Business Boost | 23 March 2017 - by KCOM

Hull is thriving digital hotspot says Tech Nation survey

Hull is one of the UK’s hottest digital centres according to the Tech Nation 2017 report, but what’s making our revitalised city so attractive to high tech firms?

Hull’s digital economy is booming according to the Tech Nation 2017 survey.

The city is one of 30 centres featured in the survey that’s described as “a journey across the UK’s digital landscape that provides a data-rich analysis of Britain’s thriving digital economy and clusters.”

Among the headline figures revealed by the report is that the digital economy in Hull adds a hefty £254m to the local economy every year, creating nearly 7,000 jobs.

The report singles out Hull’s high proportion of ultrafast broadband as a major reason for the growth of digital start-ups in the city and booming high tech “clusters” such as the C4DI building.

It said: “Hull’s high-speed connectivity (it is the only city in the UK not served by BT) is helpful too - full fibre is available to more than half its businesses and homes, a significantly higher proportion than the national average.”

The report also suggests Hull is stealing a march on other high tech cities because of its affordability, especially when compared to London.

While it says the average advertised digital salary in the city is nearly £35,000, the average house price in the area is £113,000, making Hull an attractive proposition to digital professionals seeking a higher quality of life.

The survey states: “The area that was most highly rated for cost of living was Hull. Digital tech salaries in this Yorkshire city may be the second lowest of all our 30 clusters, but those earnings still go further. For instance, Hull has a salary/house price ratio of just 3.2.”

According to the report, Hull’s digital business count increased by 21 per cent between 2011 and 2015, with an average of 72 digital start-ups each year.

Speaking in the survey John Polling, director of Hull mobile development company Sauce, says Hull is very much a positive place to be in 2017.

He said: “By basing ourselves at C4DI - the heart of digital tech in Hull - we’ve directly benefited from the investment in digital.

“Our City of Culture status, high standard of living and tradition of entrepreneurialism create a vibrant place for digital tech start-ups.”

Gerard Grech, CEO of report authors Tech City UK, said: “In this, our third annual report, we shine the spotlight on the UK’s digital tech economy.

“Tech Nation 2017 gives the clearest indication yet that the UK possesses unrivalled digital tech specialisms. The digital economy is growing twice as fast as the wider economy, with an economic output of close to £100 billion per year.”

The report surveyed more than 2,700 business across the UK to find out how optimistic they are about the future.

But, despite the apparent robust health of the digital economy, Mr Grech says there is no room for complacency in what is a fast-moving sector.

The “growth challenges” highlighted by Hull respondents to the survey include a limited pool of highly skilled workers, poor transport infrastructure, limited investment opportunities and low levels of local awareness of digital industry.

Mr Grech said: “It is critical that we future proof what we have achieved so far. The recently announced digital strategy from the UK government is already setting us on the right path.

“Tech is at a critical juncture and as we head into the future we must reassure founders, international talent, investors, and our home-grown digital work force that the UK is and will remain the best place to start and scale world-class digital businesses.”