The recent Tech North Investment Index highlights a 10-year high which has seen investment of over £326m in 2016 - representing a 1,551 per cent uplift in investment over 10 years, which is huge and showcases the strength of the sector across the North.
Although, the deal volumes are down from last year, the size and value of the deals are greater highlighting substantial growth in the sector. This progress has been predominately home-grown with the majority of top investors based here in the North. However, due to the quality of tech businesses and the increasing size of the deals, the North continues to catch the eye of London and global investors, particularly from the US, highlighting real confidence in the market.
The tech sector in the North is at a pivotal moment of growth. Over the last 10 years the digital ecosystem has been growing in many ways – not just new products and platforms, but whole new ways of doing business. Investment is a key part of this progress, and as we can see from the upward trajectory in the last three years, momentum is building.
Investment is one part, but money alone isn’t enough. The sector needs to continue to collaborate to ensure a cohesive approach. A united sector across the North driving in the same direction is much stronger than smaller disparate parts working individually to achieve slightly different goals. The North West, North East and Yorkshire and the Humber must continue to speak as one to truly take on established tech capitals.
In addition, skills and people fuel the tech industry, which is why the battle for talent is crucial. As more tech companies choose to locate themselves in the North, the competition for jobs is only going to increase. This highlights the real need to produce and attract more people to work in the sector to ensure we can maximise the scale of opportunities and innovation locally.
The last part of the puzzle is infrastructure which is fundamental to help the tech sector flourish. Whether its transport links or improved broadband speeds and connectivity – the Northern Powerhouse promises cannot come soon enough for this fast moving and thriving sector.