Regional start-up hubs driving tech growth

A new report has revealed that regional start-up hubs are driving tech growth across the UK, with almost three-quarters of digital businesses now being found outside London, formerly the centre of tech start-ups.

The report, entitled Tech Nation, is the first of its kind and was commissioned by a government body called Tech City UK. Amongst the more significant findings in the report include the fact that almost half the UK’s 47,000 digital technology firms have been incorporated since the recession.

It also found that the tech scenes in Manchester, Belfast and Sheffield were supporting high value companies that rivalled the financial turnover of their London counterparts. Furthermore, early government efforts to support tech focussed on promoting the East London start-up scene through the Tech City UK organisation has subsequently rolled out through the rest of the country.

Tech is the country’s fastest-growing occupation category, with 1.46 million people working in the digital economy across the UK, roughly 7.5 per cent of the total UK workforce. It is expected that digital job growth will outperform all other occupation categories by 2020.

The report found that the cities of Bristol and Bath house the largest digital cluster outside London, where 61,653 people work in digital businesses, followed by Manchester, which has 56,145 technology workers. Clusters have also sprung up in Liverpool, Bournemouth, Brighton and Hove and South Wales.

Bath and Bristol have seen a 65 per cent increase in new digital firms incorporated between 2010 and 2013, with start-ups there saying that there are fewer major barriers to growth in the area, with the key strengths of the cluster being social networks and access to talent and property, a factor cited as a major benefit by some 77 per cent of other tech start-ups.

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