Three new regional centres for tech innovation have been launched that will encourage the UK's most pioneering tech hubs outside of London.
In Brighton, Yorkshire, and North East and Tees Valley, the new Digital Catapult Centres, funded by the Digital Catapult national tech incubator, will invest an additional £9 million into already vibrant digital communities, creating links between universities and businesses in these local hotspots and collaborate to turn ideas into commercial market opportunities.
The aim is to create a network of new centres across the nation to accelerate the growth of the UK's digital economy, building on existing clusters and supporting them with resources to give entrepreneurs a collaborative environment with specialist support.
Three local Digital Catapult Centres will each focus on different challenges facing the digital economy as it looks to realise the potential of sharing closed or proprietary data, with Yorkshire focusing on data in health and social care, while Brighton will put emphasis on the Internet of Place, and the North East and Tees Valley will focus on data sharing innovation.
The announcement follows in the wake of last month's launch of Tech Nation- a government-backed study that looked at the growth of UK's digital technology clusters across the country.
While much of the media focus of the past few years has been on London's Tech City, the UK's fastest growing digital companies formed since 2010 include Liverpool, Belfast, Manchester, Bournemouth, Brighton and Hove, South Wales and Bristol and Bath. Almost three quarters (74%) of digital companies operate outside of London, and regions including Brighton and Hove have some of the highest density of employment.
This shows that in areas like London where entrepreneurs, innovative firms and skilled workers were once concentrated, the talent is now gradually diffusing to other regions, and will continue will the help of projects like that Digital Catapult. Unless London's pace of new job creation becomes higher than the rate of this diffusion, other regions are likely to now catch up.
'The Digital Catapult is here to help create new opportunities across the UK and unlock innovation and value from sharing closed and proprietary data,' said Neil Crockett, CEO of the Digital Catapult. 'The truth is the most exciting digital innovation is happening in local communities, like the North East and Tees Valley, who are bringing together new ideas, businesses, universities and the public sector. As a national centre, it is important we support and collaborate with these local innovation communities, it is from these local hotspots that we will find the best innovation, create the most relevant products and reap the economic benefit for the UK.'