A cyber security expert has picked Sunderland to become the base for his new business, with plans to create a raft of new jobs this year.
Dr Igor Kotsiuba, who relocated to the North East from Ukraine under a Global Talent Visa, has launched Healthymity Limited, which aims to support AI and decision-making in health and medicine to bring a new world of insight to frontline professionals.
The company has taken office space at Sunderland Software Centre, and Dr Kotsiuba aims to recruit 10 people this year, as well as quickly scale up his business.
He has made a bid to the European Commission Horizon Framework Programme to get a share of €95.5bn (£82.37bn) worth of projects that will help tackle climate change, meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and boost the EU’s competitiveness and growth.
The entrepreneur, who has a PhD in Information Technology, believes that if the business is successful in its bid to win contracts from the framework, Healthymity could begin its recruitment drive within two months, building a team to support the delivery of projects that are focused on energy transition, using tech and digital to support decarbonisation.
As well as his new UK venture, the businessman runs iSolutions UA, a company based in Kyiv that employs 40 people and is one of the country’s leading providers of ICT equipment and solutions for enterprise, government and academia.
iSolutions also supports customers with digital transformation and cybersecurity solutions and works with global businesses including AstraZeneca, Ericsson, Siemens, Thales, ATOS, EDF, SEB Bank and Telefonica.
Dr Kotsiuba, who has travelled the world as part of his academic career, lecturing in Norway, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK, chose to relocate to the North East to launch his new venture after falling in love with the area during a visit to Newcastle.
After meeting another entrepreneur based at the Software Centre he was impressed with the facilities and signed up to take space.
He said: “Visiting the North East back in 2018 was one of the most amazing moments of my life. I thought ‘wow, this is a fantastic place.
“The North East really struck a chord with me and I was keen to come back. When I came to Sunderland and saw the Software Centre, I immediately wanted to be based there. It is a great space – and flexible enough to support me as my business grows.”
Dr Kotsiuba, who has won numerous awards including Exceptional Talent in Cybersecurity endorsed by Tech Nation UK and a Presidential Award for Young Scientists, is working alongside co-founder Professor Inna Skarga-Bandurova, a researcher on AI and computer vision at Oxford Brookes University, and also a partner in iSolutions, to establish Healthymity.
They are hoping to use links with local universities to build a team of graduates and post-graduates, opening the doors for new talent to grow a career in tech.
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He added: “We’re looking to assemble a team quickly, and – should we be successful in our bid to the European Commission Horizon Framework Programme – this will provide an excellent opportunity for people to grow with our business. We are really excited about the future for Healthymity.”
Patrick Melia, chief executive of Sunderland City Council, said: “Sunderland has grown a strong knowledge economy, with exceptional facilities like the Software Centre proving to be attractive to businesses seeking a collaborative environment that nurtures talent and supports businesses to succeed.
“It’s fantastic that Healthymity has chosen to make Sunderland its home and we look forward to supporting Dr Kotsiuba as he grows this business, drawing on the wider regional talent pool and benefitting from the assets that make Sunderland as great place to start and grow a business.”