Bristol has been acknowledged as the most competitive and productive tech cluster in the UK in the latest report from TechNation. But the report didn’t include the strong tech capabilities of Bath.
The report looks at ‘tech suburbs’ outside London, and Bristol and Bath stand out alongside the South East (see graph above).
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“We know that Bristol is a fantastic city with great strengths – in the diversity of sectors and within the population, both of which lead to high levels of innovation and productivity,” said Nick Sturge, director of the EngineShed tech business accelerator in Bristol. “One of our biggest strengths however, is our proximity to, and integration with, Bath – and we really are one cluster. It is a shame that TechNation opted not to reflect what those of us, who work hard to make this Bristol & Bath cluster prosper, recommended, and omit Bath from the analysis.”
“Whilst we are once again thrilled that Tech Nation has recognised us as the UKs’ most productive tech cluster, we are disappointed that due to the selection of certain data sets only Bristol has been highlighted,” said Matt Cross, head of inward investment at Invest Bristol and Bath. “On the ground we know that the cluster sits across the entire region with the two cities as its anchors and we hope to work more collaboratively with Tech Nation in the future to make sure our whole sector is recognised.”
Recent figures from the UK government’s Industrial Strategy show that Bath creative and tech businesses make up 11.6% of the total economic activity, higher than Bristol’s 10.2%. The recent £61m investment into the Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone for creative, media and microelectronics sectors is scheduled to deliver 17,000 new jobs and attract £1bn of private sector investment, says the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.
The report also highlights the skills gaps and lack of diversity in the tech industry.
“While Bristol is rightly celebrated as the most productive cluster in UK tech, as a region we are actively tackling the skills shortage and diversity challenges,” said John Bradford, CEO of High tech Bristol and Bath. “That’s why we run DigiLocal supporting 12 communities across region hosting tech clubs for their young people, and work with EngineShed and other partners supporting skilled recent refugees back into high tech jobs.”
You can see the interactive TechNation 2018 report at technation.io/insights/report-2018/