Tech Nation 2016: A Luminous Year For UK Tech
Switched on cities
Launched in Shoreditch five years ago, Tech City UK is a non-profit organisation supporting tech growth and innovation across the country. They produce annual reports on the state of tech business in cities across the UK: the Tech Nation Report.
Over 2,000 people responded to the 2016 survey, giving feedback about their own tech city. On the whole, the tech presence in the UK is expanding. The UK’s tech industries are growing 32% faster than the rest of the economy. Great news for the 1.56 million people currently employed in this sector.
As a proud community partner of this year’s report, we were especially pleased to see the continuing development of Norwich as a Tech City Cluster named in the report.
We’re lucky enough to work with several cutting edge tech clusters in the UK but, in particular, seeing some of the companies we work with from both Norwich and London getting the recognition they deserve, is a real celebration for our clients.
The story that is closest to our heart comes from Norwich which, as a small city, is making big waves on a national level. According to the Tech Nation Report, the tech sector makes up 16% of all businesses in Norwich. Compared to the rest of the UK, the most popular tech sectors in Norwich are e-commerce, telecommunications, digital marketing and advertising, and app and software development.
Over the past four years, turnover for the tech sector in Norwich has increased by 22%, with the area’s GVA currently valued at £148 million. Not bad for a small city.
Gerard Grech, CEO of Tech City UK, said: “Tech Nation 2016 provides an unprecedented insight into the growing economic importance of the UK’s digital businesses.
“This report not only demonstrates the extraordinary growth rate of our digital tech industry, as well as its also its profound influence on non-digital industries.
“We hope Tech Nation’s findings will prove invaluable to industry, investors and digital businesses themselves, acting as a detailed topography of the UK’s digital economy and signposting where future opportunities lie.”
Despite its small size, Norwich has a steady stream of fresh talent from its two excellent universities: University of East Anglia, and Norwich University of the Arts. That’s as well as a handful of colleges and sixth forms.
This fresh talent pool was reflected in the Tech Nation report. Key benefits of working in the Norwich Tech Cluster were listed as: talent education (66%), access to commercial property (55%), and access to local networks (64%).
Fiona Lettice, from the University of East Anglia, said: “Tech Nation 2016 shows that digital tech businesses are powering the economic growth of Norwich… As digital tech businesses are now enabling disruption across a wide range of traditionally non-digital industries will ensure the continued success and growth of this cluster for years to come.”
For those based in Norwich, it’s no surprise their hometown has been recognised as a glowing spot for tech excellence.
Norwich-based Artificial intelligence agency, Rainbird, have always believed in the business prowess of their fine city. They began life as a duo in a tech co-working hub, Whitespace. They’ve since grown considerably, and now have their own offices in both Norwich and London.
James Duez, chairman of Rainbird, said: “Having close working relationships with the local community of digital companies in Norwich has been of huge benefit to Rainbird. The ability to share ideas and expertise across a collaborative cluster enables our business to grow faster and more sustainably. The digital tech ecosystem here is gaining momentum and recognising the potential of Norwich will attract more entrepreneurs to the region.”
A digital future
The tech sector isn’t just creating more jobs for the UK workforce, but also well-paid ones. The average salary for someone in the digital tech industries is £36,098.
Clearly, this continuing tech development is a good thing for the economy. It seems those in charge think so too.
Ed Vaizey, Minister for the Digital Economy, said: “Digital technology companies are redefining the UK’s business landscape whilst creating new opportunities for entrepreneurs, investors and workers across the country.
“Tech Nation 2016 sets out how digital tech innovation is disrupting the UK economy, creating high-quality employment opportunities and driving productivity nationwide. We are delighted to present these findings, which show how Britain’s digital technology technology continues to influence the wider business economy.”
So, there you have it. Good news for little Norwich, and the rest of the country.
How did your city fare in the Tech Nation Report?