The Tech Nation 2017 Report Is Here!

The digital economy is growing twice as fast as the wider economy, and the UK possesses “unrivalled digital specialisms” – we take a closer look.

Tech nation 2017 is the third instalment of a series created by Tech City UK, the government funded organisation that promotes Tech across the UK.

Tech City UK is headquartered in London, and it’s tempting to wonder what the rest of the UK thinks when in the intro to the report, Eileen Burbidge and Gerard Grech, the Chair and CEO of Tech City respectively, write:

“London continues to be an international digital powerhouse and its ripples are increasingly spreading throughout the nation”

– you’d think entrepreneurs from Cambridge (home to ARM technologies), Oxford, Edinburgh (home to SkyScanner), Durham (home to Atom Bank) and the rest of the UK, might disagree that London is the epicentre of disruptive tech thinking…

…but of course the report looks at 30 tech hubs across the UK, so perhaps a little early London bias can be forgiven.

After an intro from Theresa may, who trots out some familiar sounding clichés about Britain being “one of the most competitive places in the world to start and grow a tech business”, and the “pioneers of our digital economy” being at “the forefront of a great British success story”, the report gets down to business.

Tech Nation UK has looked at more than 1,00 data points, conducted thousands of surveys and interviewed countless tech founders and “community partners”, to produce a pretty thorough piece of work.

The conclusion? “The UK is the digital capital of Europe!”

No prizes if you saw that one coming. But let’s not be cynical when there is a lot to celebrate.

  • Digital investment into tech in the UK hit £6.8bn in 2016 – 50% higher than any other European country.
  • The UK is home to 8 of Europe’s top 20 universities – and has twice as many Github users than Paris Or Berlin.
  • 22,000 Meetups happened in London last year, three times more than any other hub.
  • Digital tech turnover is nearly at £100 billion, a 10% gain in just five years.

These are the first 4 of seven major reasons the report gives for Britain’s pre-eminence – the other three are the UK tech sectors 1.64 million jobs, other tech clusters besides London raising nearly £5 billion in investment in 2016, and the economic contribution of the UK digital tech sector standing at nearly double the national average.

So there you have it – London – sorry, the UK’s techies are more entrepreneurial, harder working and use Github more than anyone else.

This report may not be quite as comprehensive as the previous two, but it does provide some genuinely useful information about the UK’s digital hubs and is well worth 30 minutes of your time.

How else will you discover that there are more than 12k digital jobs in Brighton, and the hub produces £580 million of Digital GVA, or that Manchester made it into the top 20 of the European Digital City Index, for starting and scaling a digital tech business?

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