskill them to Power Platform professionals using practical training, Microsoft certifications, and experience through client work. This initiative and the incredible working environment, contributes to the development of the North East skills pipeline, as it opens up new opportunities for anyone who want to pursue a career in IT, and provides valuable services for clients who need innovative solutions built by a diverse team.


Sponsored by LDC

Opencast – WINNER

Opencast is an independent tech consultancy specialising in designing and building user-centred digital and technology solutions. We believe in making life better through the power of people and technology. We aim to be a £125m-revenue, 1000-person business by 2026. We support the NE tech cluster and emerging businesses. With four hubs outside of Newcastle, we’re set to open in Manchester soon. We have applied for B Corp status – underlining our commitment to positive social impact.

Solution Performance Group – HIGHLY COMMENDED

SPG is a fast-growing Technology business made up of SPG Transformation, SPG Resourcing, and SPG Software. It’s changing the way companies approach digital transformation, bringing together consultancy, talent sourcing and software development. The 360 approach is driving growth with turnover rising £250,000 to £12,000,000 (2023) with a goal of making SPG a £100,000,000 company within seven years.


Our nomination highlights our remarkable 363% growth over five years, with consistent 35% annual expansion. Serving 500+ SMEs, our client-centric approach and in-house expertise have fuelled organic growth and client referrals. Proprietary national network, diverse services (IT support, cloud, connectivity, cybersecurity), and future AI integration showcase our commitment to innovation. With a projected £20 million turnover in 2023, we stand out for substantial, sustainable growth in the North East’s tech sector.

Seriös Group

Seriös Group are a boutique data and test solutions provider, specialising in systems and data-integration, data-analytics and software-testing. The business organically doubled their first, second and third-year revenues and are forecasting 50% growth this year (FY23/24).

The significant expansion of the investment and debt-free business is also reflected by its current headcount, with staff numbers growing from 7 to 55 in the past 24-months.

De-La-Rue, Jones-Lang-LaSalle, Integral-UK and Sage are among their big corporate clients.


Sponsored by Raymond James Monument

Oliver Wyman – WINNER

The huge amount of news data available is a great resource to understand a company’s risks. We partnered with a global data provider and developed a model to capture changes in a company’s risk. This signal combines cutting-edge LLMs (Large Language Models) such as Google’s BERT or OpenAI’s GPT with Oliver Wyman’s credit risk expertise, using a huge range of news sources to generate an aggregated view of company risk in a transparent, explainable way.

Infotel UK Consulting

Infotel UK’s nomination highlights the creation of deepeo, a ground-breaking solution that disrupts data compliance niche. Originating from a local bank’s GDPR needs, deepeo has evolved into a holistic toolkit, encompassing data deletion, anonymisation, and GDPR compliance. This solution empowers businesses and DPOs while safeguarding individual customer rights. With an emphasis on cost-effective alternatives and global scalability, Infotel UK’s innovative contribution shapes data ethics, legal compliance, and regional tech prominence.

Learning Curve Group

The Software Development Team at national education and training provider, Learning Curve Group, are revolutionising the EdTech landscape with its recent development, CareersPro. In response to a common Ofsted downfall which is hindering education providers’ grades, they have developed an AI-powered platform to deliver personalised careers guidance tailored to individual skills, interests and aspirations. By empowering users to explore career paths that align with their abilities and qualifications, CareersPro aims to enhance social mobility.

Vertu Motors

In an industry first, we developed a data platform and associated application to optimise used car pricing, based on multiple data points and machine learning, to optimise profitability and use of working capital across the whole group. The data platform – which will more widely serve the group as a single source of truth for all data – was built in tandem. As a result, we have massively increased the performance of our whole used car division.

Sponsored by Oliver Wyman

Kinewell Energy – TIGGOR (Technology, Innovation and Green Growth for Offshore Renewables) – WINNER

Kinewell Energy’s TIGGOR project delivered incredible economic contributions; accounting for 45% of the jobs and 58% of apprenticeships, despite receiving just 14% of the programme’s funding.  

The technology developed, KLOC, is now market leading for optimising offshore wind cable systems, with Equinor deploying it globally and SSE Renewables for their Berwick Bank project.

BusinessLive recognised Kinewell Energy as one of the most promising Northeast firms, and VentureFest declared them ‘Energy Innovation of the Year 2023’.

Greggs – The Greggs App – HIGHLY COMMENDED

The new Greggs App was developed to reward and delight our loyal customers and colleagues alike.  We identified user needs from robust insight, and a cross-team initiative delivered – and exceeded – our original project objectives and has had a significant positive impact on business performance. The digital experience now offered by the Greggs App has helped to contribute to brand health being at an all-time high, and we’re seeing record numbers of users.

Sage – Accounting and Compliance as a Service (ACaaS)

ACaaS provides accounting and compliance services, allowing partners to build their own solutions quickly and easily. Out-of-the-box capabilities include tracking income and expenditure, automatically categorising transactions, submitting VAT returns and running financial reports. Our first partnership has seen explosive growth of over 13,500 new customers in 4 month. Built on Sage’s cutting edge technology, comprising of scalable domain services accessed via API’s, we use AI/ML to auto categorise transactions, saving time and keeping customers compliant.

Vertu Motors – Vertu Insights 

In an industry first, we developed a data platform and associated application to optimise used car pricing, based on multiple data points and machine learning, to optimise profitability and use of working capital across the whole group. The data platform – which will more widely serve the group as a single source of truth for all data – was built in tandem. As a result, we have massively increased the performance of our whole used car division.

Sponsored by Leighton

Oliver Wyman – WINNER

Oliver Wyman’s Data and Analytics (DNA) team has demonstrated impressive international growth, agility, commitment to sustainability and a talented workforce spanning a diverse range of practices. They stand out for their ability to work with clients internationally, support organizations with global presence, and distribute learnings across regions to make a worthwhile global impact. Growing to six  international offices and 40% of colleagues overseas since 2018, with plans to open another international office this year demonstrate DNA’s impressive international success.


mkodo has worked with lottery and iGaming operators globally for over 20 years as a B2B supplier of mobile and front-end technology. Since 2012, we’ve worked with Canadian lotteries including OLG, WCLC and BCLC transforming their apps and websites to provide players with best-in-class user experience. Early 2023, we launched GeoLocs, our geolocation verification service to the market and it has since grown to be one of, if not the largest, provider in Ontario.


tombola has a very significant and well-established international presence, with market leading positions in Italy and Spain, growing operations in Denmark and Sweden and most recently expanding into The Netherlands too. In addition to our international teams on the ground we also have offices in Gibraltar and Malta. Our tech teams remain firmly rooted in Sunderland where we build everything in-house, with support for our international player base being provided from the Northeast by our native-speaking Customer Service teams.

Sponsored by NEBRC

Uffa Modey – hedgehog lab – WINNER

Uffa Modey is an early career software engineer who is passionate about developing innovative software and promoting ethical technology. As well as working as a Python Developer at hedgehog lab, and a Course Tutor for TechUP Women at Durham University, Uffa is also the Co-Founder and Global Lead of Digital Grassroots: a female-led non-profit working to increase digital citizenship on internet governance and digital rights among youth from underrepresented communities globally.

Corey Veitch-McAllister – Newcastle College

This nomination is for a not yet qualified teacher who has revitalised a department and inspired a new generation of learners to get involved with coding and digital. He has received numerous positive comments from learners, increased attendance in all his sessions and promoted progression from FE to HE to support the regional skills gap.

Sumit Priyadarshi – Grainger PLC

It takes both hard and soft skills to make a great data professional and in 2 years Sumit has proved he has both in abundance.  People who work with him want to work with him again and the data products he has delivered have delivered real business value.

William Taylor – Infotel UK Consulting

William is an exceptional Software Developer that landed in the company as part of the Graduate program 2022. He is known for his rapid learning, holistic project approach, and proactive engagement. His ability to grasp complex concepts, offer insights across technical and business aspects, and take initiative sets him apart. William’s contributions have significantly enhanced project outcomes, making him a standout nominee in his category.

Sponsored by Sage

Gateshead College – WINNER

Gateshead College, places learners, employers, and community at its core and their ethos of “Employment Edge” gives their students real-world education aligned with industry needs.

Their commitment to the digital sector and embedding digital skills in to everything they do is helping bridge a skills gaps, developing the work force of the future and supporting the region’s economy.


Baltic Apprenticeships

Baltic Apprenticeships is a tech and digital apprenticeship training provider offering apprenticeship programmes in Software Development, IT, Digital Marketing, and Data Analysis.

Baltic prioritises high-quality education and continuous learning; partnering with both large enterprises and SMEs to build sought-after digital skills and create career opportunities across the North East.

The training provider received an ‘OUTSTANDING’ Ofsted rating in its recent assessment, which represents its clear dedication to delivering superior education and training opportunities

NHS Business Services Authority

Against a challenging recruitment market, the DDaT teams of the NHS Business Services Authority achieved great success by exploring exciting opportunities to find new talent for the future. Instead of trying to recruit in a crowded and competitive market, they continue to explore new ways to build a strong early career cohort, who are embedded across the directorate and are supported to grow and develop within fast-paced delivery teams.

Version 1

Version 1 employs an innovative approach to attract and develop talent in the North East, ensuring equal opportunities in tech careers. Leveraging our North East base, we offer custom programmes, early career academies, tech communities and collaborate with local organisations. We prioritise retention with dedicated support, flexible arrangements and recognition. Our unique approach drives economic growth and technology advancement, inspiring careers in the North East and will increase our skilled people 2X in the region.

Sponsored by BJSS


NBS is helping construction become greener, ensuring architects and other construction professionals can use its platform to make sustainable choices and significantly lower the long-term environmental impact of building projects. At the same time, it’s become carbon neutral and picked up a gold award from the UN for its own sustainability efforts.

Kinewell Energy – HIGHLY COMMENDED

Kinewell Energy develops innovative technologies that add significant scalable value and solve sustainability challenges. Their flagship KLOC software optimises offshore wind cable layouts enabling offshore wind developers to realise cost and carbon savings.

Recent contracts include Equinor deploying KLOC across their global offshore wind pipeline, and SSE Renewables’ Berwick Bank project, highlighting real-world impact.

The strategic business model fosters scalable carbon-reducing innovations, while minimising internal emissions, earning VentureFest’s ‘Energy Innovation of the Year 2023′.

Grainger PLC

As the UK’s largest listed residential landlord committed to achieving net zero carbon, Grainger plc needs to understand how much carbon is generated through the operation of our c.10,000 homes. Our customer emissions project has given us visibility to our customers’ energy use for the first time, increasing coverage to 35% of properties in six months. Detailed data analysis enables us to spot trends in usage, prioritise interventions and informs our net zero carbon transition plans.


Opencast’s acknowledgement that previous efforts were not delivering results fast enough has spurred years of progress in just months. We have embedded sustainability as part of the organisation’s DNA through new mission, purpose and vision statements.

We have created a new practice to help clients meet their own sustainability goals, launched a biodiversity action strategy, gained bronze status from an external ESG performance audit, and are days from submitting our B Corp application.

Sponsored by Tombola

Paul McMurray – Donation Genie – WINNER

Food bank donations are declining. But the number of people relying on food banks is increasing. Especially in the North East, which has the highest % increase in food bank use in the UK. Even when items are donated, often they are not what food banks need. Donation Genie is a new tool that helps people discover which items to donate to their local food banks, so reducing hunger, reducing waste, and reducing food poverty.


XRT offers a unique virtual reality treatment which will helps reduce anxieties. By combining traditional Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) with Virtual Reality (VR), therapists can recreate scenes based on the patient’s individual needs. The unique treatment can be adapted by the therapist in real time, they have complete management of the rate of exposure to the anxiety, controlling the volume or pace of the chosen scene.

NHS Business Services Authority – Healthy Start

The initiative has and continues to successfully deliver its aim of providing and continuing to provide thousands of low income families, in a cost of living crisis, access to healthy food and milk.

The service, by granting easier access to nutritional food and milk, is improving the quality of life for low income families babies and children.

NHS Business Services Authority – Hormone Replacement Therapy Prescription Prepayment Certificate

The HRT PPC initiative successfully delivered its aim of providing and continuing to provide thousands of women in England access to cheaper hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for menopause. The whole service provision, including the online journey, was stood up within 12 months.

The service, by granting easier access to HRT, is improving the quality of life for women who suffer negative symptoms of menopause.

The initiative was part of the Governments agenda for improving the health and wellbeing of women and girls. Menopause was announced as a priority area within the strategy.

Sponsored by Nigel Wright Recruitment

Phil Jackman – CyberNorth – WINNER

CyberNorth has over the last six years nurtured and developed a growing community of cyber businesses, individuals and interested parties to bring together the excellence we have in the cyber sector in the NE, and develop it even further. Not only this, but ensuring the work of NE’s cyber organisations is known about on a national and international level has made CyberNorth and its founder, Phil Jackman, so deserving of this accolade of Tech Champion.

Dr Andrew Jenkins – Kinewell Energy

Dr. Andrew Jenkins, Kinewell Energy’s CEO and founder, has demonstrated exceptional leadership in developing groundbreaking renewable technology solutions, driving local job and economic growth.

Andrew realised that the industry needed KLOC, an AI based solution to optimise the ‘dot-to-dot’ cable layout of offshore wind farms, and went on to develop, innovate and grow a team to make it happen. KLOC is now a world-leading product. His accomplishments and awards, exemplify his outstanding contributions.

Gerard Elder – Sunderland College

Gerard’s ability to inspire stretches beyond the classroom walls. His involvement in community outreach, aimed at introducing technology to young minds, showcases his commitment to nurturing the next generation of tech enthusiasts. The way he effortlessly connects people of all ages, sparking their interest and curiosity, is a testament to his exceptional ability to ignite a passion for technology.