Tech clusters outside the capital struggle for investment

Technology firms in clusters outside London and the south east of England are struggling to attract investment and gain advice, a new report has revealed.


The Tech City report suggests firms in tech clusters in other areas are finding it difficult to attract talent while slower broadband speeds are also prohibiting rapid growth.


Some 21 clusters from all across the UK were studied by the publically funded organisation and the report revealed that digital business is growing.


The Tech Nation report revealed 15% of companies formed between 2013 and 2014 were digital, of which around 22% were involved in software development.


However the digital definition is a broad one, encompassing software development, media, marketing and entertainment.


A wide disparity between the south east and the rest of the country was reported, with 74% of the UK’s digital firms based outside London.


Despite this, of 1.46m people working for digital companies, 555,000 were found in London and the surrounding area.


The second biggest tech cluster was found to be Bristol and Bath – employing 61,653 people – showcasing the divide between the capital and the rest of the UK.


Accessing finance was listed as a major challenge for those outside London while a lack of skilled workers was reported in most areas outside of the south east.


One third of firms surveyed listed the latter as a major barrier to growth while broadband infrastructure issues were paramount in some areas.


In Brighton for example, 25% of firms believe the city’s overloaded network is not capable of meeting their needs as a business.


Such issues could lead to long term financial problems should they not be solved in an appropriate fashion.


However, seeking insolvency advice at an early stage can help to limit the impact of some of these problems as they can be tackled quickly.


Being part of a cluster can have some perks though, with 77% of firms suggesting it enabled them to share technology, knowledge and advice.


By Phil Smith


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