A comprehensive analysis of digital technology clusters across the UK by Tech City UK and DueDil has listed Greater Manchester as the top area in the country for growth in company turnover.
According to the 50-page Tech Nation: The Digital Economy in 2015 report released yesterday, Greater Manchester experienced a 74% growth in tech companies established between 2010 and 2013. Liverpool had the second fastest rise in start-ups, with a 119% increase in the amount of companies incorporated between 2010 and 2013.
Tech Nation was put together by the government-backed Tech City UK to understand and reveal digital capabilities across the country, with a focus on concentrations of UK digital companies and their business activities. Research began in early 2014, with more than 2,000 digital businesses surveyed and 47,200 digital companies analysed. Around 98% of the companies were classed as small businesses.
The report showcased 21 digital clusters across the UK, including Greater Manchester and Liverpool, looking at whether a concentration of companies developed area specialisms and what were the opportunities and challenges in each area.
- Digital job growth predicted to outperform all other occupations by 2020
- 1.46m people, 7.5% of entire UK workforce, currently employed in digital industries
- Highest rates of digital employment in Inner London, Bristol & Bath, Reading, Greater Manchester
- 74% of digital companies in UK operate outside London
- UK's fastest growing tech clusters in terms of new digital companies formed since 2010 include: Liverpool, Inner London, Belfast, Greater Manchester, Bournemouth, Brighton & Hove, South Wales and Bristol & Bath
- Clusters with highest average company turnover are Greater Manchester, Belfast, Sheffield, Inner London and South Wales
- Manchester one of fastest-growing tech cities alongside Leeds and Cardiff
- 54,527 people in digital employment
- Improvement needed in perception of the region and transport infrastructure
- Expertise focused on hardware and devices, media and entertainment, and FinTech
- Top capabilities were cloud computing, visual and audio design, network infrastructure and protocols, firmware and OS development, and hardware development
- 40% surveyed believe that their cluster helps them secure access to appropriate and affordable property
- Fastest increase in amount of start-ups after Bournemouth, with 119% increase in growth of companies incorporated between 2010 and 2013
- 21% of Liverpool's tech cluster founded between 2013 and 2014
- Access to finance and economic climate most needed to improve
- 80% of respondents viewed themselves as part of a cluster
- Strongest areas are advertising and marketing, software and development, and games development
- Top capabilities are mobile and tablet development, visual and audio design, firmware and OS, artificial intelligence and computer simulation
In Greater Manchester, tech clusters were focused around MediaCityUK, the Sharp Project, Manchester Science Park and the Northern Quarter. Notable companies included lateroom.com and boohoo.com, with successful start-ups including Wakelet and Niftydrive.
Gaming heritage was reflected in the current picture for Liverpool. The report highlighted the emergence of local companies such as Starship and Firesprite since the closure of Sony Studio in 2012. There are also growing clusters focused on IoT and HealthTech, and an ecosystem of mobile app development and creative agencies, including Studio Mashbo and Draw+Code.
Across the region, businesses surveyed praised the availability of working spaces such as SpacePortX, the Landing and the Sharp Project in Manchester, and Baltic Creative in Liverpool.