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“Hubs” of digital innovation

We discuss the importance of co-location for entrepreneurial activity and digital business development.
© University of Exeter

Many attempts have been made around the world to replicate the format and culture of California’s famous Silicon Valley. In the UK, for example, there is TechNation.

The East London cluster of technology companies known as London Tech City (or Silicon Roundabout!) began in 2011. Tech City merged with its northern counterpart Tech North to form TechNation in 2017. Its mission is:

“To empower ambitious tech entrepreneurs to grow faster through knowledge and connections; to build a UK economy fit for the next generation.”

TechNation champions digital business in the UK. It organises a programme of events around the country and provides training to entrepreneurs at all stages of their digital business development, and has recently produced a comprehensive report into the locations and competitiveness of the UK’s digital technology sector.

Here are a few highlights from the report:

  • Manchester is Europe’s fastest-growing major tech cluster, with investment growing from £48m in 2018 to £181m in 2019.

  • London is the second most connected place for technology in the world, after Silicon Valley in California.

  • UK tech investment grew to a record £10.1bn in 2019, up 44% on 2018.

  • UK tech employment grew by 40% in the last 2 years, now accounting for 9% of the national workforce with 2.93m jobs created

Do clusters of digital businesses like this exist in your part of the world? Identify a specific hub and list the factors that have contributed to its success. Share your findings in the comments section below.

© University of Exeter
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