This week the RSA, Tech North and the Impact Hub publish a new report looking at the North’s emerging Digital Powerhouse. Our study finds that over 280,000 people in the region now work in the digital economy, and that the sector is creating jobs at ten times the rate of the North’s non-digital sectors. The […]
Our study finds that over 280,000 people in the region now work in the digital economy, and that the sector is creating jobs at ten times the rate of the North’s non-digital sectors. The importance of the tech industry is only likely to grow in the coming years as digital products and services come to underpin every industry – from retail and banking through to manufacturing and agriculture.
The tech industry is of significant value to the North and must be central to any aspirations to create a Northern Powerhouse. We estimate that a ‘fully charged’ digital economy in the North – where productivity levels in the sector match the national average – would generate an extra £5.7bn in GVA.
Finance, infrastructure, talent and culture are among the key conditions that need to be in place for this to happen. However, our report argues that attention should also be paid to another important factor: market opportunities. The region is home to hundreds of public sector bodies and thousands of businesses in traditional industries, many of which could benefit from a dose of tech innovation.
To demonstrate the possibilities, we highlight several examples of local collaboration in our report – from a Yorkshire HealthTech company that has provided a telecare service to nearby care homes, to a Manchester-based software company that has created automation solutions for the Nissan car plant in Sunderland.
Our report ultimately calls for a departure from the usual way of ‘doing tech’, where digital businesses operate in siloes, often untethered from the places in which they operate. It is within the North’s gift to forge a different path – one where tech businesses are tightly woven into the fabric of their cities, where public services and surrounding businesses are ready and willing to co-innovate, and where everyone recognises they have a stake in creating a prosperous digital economy.
Tech North will be organising a series of roundtables in the summer to take forward some of the report’s ideas and recommendations. If you are interested in attending, please contact James Bedford at firstname.lastname@example.org