Business Boost | 15 December 2015 - by KCOM

Tech Nation puts Hull on the map as digital hotspot

After City of Culture and the Siemens investment, Hull has another tremendous opportunity for economic growth – as a digital hotspot.

The most comprehensive survey of digital businesses ever undertaken in the UK has put Hull firmly in the spotlight as a leading location for digital enterprises.
The Tech Nation 2015 “Powering the Digital Economy” report, published earlier this month, featured Hull as one of the UK’s top 16 digital clusters, forming part of a thriving “digital ecosystem.”

The report, which was endorsed by Prime Minister David Cameron, concludes that the UK has one of the world’s strongest digital economies.

Unsurprisingly, Tech Nation confirmed that London and the South East has the highest concentrations of digital companies, but it also found that almost three in four tech jobs are outside the capital.

The report revealed that more than 12,000 people are employed in digital jobs in the Hull area, with a 57 per cent increase in new digital companies locally between 2010 and 2013.

It highlights KCOM’s superfast fibre broadband network as a strong asset of the region, generating fast-growing sectors in software development, animation, marketing and advertising.

Other competitive advantages mentioned in the report are the low cost of living and the University of Hull’s highly-respected Computer Science department, while local tech companies to get a namecheck include digital brand management company Sonoco Trident, online electrical retailer Ebuyer and digital marketing business Summit.

A growing number of tech start-ups are being supported by significant local private sector investment, including £15m by the Wykeland Group into the @TheDock digital hub currently under development in Hull’s Fruit Market, which includes the Centre for Digital Innovation.

C4DI co-founder John Connolly said the Tech Nation report is welcome recognition of Hull’s tech assets and potential, ensuring the city is on the UK tech map for policy makers and investors.

He said: “We need to promote the benefits recognised by Tech Nation – the Lightstream rollout, private sector confidence in the region, and that the area is able to grow very large and innovative tech companies. By doing this, and demonstrating the area’s strong digital infrastructure and track record, we will encourage more public and private sector tech investment within the region.”

On the same day as the Tech Nation report was published, Hull’s digital credentials received a further boost with the Government announcing the go-ahead for the Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC).

The UTC is sponsored by the University of Hull and leading employers Siemens, Spencer Group, Ebuyer and KCOM. It will specialise in digital technology and mechatronics – a combination of mechanical engineering, computing and electronics as used in the design and development of manufacturing techniques.

The college will support Hull and the Humber’s plans for growth and transformation by ensuring local young people are work-ready and equipped with the right digital and new world skills.