‘The pace has been set and it’s only going to accelerate’ - Norwich’s tech community contributes £148m to the economy
PUBLISHED: 07:00 11 February 2016 | UPDATED: 14:21 11 February 2016
Norwich’s place at the heart of the digital revolution is revealed today in a new report which lays bare the growing strength of the city’s technology sector.
The study shows how digital firms contribute more than £148m to the UK economy, with a turnover that has grown by almost 22pc in four years.
It also found that more than 5,300 are directly employed in city tech firms and that Norwich is fast becoming one of the country’s best locations for start-up firms.
The report has been compiled by Tech City – a group set up by the government to encourage the growth of the UK’s digital economy – and is intended to give a snapshot of the sector’s health in several British cities.
Fiona Lettice, professor of innovation management at Norwich Business School, welcomed the findings and said digital technology businesses were now powering Norwich’s economic growth.
“The pace has been set and it’s only going to accelerate. But’s not just technology businesses powering the growth. Everyone will have to gain a better understanding of tech because it will be driving change in a lot of different sectors.”
It is the second time Norwich has been included in a Tech Nation report, after the strength of the sector saw it included for the first time last year.
Ipswich has joined the group of so-called “tech cities” for the first time this year.
The report follows the recent unveiling of a project to create a technology corridor along the A11. Experts believe the area between Norwich and Newmarket could become a centre for innovation and technology, in the fields of engineering, agriculture and manufacturing.
However, firms in the sector have identified obstacles to further growth in the area, including a skills shortage.
Neil Garner, founder of co-working venue Whitespace in St James Mill, near the city law courts, said: “The more we do, the more people will come back from London and realise there’s great companies and great jobs here. Then they will come and create more great companies and great jobs.”
The new report showed the average salary in the digital technology industry in Norwich was £36,098, and the cluster was best for education, access to commercial property and local networks.
This year’s report varied from previous years, as it was based on Travel to Work areas, which altered geographical boundaries.
The Tech Nation 2016 survey received more than 2,000 responses, with 1,797 surveys completed.
Colleen Walker, chairman of Norfolk County Council’s economic development sub-committee, said the council was proud the region was included in the national rankings.
“This report will further highlight the incredible growth rate of this cluster of businesses,” she added.
Mark Pendlington, chairman of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership said: “This is a massive vote of confidence in our tech companies that are demonstrating brilliance and proving that Norfolk and Suffolk are among the best places in the UK where digital entrepreneurs and established businesses can have the space to be innovative and grow.”
Are you launching a new technology business? Call sabah meddings on 01603 772879 or email sabah.Meddings@archant.Co.Uk