Suffolk’s tech sector is ‘punching above its weight’, say leaders
- Credit: Archant
Suffolk is “punching above its weight” with ground-breaking technology, a sector leader has said following the release of an influential report.
Ipswich saw a slight drop in digital turnover, down £2m to £250m in 2017, but an increase in gross value added of £209m up to £372m, according to the Tech Nation Report 2018. The town has 2,852 people employed at tech companies with 14,715 employed in digital jobs, such as IT departments, at other companies.
Neil Miles, chairman of industry group TechEast and founder of machine learning firm Inawisdom, said there were plenty of positives to be drawn from the report. He said: “All I see is growth and innovative businesses, which is exceptionally positive.
“There is a lot going on and a very supportive community here. We are definitely punching above our weight as a region.”
Mr Miles said one thing TechEast was working on was helping to bring in, nurture and develop talent within the region to help businesses grow further.
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He added one of the biggest strengths in the region was the collaboration within the technology sector.
Ipswich is home to several heavyweights, with telecoms group BT and Indian tech company Tech Mahindra having bases at Adastral Park in Martlesham.
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But there is also a thriving start-up scene, such as hotel booking site operator Staylists, and scale-ups such as Inawisdom.
Tim Robinson, chief operating officer of TechEast, said there were opportunities to connect with other industries.
He said: “The next wave of opportunity will be the practical applications of artificial intelligence in sectors like agriculture, manufacturing and life sciences and we have strong links between the tech sector and those industries here. We can also make better links between businesses doing amazing things here and those successes elsewhere in the UK.”
Lisa Perkins, director of research and innovation at Adastral Park, said the region was developing a world-leading cluster but needed to push its message. She said: “We need everyone to understand why Suffolk, and the East is the area to be. Infrastructure is a key element to the successful growth of any region and it’s essential that continuous improvements are made to all the transport links we currently have.”