Will your city make the list?
The UK’s burgeoning tech economy has led to a number of cities aspiring to dominate the sector, many with a view to challenging the hegemony of our oversized capital. But which of those have a good chance of making it?
An old sea port whose motto is "by virtue and industry", Bristol made a name for itself through global trade, and could well do it again if tech takes hold. Currently the city has two business centres focused on tech in SETsquared and Bristol and Bath Science Park, and is also home to one of the most prestigious universities in the country.
As the most famous tech region outside of London, Cambridge has been home to some of the foremost scientific innovations in history. Its science park is one of the UK’s leading forces in electronics, telecoms, and biomedicine – earning it the name Silicon Fen – and a recent report from the EU Commission highlighted it as the UK’s second most important tech hub.
The Welsh capital is one of the few large cities in the country, with a population of around 346,000 as of 2012. Though the city’s tech sector has been growing slowly Neil Cocker, founder of music ecommerce site Dizzyjam, believes the sporting and artistic side of the city will draw in the youngsters driving the tech revolution.
Whether or not Scotland decides to remain part of the UK this September its capital city will remain an important centre of tech in the British Isles. Edinburgh is already home to the so-called Science Triangle, comprised of eight science parks spanning informatics (the science of information), electronics, green energy, life sciences and animal bioscience.
As the largest city in Yorkshire, Leeds boasts a huge student body and is one of the UK’s biggest financial centres. As well as being home to video game companies such as Grand Theft Auto creators Rockstar the city houses a number of electronic firms making up the Airedale Digital Corridor, claimed by the local government to have a combined turnover equal to that of Cambridge.
Manchester’s pedigree as a pioneer in computer technology was firmly set when scientists created the first stored programme computer in 1948, called Baby. Like Bristol the city now has its own science park that is home to more than 500 companies, and with five universities is an ideal petri dish for start-ups.
Another former industrial powerhouse, Newcastle has yet to define a strong identity for itself when it comes to tech, and instead favours variety. David Dunn, chief executive of industry group Sunderland Software City, points to Newcastle University’s work in big data as a sign of tech’s potential in the north east of England.