Bristol and Bath region ‘major force’ driving UK digital economy

Engine Shed

Engine Shed

A major new report – called Powering a Digital Economy 2015 – has revealed that the Bristol and Bath area is home to a globally-significant collection of innovative businesses and a major force driving the UK digital economy.

Businesses are backed by a network of support organisations such as Bristol & Bath Science Park, and leading business incubator SETsquared, based at Bristol’s Engine Shed.

It also boasts a strong network of entrepreneurs while there are fewer barriers to growth than other areas named in the report.

The report highlights the area’s strengths in digital and creative industries, which is says is due to its rich heritage in aerospace, hi-tech and natural history film-making.

The report is the first national overview of the UK tech industry produced by Tech City UK, the Government-backed organisation focused on accelerating the UK’s digital economy.

The Bristol and Bath area ranks second overall behind London in a list of the UK’s 23 significant digital clusters, with 61,653 people working in the sector – 5,500 more than in Manchester, which is often regarded as Britain’s most important regional city for digital.

The report said the city’s 70-hectare Temple Quay Enterprise Zone, which stretches from the Engine Shed to Paintworks on Bath Road, will be critical to providing accommodation for the digital sector.

SETsquared director Nick Sturge comments: “The tech and digital sector in Bristol and Bath has an excellent reputation for being home to the most skilled talent pool in the UK, strongly supported by the region’s four leading universities.

“The delivery of thriving incubator spaces such as the Engine Shed is also supported by the universities, providing tech and digital businesses with the perfect environment within which to grow and work collaboratively.

“The strong collaboration between sectors and the region’s support network gives businesses an important sense of identity, with 80% of companies in the region reporting they belong to a digital cluster.”

Bristol & Bath Science Park director Bonnie Dean comments: “The tech scene in Bristol is really broad – there’s a very strong creative sector, companies working on silicon chip design and also cybersecurity, games and computer simulation.”