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What makes the region an ideal home for technology firms?

PUBLISHED: 05:51 08 April 2018 | UPDATED: 11:49 09 April 2018

TwoPointZero directors Alex Chapman and Billy Brundle. Picture: TwoPointZero

TwoPointZero directors Alex Chapman and Billy Brundle. Picture: TwoPointZero

TwoPointZero

The technology and digital sector is on the rise in East Anglia as shown by last year’s TechNation report which showed it supports more than 17,000 jobs in Norwich and Ipswich alone.

There are some well-established big names such as BT and Aviva as well as notable firms such as e-commerce platform Epos Now and artificial intelligence firm Rainbird Technologies.

But what is it that makes our region such a fertile bed for tech start-ups?

Billy Brundle, director of Ipswich-based Future50 member TwoPointZero IT, said he believed a community spirit as well as the proliferation of small businesses helped the sector.

He said: “Since we launched ourselves there have been so many start-ups which have come to us at the start and then continued with us.

“When we first started we didn’t know whether to expand across the country but focusing around here has been great for us with all the start-ups.”

Mr Brundle said the haulage industry had been a good market for the IT services firm with plenty of businesses around the Port of Felixstowe needing his services.

Mr Brundle added: “We are now working with lots of different companies that offer different but similar services and we are able to help each other out.

“I don’t like it when you have other businesses in the same industry that won’t talk to each other. You do get a few of those but around here we have a nice community.”

With three universities, including University of East Anglia, producing talented youngsters there is both a supply of workers and a pipeline of hungry entrepreneurs looking to set up on their own.

Paul Grenyer, chief executive of software developer Naked Element, said: “I think it is part of the culture here to start your own business.

“You have a lot of entrepreneurs here that like living in Norfolk and so they set up their business here.

“For us it is important to have the medium sized businesses who can afford to pay an outside company to build their software.”

Mr Grenyer, who also runs the tech community group Norfolk Developers, said his business was growing steadily and that while there was a shortage of skills in the area the sector was feeling positive about prospects.

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