East Anglia’s technology clusters unite to launch TechEast campaign for digital growth

Neil Miles, who is to chair TechEast.

Neil Miles, who is to chair TechEast. - Credit: Archant

East Anglia’s three key technology clusters are uniting to drive a strategy which aims to create 5,000 new digital technology jobs in the region by 2020.

Cambridge, Ipswich and Norwich all feature in the latest Tech Nation Report, the Government-backed guide to the UK’s leading technology clusters.

But, despite the three areas supporting a combined total of nearly 34,000 digital jobs, the report finds low national recognition of the region’s technology heritage and current capabilities.

Now, a new grouping, to be known as TechEast, is being launched to deliver a six-point manifesto aimed at driving £650million-worth of economic group.

This would put East Anglia among the top five technology clusters in the UK, matching for size both the Birmingham and Bristol/Bath clusters.

TechEast, which is being launched at a ceremony in London today, brings together leaders from companies, academic institutions, technology networks and business organisations. It will provide support both to existing and start-up companies, and launch other initiatives to drive growth including the creation of a TechEast “embassy” in London.

Chairing TechEast will be Neil Miles, an executive at ANDigital and formerly managing director of Ipswich-based technology firm Smart421 (recently rebranded as KCOM).

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Mr Miles said: “Our mission is to help attract investment and provide support for those looking to start, grow or locate their digital tech business in the East. We will combine ideas and resources across the region to amplify the East as a place where digital tech businesses thrive.”

Tim Whitley, managing director of research and innovation at BT, said: “BT has been an innovation pioneer for 170 years, and we continue to unlock new opportunities – nowhere more so than Adastral Park, our global research and development campus in Suffolk, which employs 3,500 scientists and engineers.”

Mark Pendlington, chairman of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, which covers Suffolk and Norfolk, said: “The launch of TechEast demonstrates to the world our ambition to showcase that expertise and excellence to attract greater inward investment, talent and recognition. TechEast will ensure we have a proud place alongside other giants of the tech world.”

And John Dugmore, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, added: “TechEast will amplify the already burgeoning tech cluster in Suffolk, through partnership and collaboration.”