We spoke to steering group member Ben Shorrock, Product Development Manager at TechSPARK, about why the South West is here to stay as one of the country's leading tech hubs, and why he's excited about the inaugural Tech South West Awards.
"What's not to love! The South West has globally recognised universities, access to amazing talent and intuitions as wide-ranging as the Met Office, Quantum Enterprise Centre, GCHQ, the National Composites Centre and SETsquared. Added to that is the amazing quality of life and it's not really a surprise that the tech industry if thriving here.
The more time I spend working with Tech South West the more I see of the scope and scale of activity going on across the region. It feels like in the last few years the amount of activity and its growth has been exponential. It's great to see the impact that this is having on places and super exciting to see what may come of it in the future."
This year, Tech South West has launched the Tech South West Awards, to celebrate and showcase the region's brilliant tech talent. Ben said: "Recognition matters. The South West absolutely punches above its weight in companies and people developing world-leading tech but we're terrible at telling people about it. If we want to continue to attract the best talent, investment and ideas we need people to know what's happening here and the awards are a great way to showcase that!
I'm really excited for some of the individual awards like Teach Tech. So much of the best things that happen in our community are from people going the extra mile and giving something back in their own time. They're always inspiring stories to hear and the type of thing we should be celebrating!"
TechSPARK is the partner for the Bristol & Bath Cluster Award at the Tech South West Awards, and for Ben, it's a key part of the region's tech scene.
"In the last few years, the Bristol & Bath tech cluster has rocketed; it's now recognised as one of the leading hubs for tech in the UK with over 50,000 people working here. Although the area has always had a strong start-up scene (and was named best place to start a business in 2018) the big difference in the last couple of years has been the growing number of successful scale-ups. These range from Graphcore and Ovo Energy: our first 2 unicorn companies, mission-driven businesses like Open Bionics, EZ Education & Gapsquare or the deployment of world-leading technology like Ultrahaptics, Reach Robotics and KETs Quantum Security. These companies sit alongside global corporates like Dyson, Strava, Just Eat, RBS, Hargreaves Lansdown and others to create a really rich ecosystem that continues to develop and grow."
Find out more about the Tech South West Awards and enter - deadline 25th July 2019: www.techsouthwestawards.co.uk