Cornwall’s fast-growing tech sector has once again been singled out for its “impressive growth” in this year’s Tech Nation report, the annual survey of the UK’s tech economy.
The report, published today (May 17), says Cornwall’s digital connectivity, quality of life and helpful tech community were key strengths and meant the sector’s impressive growth of the last few years “shows no sign of slowing down”.
The report identifies Truro and Redruth as tech hotspots for third year running with 2,368 people working in digital tech occupations. Digital tech businesses in this cluster have a turnover of £50 million – up by 32% since 2014 – and generate £93.4 million for the local economy in GVA (Gross Value Added).
Nationally, the UK tech sector is growing 2.6 times faster than the rest of the economy and the top three challenges are access to talent, access to funding and poor transport links.
The report says Cornwall’s strong sense of community is a great asset and a big draw for businesses from elsewhere in the UK. It cites the LEP’s £8.4 million investment in Goonhilly Earth Station announced in February as “big news” for the sector, creating the world’s first commercial deep-space communications station.
And it singles out sector group Software Cornwall for its work boosting the tech talent pipeline with its Mission to Mars programme and Code Clubs for youngsters interested in a career in tech. Also praised is its teacher training ‘Tecademy’ project to encourage the use of computers across the curriculum.
Continued EU Growth Programme investment in sector projects such as Aerospace Cornwall, Agritech Cornwall and the University of Plymouth’s EPIC e-health project are all mentioned as positive developments.
Paul Massey, LEP board member and director of Redruth-based Bluefruit Software, said: “The Tech Nation report is an annual healthcheck for the UK’s tech industry and it shows that we are in very good health. Our superfast infrastructure, natural environment and growing tech community are all huge assets and it’s good to see the LEP’s investment in Goonhilly mentioned as something that we know will catalyse significant growth and create a real buzz.
“The digital and creative sectors are highlighted in the LEP’s 10 Opportunities investment prospectus as key areas for growth, and the Tech Nation report reinforces that.”
Software Cornwall director Belinda Waldock said: “Our local tech sector is becoming a strong player in Cornwall’s economic portfolio and with continued growth is set to be a key provider of well paid jobs. It’s the scale of economic growth that we need to cope with the changes and challenges ahead.
“The tech community is well known for thriving in times of uncertainty and change, turning challenges into opportunities, and this report suggests Cornwall is doing a great job of doing just that.”
To celebrate Cornwall’s continued success as a growing tech sector, Software Cornwall, in collaboration with Goonhilly Earth Station, is hosting a Cornwall Tech Connect event on May 31 at Goonhilly.
The event, which is fully booked, has a host of speakers sharing stories and insights from across the sector. Tech Nation UK is attending with its director of marketing delivering the opening keynote for the afternoon.