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Cornwall’s tech sector is thriving thanks to connectivity and quality of life
digital tech sector has been singled out as one of the fastest growing in the
country in the latest Tech Nation 2017 report.
According to the report from Tech City UK, Cornwall’s digital businesses grew their turnover by 51% between 2011 and 2015, and the sector spawned an average of 22 start-up tech businesses every year in the same period.
Cornwall-based tech businesses that responded to Tech Nation’s latest survey employ 1,380 people and the average advertised salary for digital tech jobs is £31,322 compared to a Cornwall-wide average of £17,873.
The report states: “Cornwall’s digital tech cluster might be small, but it is increasingly mighty - centred on Redruth and Truro, but expanding to Camborne, Falmouth, Newquay and beyond. People and businesses come for the coastal quality of life. They stay, however, for the community and the connectivity.”
The report adds that investment in superfast broadband means Truro now has more fibre connections than most European cities, while the sector is backed by a collaborative ‘ecosystem’ that includes industry group Software Cornwall, the Digital Peninsula Network with 700 members in Cornwall, and the annual Agile on the Beach conference that has become a highlight of the digital tech scene.
And it adds: “Talent and skills are developing fast here. Falmouth University has set up an academy concentrating on the computer games industry, while Cornwall College has improved its computer courses to match industry needs and launched a new Software Degree. The College has also teamed up with Bluefruit Software to launch their I Am Digital programme, helping students to earn their Technical Baccalaureate while working on real projects.”
Redruth-based Bluefruit Software director and Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership Board member Paul Massey, said: “The digital tech sector is worth around £39 million a year to our economy and is one of the fastest growing thanks to continued investment in broadband, business support and skills development. When you combine that with our location, little wonder that we’re seeing such tremendous growth.”
Paul added that despite an ongoing skills shortage, the industry in Cornwall was starting to create its own solutions: “While there is a global shortage of digital tech skills, businesses like ours are increasingly tapping into the raw talent pool in Cornwall with home-grown training strategies, working closely with our colleges and universities to get the skills we need. Digital innovation is an increasingly important part of our economy. It’s one in which we already compete globally and is a cornerstone of the LEP’s economic growth plan.”
Meanwhile Pool-based outsource software development company Headforwards says location is a real asset to its business. Directors and founders Craig Giovanni and Toby Parkins say in the Tech Nation report: “Location is an important part of our brand, but it also plays a part in our recruitment and staff retention. Cornwall is a desirable location for developers to be based in, and being here helps us to attract global talent.”
Read what the Tech Nation 2017 report has to say about Cornwall’s digital tech sector here.