Bristol and Bath: Key players in UK’s digital economy

The Tech Nation 2016 report, which highlights the strength of the sector to the UK economy, has placed the Bristol/Bath area top of the nationwide league table for productivity, based on sales per worker. The region has become important for new FinTech and engineering start-ups, with Bristol corporate finance powering local talent.

The area, home to a number of global tech players as well as a raft of smaller firms, produces £296,340 for each person employed in the sector – £90,000 more than second-place London, according to the report.

In a region-by-region overview of the sector, the report highlights Bristol and Bath’s growth – with a 53% increase in turnover that it describes as “impressive” – and a reference to its recognition by last year’s Centre for Cities and McKinsey & Company report naming it as one of the UK’s two globally significant digital tech clusters.

With a history in aerospace and digital software, the cluster’s specialisms now include telecommunications & networking, gaming, virtual reality, and cloud computing. Aardman, JUST EAT, IMDb, Oracle, IBM, Sony and Hewlett Packard have all been attracted by the strong digital ecosystem.

Local networks TechSPARK, and High Tech Bristol & Bath are thriving; 81% of local business owners stated collaboration as a benefit, while 5,000 people regularly attend tech meetups in the area – the third most in the UK.

It highlights innovation hubs such as the Bristol Games Hub, Engine Shed and Bristol & Bath Science Park as supporting the growth of digital tech businesses and pointed out that Bath & Bristol’s SETsquared programmes generated more than £48m of investment last year – earning them the title of the world’s best university incubator by UBI Global.

The Tech Nation 2016 report paints a compelling picture about the strength of the UK’s digital tech economy, with the Bristol & Bath region right at the heart of its success. With productivity in the digital tech economy outperforming other parts of the economy and the Bristol region coming out as the most productive, it’s evident that companies in Bristol & Bath are playing a leading role in driving the success of this sector in the UK.

The Tech Nation report shows how digital technology has become absolutely central to the West of England’s economy. These are high-value jobs that are making a major contribution to the region’s prosperity. As the cluster continues to grow, it is attracting major national and international players who are offering new opportunities to the people that live here as well as supporting the expansion of home-grown companies.

Demand from businesses in the technology, media and telecommunications sector accounted for around 25% of office space taken up in the region 2015 and we will see a similar story over the course of the next 12 months.

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