‘It’s great to see the UK tech sector growing 2.6 times faster than the rest of the British economy and the number of jobs outstripping the rest of the UK by five times. However, there is a distinct lack of Northern representation in the latest report.
‘The top challenges for the tech sector in the North include access to funding, lack of tech training, access to talent and lack of government support. This is despite a key driver for UK tech companies valuing quality of life and sense of place as a key driver for choosing a location, where the Northern hubs rate favourably.
‘The targeted approach of Tech City and Tech North made great strides in the North and strengthened the tech ecosystem in both areas – encouraging talent, innovation, enterprise and investment. This is the first report following the amalgamation of Tech City and Tech North into Tech Nation, and the lack of Northern representation is concerning. Many had feared that extending the support to 11 clusters across the UK could dilute the impact and I hope this isn’t the first evidence of this happening.
‘We welcome targeted investment into the sector such as the recent £3m into the creative industries, but in isolation this investment will be ineffective. Businesses are crying out for more progress to improve transport links, key infrastructure and communication to ensure tech businesses can resource new start-ups. A combination of financial support and transformative changes is key to seeing the tech sector in the North flourish – without it, start-ups in the region will struggle to attract sufficient, appropriate investment and bridge the skills gap. This is where I would call on the government to leverage initiatives like the Northern Powerhouse to step up and help the North to reach its potential to become a thriving tech hub on a national and international stage.’