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Summer / Autumn 2019 Opportunity Articles

Driving Game Changing Business Growth

By Linn Clabburn, Programme Director, Cambridge Norwich Tech Corridor

When it comes to disruptive technology, East Anglia represents a goldmine of opportunities, which is why the Cambridge Norwich Tech Corridor was launched to tell the story of a region that really is changing the world one innovation at a time.

With a host of ambitious, innovative businesses and world-class research institutions leading the way in fields such as agritech and agrifood, life science, energy and AI, the Tech Corridor is one of Europe’s most exciting growth stories. The numbers, published in the recent Tech Nation report on the state of the UK tech scene, speak for themselves; the East is home to over 19,000 tech companies, which turned over £8.3bn last year and employ 89,000 talented staff.

At the Tech Corridor partnership, we work with partners in the private and public sectors to deliver a programme which promotes our collective strengths, encourages closer collaboration to drive economic growth and creates an environment where ambitious businesses can develop and cluster.

While our knowledge centres in Cambridge and Norwich are rightly recognised for their global significance, there are plenty of companies in the wider region which play an integral part in this success.

One business which has grasped this opportunity is Vanilla Electronics, based in Thetford. It has enjoyed rapid growth by developing an innovative business model which allows it to provide an end-to-end service turning great ideas from the region’s science parks into commercial products.

As a Tech Corridor, we are doing all we can to put businesses like this in the spotlight and encourage more of these successful partnerships to develop.

So how can you get involved? The easiest thing to do is sign up to our free ambassador programme. Our ambassadors act as evangelists for the region and are invited to regular events where they can meet like-minded companies and tackle topics relevant to
their businesses.

Ambassadors are also able to join our four special interest groups, which focus on cluster building, infrastructure, developing the workforce, and the region’s reputation. These all present great opportunities to work together, and our Talent Taskforce met for the first time recently, looking at ways to attract the next generation of tech stars while embracing the ageing workforce.

The discussion included scoping out plans for a novel ‘talent sharing’ scheme, which would see companies who need specialist skills at certain points of the year share highly qualified workers, providing continuity of employment for staff and value for employers.

If you’d like to find out more, get in touch.

And the opportunities don’t just end in this region. In global terms, Ipswich, Norwich and Cambridge are near neighbours. My career has taken me all around the world and I’ve visited single technology parks in China which are far larger than the whole of East Anglia. The fact you can fly to Amsterdam from Norwich in just 45 minutes (barely enough time to eat a packet of complimentary peanuts) puts the Tech Corridor at the heart of a much bigger European tech cluster, and means we shouldn’t be afraid to think globally when looking for opportunities to grow our businesses.

What the ambassadors have to say...

David Manning is Managing Director at MIGSOLV, a Norwich-based data storage specialist. He said: “We’re very proud to be located on the Cambridge Norwich Tech Corridor.

“As a provider of data centre services, it offers a number of advantages including lower risks and operating costs than other locations. As a technology-led business, we’re keen to help demonstrate the high level of innovation and infrastructure already present and the opportunity for others to establish a great base here to access the UK and the World.”

Justin Ott is Founder and CEO at SparkEV. Based in Newmarket, the business uses artificial intelligence to offer accurate journey time predictions for electric vehicles.

He said: “As a fast-growing business Suffolk gives us the perfect opportunity to access the skills, capital and support we need. In the electric vehicle space, there’s a community of like-minded innovators around the county and we’re benefiting from cost-effective office space that is easy to access that gives us plentiful room to grow.”

Linn Clabburn is Programme Director for the Cambridge Norwich Tech Corridor.
For more information: E: info@techcorridor.co.uk or visit techcorridor.co.uk Twitter @techcorridoruk

Sue Wilcock