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Accelerating Regional Recovery

As a collective group of individual organisations, the UK Tech Cluster Group (UKTCG) assembled over a year ago to connect, share and grow the communities we serve. While we regularly meet to discuss regional technology issues and share opportunities, the impact of COVID-19 on the UK tech sector has seen us work even more closely together. As the established voice of grassroots tech, we are prioritising efforts to accelerate the rate of regional recovery following widespread economic disruption caused by the pandemic.  

An independent voice 

The UKTCG represents geographical clusters of technology and digital businesses across the UK. Independent from government and self-financing, our member organisations include the entire spectrum of businesses that make up the UK’s tech economy – not just the big players. Despite the prominence of a few large corporations and so called “unicorns”, the UK’s tech economy is in fact largely skewed towards small businesses. This ecosystem naturally revolves around local clusters, usually with one or more universities involved as well. These regional ecosystems need to be understood and nurtured at a regional level.  

UKTCG’s member organisations are focused on the entirety of their local tech ecosystems, not just start-ups, scale-ups or specific vertical sectors. We support regional economic growth in both the tech sector and the wider economy. 

The organisations that make up the UKTCG are all firmly rooted in their communities and are uniquely placed to provide in-depth, granular local and regional intelligence in a way that is impossible (or very time consuming and expensive) to do at a national level. 

The UKTCG member organisations are all run by people who have years of experience of working within their local tech economy – we understand the economic and political landscape of our regions and in turn we are extremely well connected and are trusted as intermediaries. 

The group has grown out of a natural tendency of the existing regional cluster organisations to collaborate and share information and resources. Together, our robust and trusted network has an extensive reach across the UK which we believe can be harnessed to accelerate ecosystem recovery following the disruption caused by COVID-19.  

Regional intelligence and regional response 

Since early March the group has been gathering intelligence in our respective regions to understand how both companies and our regional ecosystems have been affected by COVID-19. As well as consulting with government on how to strategically combat sector pain points at large, we have been working at a grassroots level day in, day out to provide companies with immediate relief to individual problems.  

We are uniquely placed to best solve the challenges the sector faces at regional level, given our unrivalled local knowledge, current business support activity and connections across regional ecosystems.  

We therefore hope we can work with the government as a key delivery partner to quickly bring relief to our UK regions. Only by prioritising regional recovery will we see our much-coveted tech sector bounce back at large from the pandemic.  

The UK Tech Cluster Group is in a unique position to provide the voice of the industry at a truly national level and to advise the Government on providing the right support, at the right time to our industry to both survive and thrive moving forward.  

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The Recovery Roadmap Report

The Recovery Roadmap explores the disproportionate impact on the nations & regions in the face of COVID-19 and what we can do together to recover and reboot.

The report considers the key challenges facing  tech ecosystems and how, in turn, they can enable resilience in more traditional sectors. We consider a series of key policy interventions which will support us all to build back better.

To download the full report, please submit your details below

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Thames Valley tech scale-ups set to lead COVID-19 economic recovery.

The Thames Valley’s high growth tech sector will be a core driver of the region’s economic recovery, according to new research from consultancy Beauhurst. Its COVID-19 Business Impact report showed that nearly 20% of tech businesses (19%) have been positively impacted as a result of the COVID-19 crisis:14% cited a “surge in demand”. Meanwhile, 23% reported a “moderate” negative impact, with just 5% saying they were “critically” affected.

Tech community remains strongest part of UK economy

Partnering with tech and digital platform ConnectTVT,  Beauhurst’s report found the Thames Valley following London as the region with the highest number of positively impacted business. Tech led sectors that enable remote working – VoIP, EdTech, eHealth and digital security – are seeing a rise in demand. The country’s extremities, primarily the South West and devolved region are the most negatively impacted.
An analysis of the region’s response to the pandemic shows that 19% of the 2,000 businesses surveyed have limited their physical services. Seven per cent have had to further limit their service or product with the same figure losing a main customer group.

Investment key to future success

Elsewhere, Beauhurst’s report found that 22% of jobs (615,000) in the high-growth economy are immediately under threat. Additionally, investment capital is on shaky ground with £18.9b of equity investment at moderate to critical risk.

Louize Clarke, founder of ConnectTVT says, “These findings are reassuring only in the short-term. Looking ahead, we know the region is heavily reliant on investment – 69% of the Thames Valley’s scale-ups have used equity funding to grow since 2011. With this lifeline under threat, businesses will need support elsewhere to be able to hold onto teams, innovation and any chance of growth.”

Henry Whorwood Beauhurst’s Head of Research & Consultancy adds, “These firms will be integral to the UK’s productivity as we enter recovery, so it’s crucial interventions proposed by the Government reach these companies.”

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