The launch follows Tech City UK’s Tech Nation study from February, which detailed that there are 152,136 digital tech jobs in the east of England, while the companies behind the jobs are worth an economic value of £4.6bn.
The goal is to create some 5,000 new digital tech positions by 2020 – which would provide TechEast place as a top five tech hub in the UK – that would result in an economic growth of £650m.
Currently, Cambridge, Ipswich and Norwich are the main three centres in the region and account for 18,532 jobs, 9,981 jobs and 5,306 jobs respectively.
Three main challenges the initiative will tackle include:
(1) Increase national recognition of the east’s tech abilities
(2) Secure government and company investment
(3) Produce more tech specialists with training, while attracting talent to the area
Neil Miles, chair of TechEast, said: “Our mission is to help attract investment and provide support for those looking to start, grow or locate their digital tech business in the East. We will combine ideas and resources across the region to amplify the East as a place where digital tech businesses thrive.
“For the last six months, tech businesses and supporting organisations across the East region have been working together to investigate the opportunities created by capitalising on the region’s existing success. Our ambition is to be recognised as one of the top five tech clusters in the UK.”
In his role, Miles will lead business executives and representatives from educational establishments, public services, tech networks and enterprise groups to achieve the targets.
According to the Tech Nation report from February, the top five digital economies are:
(1) London – 328,223 jobs
(2) Manchester – 51,901 jobs
(3) Reading & Bracknell – 40,440 jobs
(4) Birmingham – 36,768 jobs
(5) Bristol & Bath – 36,547 jobs
“I am pleased to support the launch of TechEast, and its mission to accelerate the growth of the digital tech economy across the East,” said Baroness Neville-Rolfe, parliamentary under secretary of state at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
“This year’s Tech Nation report recognised the strengths of Norwich and Ipswich as centres for technology and innovation which already support 15,000 jobs in the sector and have huge potential to grow.”
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Gerard Grech, chief executive of Tech City UK, added: “Tech City UK’s Tech Nation 2016 report showed that over 150K digital tech economy jobs exist in the East of England, contributing almost £5bn of Gross Value Added.
“This includes world-class technology cluster, Cambridge, internationally-renowned Adastral Research Park in Ipswich and Norwich’s fast growing digital creative community. We welcome the launch of TechEast to help continue growing this digital ecosystem and we look forward to working with them in the future.”
BT is one of the businesses behind the initiative, with its MD of research and innovation Tim Whitley noting that is R&D campus in Suffolk boasts 3,500 scientists and engineers.
He went on to call the east of England “an increasingly vibrant hotbed of invention, and a great place to develop cutting-edge technology.”
While London’s black cab industry is trying to evolve the marketplace with tech and adapt to this digital world, it seems unlikely to successfully do so with baffling comments from the government.
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