Beyond the horizon: investing in the South West’s sustainable tech future

Steve Butterworth, CEO at Neighbourly

Last month, I had the privilege of attending the Tech South West showcase as part of London Tech Week, representing Neighbourly as an event partner alongside an impressive array of innovative companies from our region. 

The event wasn’t just a demonstration of technological prowess; it was a powerful statement about the South West’s pivotal role in shaping a sustainable, tech-driven future.

The showcase reinforced the region’s burgeoning position as a hotbed for blue and green tech innovation, with companies tackling some of the most pressing environmental and social challenges of our time. From marine technology firms developing solutions for ocean conservation to agritech startups revolutionising sustainable farming practices, the diversity and ingenuity on display were genuinely inspiring.

At Neighbourly, we were proud to showcase how our platform is leveraging AI for good to connect businesses with local causes, maximising social impact and fostering community resilience. We were able to acknowledge the vital support we’ve received from the region’s infrastructure in driving progress towards our goal of £1 billion positive impact into communities by 2025, using innovative tech to revolutionise how businesses scale and measure local corporate sustainability initiatives.

What struck me most at the event was the collaborative spirit among the exhibitors and attendees. There was a shared commitment to harnessing technology for the greater good. This ethos is at the heart of the South West’s enviro-tech economy – a recognition that innovation must go hand in hand with sustainability and social responsibility.

The event also highlighted the unique advantages our region offers, particularly its growing community of tech talent. However, to fully realise this potential, we need to address a critical challenge: investment. While the South West is brimming with innovation and skills, it doesn’t secure the level of funding it needs to compete on a global stage. This disparity not only hampers the growth of individual companies but also the development of our regional tech ecosystem.

By channelling more investment into our region, we can accelerate innovation, create high-quality jobs, and position the South West as a global leader in sustainable technology. 

This isn’t just about economic growth; it’s about leveraging our unique strengths to tackle pressing global challenges.

The Tech South West showcase was more than just an event; it was a call to action. It’s time for investors to take notice and for policymakers to create an environment that nurtures and maximises our immense potential. 

One thing was very clear – the South West is more than ready to lead the blue-green tech revolution.

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